The marriage relationship is a combining of many experiences, opinions, hopes, dreams and beliefs that are somehow meant to combine harmoniously to form a healthy relationship. In reality it is often a very turbulent experience for one or both parties and often results in a breakup. The work required to save a marriage can be considerable depending on how bad things have become.
It can be helpful to look at the medical world to get a good analogy of how to proceed. Your doctor will consider all the symptoms, look at possible causes for the problem, make a diagnosis and then recommend a course of treatment from his wealth of knowledge and resources available. While this is going on medical researchers are continually studying the nature of various illnesses and possible solutions to prevent the illness impacting a person’s life.
A similar two pronged approach is the best way to save a marriage that is in need of help. An honest evaluation of the symptoms and causes of any issues for both parties is the starting point to restore a healthy relationship. The symptoms can be forgiven and healed, but the causes must also be removed.
In your evaluation period decide if one or both parties are responsible for the cause of the problem. It maybe that a problem is the result of both parties contributing something negative or harmful to the relationship. If this is the case then both issues must be addressed.
It is a good idea to take an organized approach to resolving the problems to save a marriage. The best way is to write a list of what the problems are, what is the root cause of each problem and how best to address both the cause and effect of each problem.
It maybe helpful for each partner to write their own list of issues and who they think is responsible. The lists can then be exchanged and considered by the other and a self evaluation regarding whatever issues were raised before coming together again to discuss them.
It is inevitable that things will get emotional at times. It is a good idea to have time out if one is getting too angry and wise to avoid feeding off each others emotions. When you agree to make a change then it’s best to put it into action immediately and review the effectiveness of the change from day to day.
The process will be difficult to impossible if one party feels they have been wronged and is uncooperative. In such cases a different approach is required.
A lot of humility is required to save a marriage from breaking up. This is especially true when there is truth in any claims being made. In such cases you should write a list of what you have done wrong, why you did it and what actions you plan to do to prevent it from ever reoccurring. When some progress has been made, you may then be able to suggest they also make a list.
Before you begin work to save a marriage, you should write down why you want to save it and what you see the benefits and liabilities as being. With a positive attitude you can restore your first love and repair any damage done.
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If your partner remains unwilling to work with you then you may need to get the help of a third party. You could give them your list and ask them to meet with your partner to go over the list with them. It could be an unbiased friend, a minister or a professionally trained person.
It is normal for most people to resist change, preferring the security of what they know. Change however is often required by both sides in order to make progress. If the value of the relationship is kept uppermost then the change to restore the marriage will likely be less than the changes required starting over again after a broken marriage.
Cross cultural marriages such as a Chinese or Russian to a US citizen can present their own challenges especially in the area of communication and extra patience and effort maybe required. They can however bring a depth of richness into a relationship as well as heighten adventure and creativity.
In order to save a marriage, both parties must be humble, willing to forgive and prepared to have a sacrificial attitude to some measure. Decide what’s really important in the relationship, work on that and don’t sweat the small stuff.
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