It can seem difficult to recalibrate a relationship that’s seems broken, particularly a marriage. Though counseling can be worthwhile, it isn’t appropriate for many couples. One or both members feel that counseling isn’t for them. They see it as a defeat or only something for crazy people. Or they feel uncomfortable revealing the deepest, darkest parts of their marriage to a complete stranger. Instead, they would rather invest the time, energy and forethought themselves to fix the marriage. The truth is a marriage can be fixed without couple’s counseling.
Here are some steps that can help you bring your marriage back from the brink. First, it’s important to set aside some serious time to talk. It could be one day, once per week, an entire weekend, whatever is need to hash out the problems, outline negative behaviors each of you are exhibiting and unraveling them, and come up with a series of rules, guidelines and behaviors you both vow to take part in instead of those that are affecting the marriage. Once this is done, reconnect. Take a vacation. Go on a weekend getaway. Take a road trip or just spend some fun time together, away from kids and responsibilities, only focusing on each other.
Take a look at how the two of you communicate. Does one always interrupt the other, or worse do you interrupt one another? If so, practice listening to your partner with your full attention, not interjecting what you want to say, or how it really is. After each statement validate what they have said. Then talk about what you want to say. Expect your partner to listen without interruption and validate your statement. A lot of problems occur when one partner or the other feels like they aren’t being listened to, or their statement isn’t taken as valid by the other. Validation could be as simple as, “What I hear you saying is…” It may take longer, but in the end both parties will feel listened to and respected by the other.
Also, lots of marital problems like other problems are often rooted in misunderstanding. The validation process can show you the difference between what you say and how your spouse takes it, and visa-versa. By clearing up misunderstandings, you will not only learn to communicate with your spouse better, you will understand them better too. For more advice read, One New Habit to Fix Your Marriage: 10 Simple Steps to Put the Joy and Intimacy Back in Your Marriage by Grace Stevens.