Many good marriages slip into crisis because we don’t or won’t believe how much work it takes to keep relationships healthy and thriving. It’s just like when you stop investing in the house you are living in. It will easily fall into disrepair. Think back to when you first started to pursue your wife. It required commitment, hard work, and imagination. If winning her required that back then, why does it surprise us when neglect creates marriage problems after we walk down the aisle? She wouldn’t have married you if you took her for granted. Why risk everything now?
There are many good strategies if you want to restore your marriage. We suggest these 10 strategies to help solve your marriage problems.
1. Surround yourselves with people in healthy relationships.
Some of those negative patterns may have involved friends. Surround yourself with people who value marriage and where there’s widespread support for making yours work.
2. Choose to love.
Love is as much a choice as it is an emotion. Love may have come easy when it was brand new. Love is as much a choice as it is an emotion. Choice is an act of maturity and it has a much better track record than emotion left to make its way on its own.
3. Act as if your spouse’s happiness is more important than your own.
Putting our spouse first nurtures trust, gratitude, generosity, and affection. It can also lead to physical intimacy.
4. Put the relationship ahead of everything, including your children.
It’s unfortunate, but time has a way of eating away at our priorities. “You’re the most important thing in my life” gives way to “my work… the family business…the children… my aging parents… even golf, football or drinking…” Marriages don’t work well when our partner plays second fiddle to anything – even the children. It’s a fact – the happiest kids are those with parents who love one-another best.
5. Start over from scratch.
Ask her out. Make sure you remember why you did the first time and build from there. When did you last talk for hours, hold hands at a movie, or give her a kiss when she wasn’t expecting it? Get silly about one-another. If you don’t feel like it, do it anyway- then you’ll remember why.
6. Stop taking one-another for granted.
Say “thank you” for that cup of coffee. Celebrate obscure anniversaries. Tell her how much it means to you that she cooks a great meal – or vice versa. Notice the haircut. Ask her out. Clean her car. Pay attention to the little things and act like someone who values the relationship.
7. Pray for your spouse.
Chances are you launched your marriage with both promises and prayers. Pray for your spouse, and ask for guidance as you pledge to make the kind of effort that simply won’t float without turning to God every day.
8. Get counseling.
You say you can’t afford it? Believe us, it’s cheaper than divorce. Most counseling simply involves a few sessions to get the communication flowing again. For guys, a willingness to talk in that context sends a huge, positive message to your spouse.
9. Follow the counseling with an action plan.
Just like a personal fitness program, counseling comes with homework and an action plan over time. Draw up the plan, ask friends you trust to help hold you accountable, then follow through. When both spouses take responsibility, anything is possible.
10. Change the patterns.
Do you always come home angry? Then stop the car a block away and pray about it first or do whatever else it takes to change your attitude. Does she always nag you when you leave dirty clothes on the floor? Try getting changed in a different room and initiate a new reflex. Do you always fight about discipline? Try agreeing with her decisions and supporting her 100% – you may find the kids act better because you’re not fighting. You’ve heard the old joke:
Patient: “Doctor, it hurts when I do that…”
Doctor: “Well, don’t do that anymore.”
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some strategies you can use when you are having a difficult time getting along with someone?”