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I wanted to invite Cassie on today to share with us about lessons she has learned that has saved her marriage. She makes great points here. I think that she’s right, acknowledging the problem is where you have to start.
Here’s what she has to say-
People often believe once they’re married, they’ll automatically live “happily ever after.” Sadly, that’s not how it works. All married couples go through a few rough patches, and that’s perfectly normal. Even though rough patches are normal, you do need to deal with them, or your marriage and relationship will suffer.
When I got married, I also believed everything would simply work out perfectly. For a while it did. Then reality intruded on our happily ever after, and my husband and I hit a rough patch. We soon realized a healthy marriage requires some work. While it wasn’t easy, we managed to save and strengthen our marriage. Along the way, I learned some valuable lessons, and I want to share them with you in the hope that they will help you heal your own marriage.
1. Acknowledge There Is a Problem
It can be very painful to acknowledge your marriage isn’t perfect, but it really is vital. Before you can deal with any problem, you have to acknowledge the problem exists in the first place. This means both you and your spouse need to admit all is not well in your marriage. While it might be tough, you’ll be taking the first step toward healing your relationship and yourselves.
In addition to setting you on the path to a healthy relationship, admitting your marriage isn’t perfect can be surprisingly liberating. Trying to bury problems inside yourself takes a significant toll on your mental and emotional health. Even though it can be painful at first, once you’ve admitted these issues exist, you won’t be wasting your energy on trying to bury them anymore. You might even feel a sense of relief.
2. Ask for Help
Marital problems can be tough to deal with without help. They usually involve intense feelings, and how they’re dealt with will have long-term consequences. This is why it’s so important to get professional help. There are many excellent marriage counselors who are trained to help both you and your spouse heal your marriage, so reach out to them. Many churches offer some form of marriage guidance, so be sure to speak to your pastor.
Sometimes reaching out and asking for help can be difficult. Asking for help with something as painful and private as your marital problems can be especially challenging. If you feel embarrassed about your problems, try to remember that no marriage is without its issues. Even if other couples seem to have the perfect marriage, they probably don’t. So don’t let shame prevent you from getting help. Your marriage is too important.
3. Learn About Marriage
It would be wonderful if we were all born with the innate ability to make our relationships work perfectly. It would be even better if marriage came with a how-to manual. Unfortunately, we aren’t born with all the answers, and marriage doesn’t come with a how-to manual. We as human beings are complicated, and that makes our relationships complicated too. So learning a bit about marriage and relationships is a good idea. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power.
Your marriage counselor should be able to recommend some books about relationships you and your spouse can read. My husband and I found the following three books particularly helpful:
- The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman
- Men are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrel
4. Keep Communicating
You probably heard this about a hundred times on your wedding day, just like I did. Even though it sounds rather clichéd, it’s absolutely true. No relationship can be healthy without meaningful communication. Meaningful communication doesn’t include asking your spouse to feed the dog or buy milk. It definitely does not include shouting or insults. Instead, use the techniques your counselor has taught you to connect with your spouse in a meaningful manner.
Technology has improved our lives in countless ways, but it can have a negative impact on your marriage if you don’t use it responsibly. How often have you been to a romantic restaurant and seen a couple sitting at a table together, each intently focused on their phones? They may be sitting right next to each other, but they’re actually worlds apart.
Don’t fall into that unhealthy pattern. Rather use technology to your advantage. Use the calendar on your mobile phone to help you make time for your spouse and marriage. Set reminders so you don’t forget about these important appointments.
When you know your spouse is having a trying day at work, send him or her an encouraging text message. If either of you has to travel for business, use Skype or a social networking website to keep in touch. Your conversations with your spouse are personal, so be sure to use a Virtual Private Network to keep them private. Remember, technology should be a bridge between you and your spouse when you’re apart, not a barrier between you when you’re together.
5. Turn to God
When you stood at the altar on your wedding day, you and your spouse were joined together in front of the Lord. He was with you on your wedding day, and he is still with you now. Even though you’re struggling with painful marital problems, remember that God has not turned his back on you. So don’t turn your back on him. No matter how tough things get, nurture your relationship with the Lord. Encourage your spouse to do the same. God will help both of you cope with all the pain you’re going through.
Also, always do your best to behave in the manner you believe God would choose for you. When you do this, you’re likely to behave in an honorable way and make better choices regarding your marriage. This won’t prevent or solve every problem, but it will certainly help you avoid many of them. Always remember that when your actions come from your relationship with the Lord, they’re coming from a place of love.
I learned these five lessons the hard way, but they helped me save my marriage. My hope is that you can use them to weather any storms in your own marriage and get your happily ever after—with a bit of upkeep, of course!
These are by no means the only things you can do to save your marriage. What have you done that strengthened or saved your relationship? Please tell us about them in the comment section so others can benefit from them too.
Cassie is a blogger who writes about entertainment, among other things. She has struggled with marital problems but managed to overcome them with her husband and the Lord. She hopes what she’s learned will help your marriage too.