How to Fix a Broken Marriage in 10 Simple Steps
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The 10 step plan to fix your marriage
I’m sure you’ll agree marriage is both a rewarding and complicated relationship.
At the start of your relationship you share a deep bond with your partner and it seems the good times will never end.
But something changes that leads you to question where it all went wrong and how you can fix your broken marriage.
Let’s face it:
A broken marriage doesn’t appear out of thin air.
Most marriages fail over time and no magic formula exists to reset everything to day zero.
Sometimes, two people fall in love and are a good match until the change in identity from lover to spouse.
This change can cause couples to grow apart to such a degree they no longer ‘recognize’ each other.
But, don’t condemn your marriage just yet!
In this post, I will show you the simplest ways to fix your marriage.
These are the same methods I used to save my marriage. You can read all about my journey here.
I promise, if you read the full post and make the simple changes I recommend, your marriage will be in better shape.
But before we dive into how you can fix your broken marriage, let’s look at why a marriage fails.
Why does a marriage breakdown?
There are many reasons a marriage fails, some are obvious while others are more difficult to pinpoint. For instance, an affair or violence can speed up the breakdown of a marriage.
Most marriages though decline over time before reaching a point of total failure. Chances are your marriage was showing signs of trouble long before a total breakdown.
Regardless of the signs or the argument that broke the camel’s back. The end result is always the same; a loss of trust, followed by emotional withdrawal from the marriage.
When a marriage shows signs of failure, it’s natural to want answers. You might question whether your spouse still loves you and plans on keeping those wedding vows. If your spouse isn’t willing or able to answer your questions; the marriage can breakdown and a loss of trust follows.
The natural result of this distrust is emotional withdrawal from the marriage. If you suspect things are about to turn sour, what better way to protect yourself than to ‘check out’ from the marriage?
Because of you taking leave from the marriage, your spouse can start to question and mimic your behavior. This leads to a cruel cycle of tit for tat exchanges with both couples trying to outdo each other.
Your marriage can’t survive the blame game
When you play the blame game instead of talking about your issues, you both lose and so does your marriage. It should be clear to fix your broken marriage, this behavior needs to stop right now.
Blame is often the result of frustration which turns into anger, and lashing out is the immediate response. After all, it’s far easier to blame your partner than to look within for the answer.
Though it’s tempting, this game of cat and mouse to see who breaks down and apologizes first, never ends well.
Even if your partner tries to apologize and make you happy that response can justify your anger. You might even feel a sense of ‘victory’ which makes pointing fingers tempting.
Without a doubt, this victory is hollow, one that causes more marital problems than it solves. Not only does this behavior hurt your marriage, it harms your partners well-being.
For a start, you are putting your partner in immense distress. The strain from fighting off criticism all the time can leave us feeling trapped, that we’re alone and cannot measure up.
In fact, blame is so difficult on a marriage that researcher Dr. John Gottman describes it as one of his “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. These are metaphors Dr. Gottman uses to describe the four behaviors that can ruin a marriage.
Fix yourself before fixing your marriage
The blame game can cause one spouse to perceive the other as the ‘enemy’. All stories call for a villain, and if you view your spouse as one, blaming them gets a whole lot easier.
However, regardless of who said and did what, to fix your marriage, this behavior needs to stop. In the words of Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, “Let the past die, kill it, if you have to”.
First, even if you’re certain your partner is at fault, try to remember it’s unlikely they intended to hurt you. It’s far more likely your spouse wants the relationship to work as much as you do. And there are reasons, some out of their control for the upsetting behavior.
Next, try looking at your own actions from your spouse’s point of view; have you been too sensitive? Have you misread your spouse’s behavior?
After this, find what’s bothering you and examine all the options. Don’t rush this process, take notes if needed. The point of this exercise is to have a clear sense of what’s troubling you.
The next step in saving your marriage is to set up an open, blameless conversation with your spouse.
Communication can save your marriage
Effective communication, when trying to fix a broken marriage isn’t easy. But you will need to find a way to ‘talk it out’, if you hope to resolve your issues.
Find the right time to talk
Find the right time and a distraction free zone to hold your conversation. During the morning rush or straight after work isn’t ideal as your minds will be on other things.
If you’re struggling to find any time when you’re both relaxed, it might be worth scheduling it in.
Don’t rock the boat, talk in person
If your marriage is failing, it’s fair to assume you’re not on the best terms with your partner. In this situation it’s best to avoid confusion by talking in person.
A text message sharing a quote or a joke is open to misinterpretation. Your partner might even assume they are the ‘butt’ of the joke.
In fact, a well-known study carried out by Albert Mehrabian, found that body language accounts for 55% of our communication.
As a result, if you want the best outcome, it’s essential to discuss issues with your partner in person.
Honesty is always the best policy
When you’re together, give your partner your complete attention. Sit up straight, face them and establish eye contact. Turn off distractions such as your phone and keep listening even if the discussion goes to an awkward place.
Likewise, when it’s your turn to talk, don’t fall into the trap of lying to avoid blame or to drive your point home. If you’re honest, you are far more likely to encourage honesty from your partner.
During the conversation, acknowledge your partner’s concerns and consider all points of view. Shift the focus to the future and don’t dwell on past mistakes.
Though you may find it difficult, for the sake of your marriage stay calm and choose your words wisely. The best outcome is for both of you to agree on fixing the behaviors troubling your marriage and one another.
Heal the rift to rekindle your marriage
Many couples who complain of a broken marriage put it down to drifting apart. This rift can even grow to such a degree that couples feel like strangers in their own home.
Losing touch is often the result of comparing your relationship now to how it was when you first met.
Yet, this change is natural; it would be wrong to expect you or your spouse to be the same people now as you were 5 years ago.
Time can change our personalities and philosophies, so why would you expect your relationship to stay the same?
Despite this, to prevent drifting apart, it’s important you both learn to reconnect with one another.
The good news is you already know how to do this.
That is, spend time together, doing the things that connected you in the first place. For instance a theater night, dinner at your favorite spot, or the place where you first met.
Marriage is hard work and fixing a relationship when you’ve lost touch, is even harder. On the positive side, the fact you’re reading this, ready to act means it’s not too late to fix your broken marriage.
You most likely need to reconnect with your partner and rekindle the same feelings as when you first fell in love. This is far easier said than done, but commitment and a desire to heal your marriage is a step in the right direction.
Spend time together to rebuild your marriage
There’s never a good enough excuse for not spending time with your partner. Even if you’re both busy people, move your schedule around and make time.
Why not spend quality time with a romantic gesture like a candlelit dinner?, or cook a meal together at home.
Here are a few more ideas to help you get started:
Find out what your spouse thinks about a story in the news
Play a board game or listen to music together
Teach each other something new or learn a skill together
Find a hobby you enjoy and make time to try it out!
Laugh together; try going to a stand-up comedy night
Go on an adventure even if it’s a climb up the nearest hill
Remember, the main point of spending time together is to get a sense of who your spouse is today. The person you fell in love with is still there, find your way back, reconnect and you can heal your marriage.
Also, social media and relationships don’t always work well together. If you’re in the habit of spending hours glued to your screen, exclude social media apps from the bedroom.
As a final point, if these methods don’t work straight away, don’t give up. The most important thing is to stay positive as a broken marriage isn’t something you can fix overnight.
Mend broken hearts and your marriage
You know what love is right?, when a marriage is in trouble, it’s easy to forget what your partner once meant to you. Your spouse is still the same person you vowed to love and cherish for the rest of your life.
A stressful career, children and other issues may have caused the spark to diminish. But all marriages start the same way, that is with a honeymoon and intimate love.
Most couples find this intense feeling of love and affection lessens after a few years. Which is fine and normal, but what isn’t normal is zero love and affection, that is a marriage problem.
To put it another way, love and affection play a vital role in a marriage, without both it’s tough for a marriage to survive. So, before you can fix your broken marriage, you need to fix your broken heart.
Also, in all honesty, how is your sex life? And how important is sex to your personal fulfillment? If sexual activity is not important to your happiness, that’s fine. But what about your partner?
The truth is, there is no ideal level of sexual activity. What counts is your happiness. However, if you’re not happy with your current sex life, it’s important to discuss this with your partner.
Now, before you get depressed, there is hope in the form of research. This research shows, a loving physical touch can stimulate the primal areas of the brain. These areas of the brain were the reason you fell in love to begin with.
It might sound far-fetched, but read the study below and decide for yourself. To fix your marriage, it makes sense to explore all avenues.
The science of love can fix your relationship
Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist led a groundbreaking study in 2005 to discover the biology behind love.
Dr. Fisher’s team analyzed the brain scans of 2,500 college students to find a biological reason behind our actions and feelings when in love.
The research team took two sets of brain scans, one while the students viewed pictures of loved ones. And another set when they viewed pictures of ‘non’ romantic friends.
The study found when the students viewed pictures of loved ones, their brain activity became focused in the dopamine rich areas of the brain. The same effect did not occur when viewing pictures of ‘non’ romantic friends.
Dopamine is part of the primitive areas of the brain, which govern romantic love. The study found, these primal areas lit up on the brain scans and flooded the reward circuit of the brain. You can read more about both studies and dopamine here.
In summary, it’s possible to rekindle your marriage with the help of the same brain chemistry that made you fall in love.
Despite what the research says, when a marriage isn’t as strong as it once was, showing affection can feel forced but it doesn’t have to be awkward. Start small and simple, reach out and touch your partner on the arm, and build up to a warm hug.
Fight rejection to fix your marriage
If you find your partner isn’t as enthusiastic as you, don’t give up, expect push back and manage your expectations. To be clear, you can fix your broken marriage, and your partner will come around, but not overnight.
Remember, humans are complex beings; we develop mechanisms to cope with hostile situations. If you’ve been arguing for a long time, your spouse will need convincing before ‘signing up’.
Whatever happens, follow through with your plan and don’t falter at the first sign of resistance. Even a small act of kindness such as a warm hug can help break through your spouse’s defenses.
Besides couples often fail to perceive the healing power of a loving touch or heartfelt word. Simple acts of kindness can help start a friendly chat and take you a step closer to healing your marriage.
Even after following the steps above, it can take a long time before you make any progress towards fixing your marriage. This doesn’t mean you’re not trying; your marriage failed over time and likewise it will take time to heal.
Regardless of how much push back you get, stay positive and keep trying. Your marriage is worth saving, so fight the good fight until there’s nothing left to fight for.
Remember, even if your marriage is falling apart around and you feel hopeless, don’t give up. Go back in time, to when you thought your spouse was a wonderful life partner. If even a glimmer of a spark still burns today, you can save your marriage.
Your marriage might be in a dark place today, but don’t forget, there’s always hope and there’s help. If you need more direction scroll below to the resources section.
Above all, stay positive, you have the tools needed to rebuild your marriage. But acting on that knowledge requires courage and commitment.
So, the question is:
Do you have the courage to fix your broken marriage?
Free marriage counseling resources
Happy Together is my free book that will improve your marriage in 60 minutes or less. Marriage Matters is my free email marriage counseling course. You can find these and many more resources here:
How healthy is your marriage?
This marriage quiz will help you find if you can save your marriage. This quiz uses 10 questions to help you assess if you’re in a sexless or unhappy marriage. Your results will determine the recommended course of action.
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Now it’s over to you.
Which piece of advice did you find the most useful?, and what are you doing right now to fix your marriage?
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