If your marriage is steering its way toward divorce, the last thing you want to do is just give up. Most people who are in a troubled marriage want to give every effort possible to save the relationship. Make your mantra be “No regrets.”
Once divorce happens, it’s done. You can’t go back. So you want to be able to say with full confidence, “I did everything I could.” Well, have you done everything possible yet?
1. Try to relax
It’s probably the last thing you want to do, but it’s crucial right now. Don’t do anything rash out of anger or fear, like run to an attorney, tell all your friends, or go out on a drinking binge. Just slow down and think a little. Be patient with yourself and your spouse.
2. Change what needs to be changed
When the word “divorce” enters the picture, it is usually because one or both members of the married couple are unhappy with something. The best remedy is to change something you are doing or aren’t doing. Get up and show your spouse you can do what it takes to make your marriage better. Take your spouse on that trip they have always wanted. Fix that garage door that needs fixing. Tell him or her that you love them, every day.
3. Focus on the positive in your mate
This is one of the hardest tips to follow. Perhaps your spouse has done something to jeopardize the marriage, or perhaps it’s just a general dissatisfaction that has caused things to become rocky in your relationship. Either way, don’t point fingers. Nothing makes people more defensive than focusing on the negative. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of your spouse. Make a list and keep it close by. When negative thoughts about your marriage creep in, review your list.
4. Pray that you can forgive and be forgiveness
One of the best ways to save your marriage from divorce is to allow forgiveness. It is the ultimate form of love and is a vehicle for change. Forgiveness can be hard, and sometimes it will feel impossible. But just start the process. Pray about it. Ask for help. God forgives all, so why can’t you? Take that next step. Forgive wholeheartedly, even if your spouse hasn’t changed yet. The weight it will take off of your shoulders will allow you to move forward positively, and it may help your spouse change in ways you never thought possible.
5. Get into marriage counseling today
Make it a top priority. Find a good marriage counselor and make an appointment as soon as possible. An experienced marriage therapist can help you both reach common ground and work through deep-seeded issues in a systematic way. And, as you continue to go to sessions, you can both gauge your progress. Are things getting a little easier the more you go? Make sure you are putting in the effort during the counseling session, and then following the therapist’s advice after the session.
6. Start connecting again
Many times, marriages end in divorce because couples stop talking. They stop connecting. That leads to them growing apart, and then wondering, why are we even married? If you feel disconnected, it can be hard to take that first step and get back to talking again. So start by remembering why you got married in the first place. What did you talk about then? What have you connected about since then? Show interest in what is most important to your spouse. Go on dates together. Laugh if you can. It will help lighten up your marriage and help things be fun again.
7. Watch and listen to your spouse
What is he or she really trying to say to you? Sometimes it’s hard to actually say what we want or need. So pay attention to what is being said, and what isn’t being said. What does your spouse need from you? More tenderness? More support in his or her pursuits? Body language sometimes says volumes more than can be spoken, so listen with your heart and your eyes as well as with your ears.
8. Connect in the bedroom
Couples on the brink of divorce typically aren’t spending much time together in the bedroom. When a husband and wife aren’t feeling close, or one has hurt the other, it can be hard to even want to have sex. But sometimes, that physical bond can also realign emotional bonds. Try to look at intimacy in a new way—a way to save your marriage. Take things slow, and talk about what you need right now. Try to connect in new ways.