Your marriage is in crisis, either from an affair, neglect—or a relationship-deadly combination of both.
You may be waiting for your spouse to make a move: let him or her make amends, fix the problems in your marriage, turn things around.
Don’t hold your breath.
Where to Begin in Saving Your Marriage
If your spouse cheated, you have a lot of damage to recover from, both to your self-esteem as well as the marriage itself—if you choose to save your marriage. Your first concern, post-affair, is healing your personal pain.
Whether you’re recovering from your spouse’s affair, or your marriage has reached the crisis point from sheer neglect, if you want to save your marriage, whose responsibility is it to do so?
You don’t save a relationship by yourself. Which means your spouse can’t save the relationship by himself or herself either. It’s going to take both of you to save your marriage.
So… who goes first?
If you’re waiting for your spouse, it may never happen. Your marriage may permanently sink if you wait for them to change. However, in the case of infidelity, your spouse does need to change the behavior that led to cheating, or any other changes made won’t mean a thing. A cheater has work to do, no doubt.
Once you do see remorse on your cheating spouse’s behalf and feel comfortable with working to save your marriage, or, if you don’t have the infidelity portion to deal with, you may be the one to take the lead.
You can’t change your spouse, and your spouse can’t change you. People don’t have that kind of power over one another. However, you may be able to mold another person by virtue of your making an effort to change you—the only person you have control over.
3 Tips to Save Your Marriage: Change Yourself First
If you are the victim of an affair, changing yourself doesn’t mean you did something to make your spouse go out and cheat. That was their decision.
However, if there were ever marriage problems that were outside the scope of the actual infidelity, such as poor communication, neglect, etc., then these changes are positive changes that will benefit you whether your marriage can be saved or not.
Here are 3 tips:
Tip #1: Check Your Non-verbal Communication
Many of us can get lazy in our relationships and let things slide—especially communication. For example, when you and your spouse are talking about something and you don’t agree, do you roll your eyes, cross your arms, sigh loudly?
Now, take this same scenario, and transfer it to your workplace, or your best friend’s living room. Can you see yourself doing these types of behavior there?
The next time you and your spouse are disagreeing, do a quick check and see if you are displaying negative non-verbal communication.
Tip #2: Be Open and Transparent
This tip is a given for a cheater: they snuck around before, and they were busted. Now, they have to live like an open book.
But a marriage should be open and transparent to begin with—both partners practicing this. In fact, it’s one of the ways to nip very bad behavior early before it gets to the point of an affair, or draining a savings account, etc.
Tip #3: Be Respectful
Respect is something that we can get a little lazy about, too. For example, a husband starts leaving the toilet seat up all the time. Or, a wife drops her clothes all over the bedroom.
Are you being respectful of your spouse’s time, space and interests? When you communicate verbally, do you use respectful language? Most of us have areas where we can be just a little more respectful of our spouse.
These are changes anyone can make, because you are working with what you already have: your own good nature, your desire to do better and have better.
My best to you as you work to save your marriage.