Feel Alone in Your Marriage? Reconnect with Your Partner Using These Ground Rules

couple on the sand

Do you treat each other like polite (or not so polite) strangers? Does it feel as if there is a wall between you? Are you wondering if it’s even possible to reconnect with the person you once loved so much?  Well, according to Dr. Dana it absolutely is possible!

Dr. Dana’s Ground Rules

Let’s cover some ground rules.  These will help you and your spouse work together to create positive change:

1. Don’t blame!

In fact, blaming is one of the most common mistakes that couples make when “working” on their marriage.  They focus primarily on what the other person is doing wrong and take little to no responsibility for their part in the couples’ problems or issues.  Focusing on blame only drives you and your spouse further apart.  Instead, look for solutions: new behaviors and positive choices.

2. Don’t “nag” each other!

While making new choices and learning new behaviors, if you note something you believe applies to your partner – do not say, “See! (Implied here is, ‘You idiot!’) That’s exactly what I’ve been saying all along!  Why haven’t you listened to me?”  Instead, focus on yourself and your own choices.   Are those choices helping the situation move in a positive direction or simply contributing to the overall problem?

3. Do have loving discussions

And by that I do not mean, holding hands and singing “Kum-by- yah” together – instead, I mean: be honest, open and (gulp), vulnerable.  Understanding that this may be incredibly difficult for couples that are hurting, we spend a considerable amount of time in our System teaching couples how to have loving, productive discussions.

4. Do have the courage to talk about what’s really going on with you in your marriage.

For example:  When you are frustrated and hurt that your partner is working long hours and paying very little time and attention to you and the kids, he or she won’t understand what is really going on with you if, rather than being gently straightforward about your real fears, concerns etc., you instead, criticize him for never making dinner, disapprove of her “improper” technique when putting the kids to bed or complain about the lack of sex.  These complaints won’t let them know what’s really going on.  Instead, take the time to self-reflect and determine what you are really feeling and what is really causing it.  Then kindly, lovingly and without blame, discuss your feelings with your spouse.

Following these ground rules will make the experience of working on your relationship go much more smoothly.

To learn more about using Dr. Dana’s ground rules to help your relationship using our online videos and downloadable exercises, check out our StrongMarriageNow System.

Have you used these kinds of “ground rules” in your relationship before?  Did it help?  Please comment below.

If you feel like you need more than these "ground rules" to motivate your spouse to work on the relationship, check out our solution "How to Get Your Partner Checked Back In."

Check Out Our Video: How To Regain the Love, Rekindle Passion and Save Your Marriage

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17 comments

Fatima David 11 years ago

my is not clear, why is it that when u show your guy love and give him all your heart dat is when he will play and dump u

Fatima David 11 years ago

u see i have a guy who i want to married, but when he asked me to follow him to somewhere he ask me to tell the lady that am his sister i should not say am his wife that he want to married. please why are men like that and they will pretent they love you. please i need my reply back

Fatima David 11 years ago

why is it dat some parent are weeked when it come to dat their son brought about marriage

CP 10 years ago

I find that groundrules go out the window in anger. And it doesn't matter how often or how much we 'practice'....when anger is in play, I think we both feel constrained, cheated and resentful of 'rules' when we want to be heard. I have no idea what to do about that. My husband's anger is uncontrollable.

Tammy 10 years ago

My husband is in chronic pain, depressed, suffers from ed, low motivation etc. What should I do? he is on an antidepressant, is taking care of his back, we no longer have sex, and one of the real issues I have with him is he doesn't take care of things proactively- from helping around the house to his physical situation, to our lives and how they are being affected. How do I stop feeling so angry and sometimes, well alot of the time feel some disgust with him. He also won't bathe- I mean he can go 3 weeks or longer without bathing, doesn't follow through on what we need to do for our relationship etc. etc. I have addressed all these issues with him. Yes it is better, but he cycles through long periods of time without doing anything we talk about etc. I am the opposite, very proactive, take care of it now if you can, seek help until I get an answer, etc. My sex drive is very high at times. I have started using a vibrator just for the relief, what a mess! We get along very well on a daily basis, respect eachother, Where What How Why? Any assistance is greatly appreciated. God led me to your site. I am so grateful I have found all of you! Thank you so very much.

amybarnhartsd 10 years ago

I'm so sorry to hear about your difficult situation Tammy. This article on what Dana calls "An emotional broken arm" may be helpful to you in your situation. Why Can Being Married Hurt So Much? This article may also be useful to you on what to do when you want more sex than your husband: We've got more articles on improving your sexlife on our blog: Hope this helps...

kidenmaryeguret 9 years ago

I have more sex feeling than my husband .what can i do?????????.

David 9 years ago

My wife and I separated about four months ago. Three and a half months ago she filed for divorce. I have been trying everything I can think of to try and repair my marriage. I have tried to sit down with my wife so that we can discuss our problems but every time she agrees to meet with me she backs out before we can actually talk. I have tried to get her to go to marriage counseling but she will not go with me. Believe me it is rather awkward going to marriage counseling alone. I have dated a few times since the separation, at my wife's insistence, but all it has done is made me more convinced than ever that getting back together with my wife is what I want to do. How can I repair my relationship with my wife when she will not even see me and I am the only one who wants to fix things?

Christine 9 years ago

The answer to why do men do that is pretty simple. Woman allow it and accept it. If anyone treats you with disrespect, let them know that is not acceptable and if they are unwilling to change their behavior towards you...then say bye, bye..see ya, don't want to be ya. If you settle for less that is EXACTLY what you will get. Find out what your core belief about your self is that tells you that you need to hang on to a man who would treat you with such disrespect. If you want a healthy partner, become a healthy partner.

Christine 9 years ago

Your husband is depressed...of course he can't get out of his own way. Obviously the drugs..anti depressants, aren't helping. They are toxifying his liver though. You say that you are proactive..good. Think outside of the box and get moving. If your husband get's angry..that might be good as it is the other side of depression and can actually trigger action. Is he in therapy for his depression? Have his hormone levels been checked? Have his allergy or food sensitivities been checked? Change his diet to no grains, organic veggy's and fruits., clean proteins, healthy fats, no high glycemic carbs..lots of filtered water...no coffee or caffene stimulants, no sugar or toxic sugar substitutes ( use healthy ones,stevia, agave)..no soda, eat whole foods not prepackaged ones. stay away from soy. Take him to a doc who will offer a more holistic approach and not rely on drugs. As for your various forms of frustration...exercise, run or spin, do yoga ... do something to produce endorphins that will bring a sense of calmness.You obviously love this man and love will overpower anything we are faced with. Above all pray with surrender.

karen 8 years ago

what do you do when your spouse leaves won't tell you where he lives and doesn't call if you tell them you really need to talk if you love you spouse with all you heart how do you make it for him to come home when he says he doesn't know what is wrong but he not happy but doesn't know why what is that i don't understand and if i could just see him and talk just to get him to tell me that he loves me and wants to come home but he will not say he loves me and this has just started like 4 weeks ago he used to tell me he loved me everytime he talked to me which was 10 to 20 times a day what happened and i don't know if this will help but i need someone to tell me what is going on he says he doesn't want a divorce so what is it he doesnn't know i am so hurt and confused that i just wish i wasn't alive i told him we would have been married 19 years in july he said no we will be married but why is he doing this to me he says it isn't anybody else so what is it i don't know why i am even writing this i can't get answers to anything anymore don't want to live in this world anymore so sorry i am a lost cause

Tom 8 years ago

I don't know if this helps anyone, but I have been having problems for years which got worse over time. I couldn't figure out why we would fight. My wife would just argue about everything and then leave and go out with her friends. Well.......turns out she has been using drugs (meth) and is in fact an addict. Once I discovered this I got her into a program and am now hoping for the best. I love my wife, but this became her life and I had no idea. So, for those out there who are having a problem that doesn't make sense and you know there is no one else, then check to see if drugs or alcohol are involved. Believe me, it can go undetected by you and it will absolutely cause this type of problem.

D 8 years ago

My husband abandoned me & our 3 boys Sept. 9, 2011, with absolutely no discussion about it. We came home from a football game and his things were gone. He built us a house "for our kids" and then flipped out and left. The bottom line is, his dad is an ass and won't sell him the farm land that is literally 1/8 of a mile from where we live. We have cattle & that has been his passion for 21 years. The kids & I have never counted. He has also been having an affair with a slut he works with who is 14 1/2 years younger than him. The problem is, I still love him and want to work things out. He has now bought a "cabin" and moved it in over where he's staying, which is actually his grandpa's land. He has a separate cell phone he uses for his mistress because 2 years ago I had her number blocked from his phone and she made him go to the competitor and get a phone there. He won't answer the phone I have bought him but uses the other one just for her all the time & doesn't think anything is wrong. His 3 boys want nothing to do with him. I don't know what to do because I still love him and desperately want to save my marriage! I know I am a fool, but I don't want to lose him.

melissa 8 years ago

Research Midlife Crisis

Glenda 8 years ago

My husband left me 12 mths ago and is ready to divorce me he says he made mistakes and so did I but is happy with his life now ie a girl in his office,I was lost and confused fighting all the time it never stopped because of his drinking,Facebook,and all the activities without me I felt so alone and left out of our marriage,since our seperation he has borrowed money from me and once we have worked side by side to paint our home it was good and we do work really well together. I found this sight a few months ago and realised what we had been doing wrong I sent him some videos with no reply. My point is we have been together for 18yrs married 9 he left 4 days short of his 40th bday I am sad we could not work it out we are about we are about to lose everything and there will be nothing left not even a home for my son and I. Please people take a deep breath stand back and remember why we get married its so easy to walk away and not work on things use the information on this wonderful sight and apply it to yourself hold your head up high and know you tried everything you could. I loved my husband so much he didn't love me enough to make things work. Good luck to you all my heart is with you all never lose you you are good people

unicor 8 years ago

My husband and I divorced legally ( not in the Catholic Curch) a year and 2 months I have tried to communicate and he has told me not to email or call or text him. He does not want to talk or see me. How can I open communication with him?

Mike_Olsen_SMN 8 years ago

Unicor, I'm sorry to hear he does not want to communicate with you. Here is a wonderful video on "What To Do When Your Spouse Won't Talk To You." https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/save-marriage-spouse-wont-talk/