Knowing your marriage is in trouble is one of the worst feelings in the world. You likely feel exhausted, scared, burned out, and like you’ve tried everything you can think of – but nothing seems to work. Maybe you’re wondering if your marriage is over because your spouse wants out of the relationship. This can feel downright devastating.
When you find yourself in this seemingly hopeless place, it often feels like you’re at your partner’s mercy, that all you can do is wait for them to make a decision about whether or not they want to stay or go. It feels like there’s nothing you can do but wait and see what happens.
That, however, IS A LIE.
Dr. Dana Fillmore, co-creator of The Marriage Guide: What To Do When Your Spouse Wants Out, looks at this big lie in a practical way: “When it feels like there’s nothing you can do – it’s because you’re not looking in the right place!”
She goes on to say, “Without expertise, it’s hard to understand the psychological and physiological components that may be going on beneath the surface of you or your spouse’s behavior.”
Here are two of Dr. Dana’s best tips that can help you turn your marriage around. It’s normal for couples to “fall out and back in love” over the course of their marriage, and these tips can be instrumental in saving your marriage when your spouse says it’s over.
The Wisdom of Standing Still
When your relationship is on the brink, a natural tendency can be to hold on as tightly as possible, to cling to your spouse with all your might because you’re frightened to lose them.
Unfortunately, this can actually push them further away!
If your husband or wife is disconnecting from you and struggling emotionally, clinging can actually make them feel bad about themselves, and dredge up the hurt they are struggling with.
Instead, imagine standing still with open arms and a loving smile on your face. You’re not clinging, you’re simply ready for them to return of their own accord. Instead of pushing them away by constantly bringing up the troubles in your marriage, or berating them with your frustrations, you instead remain calm and still. Begging and pleading for love only pushes them further away.
Once this behavior starts to go away, they can begin to feel comfortable in your company, and are much more willing to address problems and walk back into your embrace voluntarily.
The Marriage Accord Principle
This might sound impossible, but it’s, by far, the most important tip. Even if you’re practicing the first tip, this is an essential component of moving beyond your problems and beginning the real work of rebuilding your marriage.
Agree with your spouse.
Agree that you don’t want the marriage you currently have. Agree that the marriage you have today is not the relationship you want. Agree that your old marriage is over.
Now, this is the important part. After you agree that you are no longer in the marriage you want to be in, ask your spouse, in no uncertain terms, to consider a new marriage with you – one that will make both of you happy.
For many couples, the thought of staying married makes them only think of the existing problems, of things staying the same. Considering a “new marriage” with your current spouse, however, leaves all sorts of room for improvement – and potentially, an entirely new way of conducting the relationship.
These tips are powerful, and can inspire you to take charge of your marriage and help you see the light at the end of this painful tunnel.
If you’re trying to decide if all hope is lost, or if there is still something you could do to save your marriage, check out our new Audio CD, “How Long Should I Keep Trying?” It’s only $7.00 with free shipping, and you’ll get more powerful help from Dr. Dana.
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Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness,
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com