A lot of the people who email me know that their marriage is in real trouble and have come to the realization that they can’t continue to just hope that things will get better over time. It’s become very clear that some real changes have to be made and should be made fast if the marriage is to be saved. Sometimes, things that have happened in the past or the lack of any real connection in the present have people questioning if it is really worth it to give the marriage another try.
I often hear things like: “I’m starting to think it’s not worth it to give the marriage a second chance. Nothing ever changes and we’re at the point where we are constantly at each other’s throats. I can’t imagine us suddenly being able to work together.” I understand these doubts. My husband had a lot that were very similar to this, but if you’re going to save your marriage, you have to change this doubtful attitude to one of openness. Because if you go in expecting to fail, you likely will. In the following article, I’ll tell you some questions to ask yourself to determine if you should give your marriage one more chance.
Can You Remember A Time In Your Marriage That Was Much Different From What You Are Experiencing Now?: One of the biggest challenges that you face (and your spouse probably shares this) is the perception that nothing is ever going to change. By the time that you get to the point where you are at, there have probably been so many attempts to make things better (which have failed long term) and so much water under the bridge that you doubt if you can navigate the ship to a place where it is floating and not sinking. It’s natural to have doubts, but folks who are successful in saving their marriages are able to remember the relationship at it’s best (this is often at the beginning phases of the relationship.) They are fully aware that the two of them were once so in sync and so in love that their problems were never large issues or were never things that could not be over come or fixed. In short, they know that there can be chemistry and they know that they can live in harmony because they clearly remember when these things were present. And they are able to call on these memories to elicit good feelings and to put a smile on their face.
Are You Willing To Accept That Saving The Marriage Is Going To Take Time And That You Should Focus On Restoring Affection First?: Marriages are very rarely saved overnight. It often takes small victories and tiny little improvements that build upon one another so that eventually you are both feeling connected and bonded again. And make no mistake. Restoring the intimacy and bond should be your first objective. Because it is very unrealistic to think that you’re going to be able to place your problems on the table and have them successfully worked through if you don’t feel any affection or empathy for your partner right now.
As I said before, when two people are bonded and are experiencing chemistry, they don’t make mountains out of mole hills because they don’t want anything to disrupt the flow of their relationship. When you were first dating, how long did the two of you need to discuss your problems? Probably not nearly as long as you do today. Because you wanted to gloss these things over and get back to being happy together again. Often, over time we start to place more emphasis on what is wrong with our marriage than on what is right with it.
Are You At The Point Where You Honestly And Truly Just Don’t Care What Happens To Your Marriage?: There are some people who write to me and very convincingly explain that they’ve become indifferent to their marriage. The thought of the marriage or it’s problems no longer elicits any strong feelings at all. I often have a hard time buying this because if they were truly at a healthy place of indifference, they would not be researching whether to give their marriage one more chance.
However, once a person truly gets to a point where they can say “I wish my spouse well and I have no unfinished business because I know that I was open and honest when we were trying to reconcile and I know that we did everything that we could,” then I am more inclined to think that the marriage has reached it’s natural and healthy end. But, I must tell you that few people are genuinely at this place. Most people know deep down that they haven’t gone all in. They are holding back in some way whether it is the fear or rejection, the fear of being vulnerable or just because of overwhelming doubt.
And, in order for the marriage to recover, they have to eventually accept the fact that they can hold nothing back and leave no rock unturned. This isn’t a decision like which car or refrigerator to buy. This is your life and it affects at least two people and often also your children. A happy and fulfilling marriage is a gift. It lengthens or life span and gives us someone with whom to share our lives. If functioning correctly, it lessens our stress and brings about happiness and the feeling that someone truly understands and values us. As you well know, there is no other feeling like this. And, you probably deep down want this feeling back, but doubt that you can get it. You must over come this perception and be open to the possibility that changing things lies with you and your perceptions.
Because you already know that the two of you have the capacity to function well together on many levels. So now is the time to take real and lasting action and begin to get this back if you decide to.
There was a time that I thought my marriage was truly at it’s end. Thankfully, even though I had doubts, I decided to try one last thing and approach it from another angle and this eventually worked. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/