How to save my marriage from falling apart is frequently asked by men and women who do not want a divorce. At least one partner recognizes that marriage is a holy institution between a man and a woman who deeply love each other. Two people take a solemn vow of wedlock to testify of their commitment to each other before God, society, family, friends, and each other.
So if people who are madly in love with each other make the commitment to stay together to death do them part, why are so many couples getting divorced?
A marriage falls apart when one or both partners come in with unrealistic expectations or lack of knowledge of the changes that the relationship will encounter as it evolves.
Recognize the Five Stages of Love According to psychologist Dr. Jed Diamond, couples experience five stages of love. If they lack an understanding of what love really is, couples who lack a fundamental knowledge of what love is and what it looks like, panic at stage three and they throw in the towel because they think that their marriage is done. Dr. Diamond classifies these stages as follow:
1 The Falling in Love Stage–this is the stage where starry-eyed lovers can’t get enough of each other. This is where the object of the lover’s affection can do no wrong and is seen through the lens of love’s rose-colored glasses. This is a stage where lust and obsession play a big part and where idealized expectations of romance dominate the lovers’ body and mind. This is the stage where lovers expect to live happily ever after with their prince or princess charming. Hormones are raging and passions are aflame.
2 The Becoming a Couple Stage–In this phase, love deepens between the husband and wife. They feel supported and accepted by each other. They build the bonds of family. The feelings of infatuation are gone but a deeper connection is established.
3 The Disillusionment Stage–This is the stage where marriages fall apart and couples divorce. This is where disillusionment, resentment, irritability with your partner’s flaws, and negativity surrounding your spouse and your marriage start to set in. This is when expectations are shattered and reality sets in. And sadly, this is the stage where most couples throw in the towel. If couples could learn and be prepared for this stage, they’d have the tools to work through it and emerge into the 4th and 5th stages of love.
4 The Creating Lasting Real Love Stage–Dr. Diamond posits that the positive outcome of emerging through the Disillusionment stage is that you both emerge stronger and with a deeper understanding of who you and each other are. Because you have confronted the personal pain and dysfunction and baggage that you bring from your past, you have opened the lines of communication to create a deeper connection between you. Your expectations are not based on illusion but in the reality that you both are flawed human beings who love, care, and respect each other.
5 The Power of Two Stage–In this stage couples realize that there is something greater than themselves and they unite to make a difference toward a common goal.
The first thing you must do is to recognize the cracks in the foundation. There are always signs that your marriage is floundering. Admitting that things are not as they should be can save your marriage. You and your spouse can ultimately develop a deeper love and understanding for each other and your marriage will emerge rock solid.
Signs the Marriage is on the Wrong Track
When the foundation of your marriage begins to crumble there are three areas that need urgent attention. These are communication, respect, and intimacy.
1 Poor communication–Clear and open communication is the key to any positive mature relationship. But when lines of communication break down between couples, it can lead to excessive arguing, defensiveness, and resentment. When things are misconstrued, misunderstood, or one person does not feel heard, one or both may feel that the other person does not care about them enough to try to engage and connect with them at a deeper emotional level.
3 Lack of intimacy-physical or sexual intimacy is key in a marriage since this is the thing that you share with only this one person. Lack of intimacy can pose a grave threat to a marriage since it can foster feelings of inadequacy, bitterness, and frustration.
10 Steps to Getting Your Marriage Back on Track
1 Recognize you’re going through a rough patch. Identify the problems and accept your part.
2 Don’t manipulate and don’t be manipulated–nobody likes insincere behavior and no adult likes to feel like he or she is being guilted or tricked into doing something.
3 Don’t nag, be clingy, needy–you’ll end up driving the other person away.
4 Learn to communicate effectively. Speak each other’s love language.
5 It’s okay to argue, but don’t hit below the belt. Learn how to argue in a constructive way.
6 Make each other laugh–humor is a strong glue that holds relationships together. Find that funny connection that you once shared.
7 Rekindle the intimacy–Think back to the times when you were hot in love and lust with each other. Take small steps to ignite the spark and the passion that’s missing.
8 Nurture your relationship–marriage or any relationship is like a plant. It needs regular watering and feeding to grow. Give your spouse the attention he or she needs. Carve time to spend with each other. Go on dates again. Put each other first, even above the children.
9 Forgive and forget–Don’t bring up the past–If your marriage is on the rocks because of infidelity or other hurtful actions and behaviors, you must forgive your spouse. You must also forget and not live in the past. That will get you nowhere. Move on and get a fresh start. Recognize the humans will mess up and cause pain to the ones they love. If you really want to salvage the marriage, forgiving and forgetting is the only option.
10 Seek Counseling–Professional advice from a licensed therapist, family counselor, or priest may be the only way the two of you can sit with someone who can mediate the conversation and get to the root of the issue. Even if your spouse does not want to attend counseling, you may choose to go yourself.
Your Marriage is Worth Saving
If you believe that your marriage represents a sacred vow that you made to your spouse before God, family, and friends, then your relationship is worth saving–even if the other spouse may not feel the same at the time. Divorce will not solve the core problems. If these problems stem from personal dysfunction, people continue to grapple with the same issues after divorce. Getting to the root of the issue can help set your marriage on the right course to finding true love and happiness.