Initial Steps to Save Your Marriage
- Establish a destination.
Every relationship needs a point on the horizon that they can look to to calm the seas when times are rough. Knowing that good times are to come can make the most difficult moment seem very temporary. Unfortunately, troubled relationships spend so much time arguing that partners come to see just more to come on the horizon. To save the relationship from sure failure, we have to change the course. To do that, we set a new target: the destination.
- Focus on yourself first.
Why do most relationships fail? Well, they have a partner-centric focus, that is, they judge right or wrong depending on what partner is doing. Often, a partner will justify their bad behavior because their partner is doing the same thing or something similarly negative. With both partners in the same mindset, is it any surprise that a relationship would face significant challenges?
Instead of looking at the bad in your partner, start finding the things you appreciate about them. This means that you will stop baiting the trap for them. You can always find something to be upset about, concerning their behavior. To make the relationship work, you have to find all of the things to be happy about, concerning their behavior.
Evaluate all relationship behavior, as if you were outside looking inwards. Imagine if you were evaluating another couple’s relationship. Do what you do when viewing a chick flick, drama, or other relationship movie. In the movie The Break Up, with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Anniston, we witness a few absurd behaviors that are added to make the movie interesting, but most of the arguments and mentalities are rather common in an unhealthy relationship. Even relationships that are considered to be on firm ground share some of these behaviors. When you evaluate your relationship as if it were this movie, place those movie characters into the roles of you and your partner, and then imagine if those behaviors would engender an intimate and rewarding relationship.
- Be someone else: a different character.
In my book, I elaborated on a few concepts that look at personalities. We see that a lot of what we call us or them, are actually chosen traits or traits imparted onto us by others. One can choose to be a victim. One can choose to be the aggressor. But, we have to realize that relationships do not include one partner being the victim. In fact, in an unhealthy relationship, both partners feel as if they are the victim. When first dating, neither individual felt as if they were the victim; of course the relationship could build on itself and foster intimate connections. To save your relationship, do what you would do if this relationship ended and you were courting or being courted by another (new) partner.
When I was in school years ago, I was in a physical altercation. A friend of mine was about to be attacked and I stepped in. The aggressor threw wild punches in my direction, which were all deflected or missed altogether, due to my skill. I did not reciprocate the attack. The differential in skill between this berzerker and was vast. With little effort, I could have caused serious harm to him. Not only could this person have been seriously hurt, but he could have died, just by being hit and falling, hitting his head on the concrete. Not only did I save myself from possible criminal charges, but I was also not removed from my studies. I did not give any violence. I chose to be a knight, not a berzerker. Relationships aren’t battlefields, so resist the urge to reciprocate the pain by embodying a character that gives negativity.
- Accept what may or may not come.
Too often, we throw out our demands as we try to control life. Life is out of our control, but we can navigate the obstacles and (like gravitational pull) exert an indirect force on others to change, so that they may grab our hand and join our life mission, so that we may go towards our destination, together. Your partner has to choose, on their own, to join the effort. Just as a sports team works together to limit the opponent’s scoring potential and maximizes their own potential, a couple can only succeed if they are not staring each other down, pointing revolvers towards one another. We have to join hands, and stare down the true obstacles that destroy or limit the potential success of our relationships. The only way we get to this point of cooperation is if both partners generate their own will. Placing demands on one another just pushes each other away. Acceptance does not promote bad behavior. It is not an endorsement, although further bad behavior may come. Demands may immediately stop a particular behavior, but we also destroy that person’s inner drive or desire to change for the positive; they will resent the control emplaced. Acceptance will also prevent any escalation, if there were to be an argument or disagreement. By exercising this habit, you eliminate your partner’s need to arm themselves for battle or war. With a hand extended, they realize that this is not about surrender, or fighting, but cooperation towards better times.
Nobody’s got the gun.
Thank you for reading,