What Most Couples Don’t Know About Saving a Marriage

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Why do so many people’s attempt to save their marriages fail? What are they doing? or not doing? Why do so many who go to counseling still separate? Here’s what you need to know to save your marriage and succeed where others fail.

  1. Not all therapists are created equal
    Now, I recognize that might sound strange coming from me, but let me explain what I mean: Couples should not go to a therapist who isn’t qualified to do couples therapy. Many people, (and therapists for that matter), don’t realize that couples counseling is very different than individual counseling. So much of it is teaching – teaching couples how to truly communicate, how to resolve conflict, how to learn and understand their partner’s point of view, etc. In fact, it’s when couples’ therapists attempt to be mediators in the room – attempt to judge who is right and who is wrong – that they get into trouble and can actually damage the relationship, (I mean, 3 out of 4 couples who go to couples counseling actually end up breaking up!) Additionally, you don’t want the couple to become dependent on the therapist. A good therapist doesn’t want their clients to be in therapy forever! And after they’ve stopped coming to see the therapist, the therapist is not going to be standing in the kitchen mediating their fight over who should be responsible for feeding the dog! They have to learn to do it themselves and honestly, in my opinion, the StrongMarriageNow System is the perfect medium to teach them.
  2. Don’t rely on friends and family for completely subjective advice
    That more times than not actually damages the relationship more than helps it. Recognizing that these are the people that love you, they are not necessarily qualified to teach you how to be married, (particularly if they are taking sides!)
  3. Don’t put your heads in the sand
    And tell yourselves, “as soon as she gets that new job, it’ll be better” or “as soon as the kids go to kindergarten, it’ll be better” as the marriage just gets worse and worse. Don’t wait for the other person to change – Instead, take a good hard look at yourself and do what you can to make the marriage better.
  4. And finally, (this is my personal favorite really), DON’T simply fight about it
    Day-in and day-out for years and years and years without learning how to change anything.

What all of these issues have in common is that they focus solely on the problems in the marriage rather than on actively looking for any kind of solutions.

So, to reiterate, how can you succeed where others have failed to save their marriages?

  1. Seek information from a qualified therapist – it may or may not be face-to-face therapy – but look for information as soon as significant problems appear
  2. Take responsibility for your part in making the marriage successful and
  3. Check out the StrongMarriageNow System we created for people just like you.
  4. For Pete’s sake, stop fighting about it!

To learn more about saving your marriage using our online videos and downloadable exercises, check out our StrongMarriageNow System.

Have you recognized any other issues holding you back? Need help saving a marriage? Please comment below.


Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

Get The Best Couples Therapy From A Professional. Visit https://www.strongmarriagenow.com

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Tammy 13 years ago

Do you offer advice on various matters without having to buy your product? It's too expensive for us. Thank you in advance!

Patrick 13 years ago

Can your system work when only one person is still trying to save the marriage? We are separated, my wife is in a relationship with another man - her 'soul mate' - and she has suddenly begun to try all manner of new and exciting sports & pastimes. Her social life is increadibly hectic and she is beginning to neglect our children. I am completely devastated by all this but she is adament that we are finished. She has said that she is going to divorce me but that it is not a priority at the moment. Can you help? Patrick

Ryan 13 years ago

I am in the same situation but I had to realize my happiness is not in her it is in me and show her that your kids are you priority if it isn't for her.

amybarnhartsd 13 years ago

Hello Tammy - We do offer free advice on our blog and if you signup with your email, you'll get free videos and regular articles emailed to you with helpful marriage advice. Wishing you the best... -- Amy

Patrick 13 years ago

Thanks for the reply Ryan. Sorry that you find yourself where I am. It really sucks. My question though was aimed at getting a response from the 'strongmarriagenow' team. Can your methods work when only one person is trying to save the marriage, the couple are already separated, the wife has 'moved-on' and has started a new relationship with another man? Somehow I think not but I would like to be proved wrong. Thanks Patrick

amybarnhartsd 13 years ago

Thanks for weighing in Patrick and Ryan. It is possible to save a marriage even in those states but it is more challenging when the spouse has moved on or is checked out of the relationship. We're a few days away from launching a new solution for people just like you called "How to Get Your Partner Checked Back In" We'll be sending out an email announcement soon. Keep the faith...

amybarnhartsd 13 years ago

Hello, Wanted to let you know I just launched our solution "How To Get Your Partner Checked Back In." If you want to discover how: Get Your Spouse Checked Back In

Kelly 11 years ago

How do I get my husband to stop seeing another woman and focused just on me we are still together and are now spending alot of time together I can not afford your product right now but i could use some advise Neither of us wants a divorce Keep my email private please

Lisa thompson 11 years ago

I really need to find a good couples counselling near Northumberland in England how's best to do this my partner is making me mad inside now with his obsessive ways always telling me what to do and not coping with our little one screaming it's driving me to the point I don't know if I love him anymore what do I do?

Diane 11 years ago

There is a really effective program exactly on this issue. I couldn't believe the fantastic insight and although I don't agree with all the techniques the manljoritu are spot on! Called "Stop Your Divorce" by Homer McDonald. Good luck and all the best!

cecilia 11 years ago

My husband and I need help we have been married for 25 years and we are now in a big crisis I will love to have a face to face conversation we live in Boston but I and welling to travel to save my familly

Calvin 11 years ago

Hi Dr. Dana, I have enjoyed reading your emails that come. At the present time my wife has been gone for over 2 years but I still hope that she will return. During this time I have learned a lot of truths about relationships that put solid hope in my heart for our future if that time comes when she will give it a chance. Our church is very involved, and she is leaning on them to help her know when. So I have to try to learn patience which has not come easy for me. I have only had the priviledge to sit down and visit with her once in the whole time, and that went very well, but we did not talk about anything in regards to our relationship. In spite of the many thoughts that you hold out for the people, there is a foundational truth that I have learned, and to me it is the bottom line need, for a change of heart. It is so simple, and I believe most every couple can relate to it. I would gladly share it with you if you are at all interested. Maybe you are aware of it but for some reason are not putting the same emphasis on it. I have watched for it for months hoping to see it. Thanks for the emails and maybe I will hear from you. Calvin James

Calvin 11 years ago

Cecilia, I feel for you, and hurt with you and your husband. Don't let anyone tell you it is not worth fixing. It is very likely a lot simpler and easier than it looks. But you have to understand where the foxes are getting through the fence and destroying the vineyard. If you want to comunicate, I would be willing to email and share the vital truths I have learned from heart wrenching, real life, personal experience. email me at calvinjames@agapemail.com Calvin

Confused and loving 11 years ago

He says we had a life together and hed been trying for years..We didnt always see eye to eye, and i read that the person that challenges you the most in life and face issues is the right one for you. Im living day by day doing thebest i can and meeeting guys though nothing serious or semi serious or physical. I'm not capable of that.. I know I will not be for many years.. I know I don't want to throw in the towel...I've dated lot of guys before the ex none has had my full heart or affected my sleep and been in my dreams and thoughts and there always good dreams of him coming back and living happily ever after...he also shows and has said he loves me more than the mother of our kids and more than a friend. We have three boys together, yet he left and divorced me after 11 years of marriage and total of 13 years together saying all kinds of excuses and there's a girls bag in our old room and though says we need to stop still can't help wanting to see me too... Claims its not fair to me... Though I know him well he has no intention of stopping seeing me nor of I seeing him.. I believe he may have issues with comittment or blames me for his own issues and old relationships. I've changed for the better though my sleeping at night issue hasn't changed ..I want him back at home with me and the kids.. him seeing the kids every other weekend is no kind of environment for our kids and worry about my love(my ex/their dad) financially and emotionally.. This girl was all that he wouldn't want to see me.. I want the kids and me to be soul priority and wonder how long we haven't though I hold no grudges or anger.. Only love in my heart and forgiveness and wanting to look to the now and do anything I can to get to stop living in the past and be in the now with me and our beautiful boys.. Any help you can give or suggest would be appreciated....I had minor issues that I've conquered and gotten through the missing him and hurting without him in our lif

Confused and loving 11 years ago

I want my ex back want any solid proven facts to get him back with me and the kids as a solid partner who is faithful and loving and all of us happy for the kids

stuck 11 years ago

We've been married for 25 years and the same old problem remains without a solution. The early years were difficult starting a family and he was controlling, not so much now because I won't let him. We are horrible fighters and terrible communicators. We've said so many hurtful things to one another over the years and so much damage has been done for us and for our children (they have witnessed it all, all their lives. I just can't accept the fact that my husband chooses to put his business ahead of our family. After 16 years of struggle, both financial and emotional, we still have no security and no savings no pension. We are both dedicate to our children who are pursuing their education now. My husband has chosen not to seek other employment and would have many other options with his education and skills. So much time has been stolen from our marriage and the lack of security is scary for me. He's consumed by it day and night and never fully present. Somehow I think he likes the battle and conflict to prod on. So much time lost with me and children. I feel that he has risked so much. I feel like both are heads are in the sand and we have been waiting for the business to succeed to get on with life. Hopes and dreams have been put on hold for so many years. How do we move forward? He still plans to continue with his business and says he will decide to leave it when he feels he's ready to do that. There is always a simmering rage and bitterness inside me that boils over at the slightest things because I feel these choices are unfair. We are quickly approaching our 50's and there is no game plan for how we are to plan for our future. I can't accept this uncertainty. I don't want to waste my time fighting and being bitter. I've threatened to leave numerous times but that is not what I really want, I have a vision for our lives together and our family. I also don't want to be approaching 60 and be in the same situation. I want to spend my time growing and becoming good friends (we're not because we're not nice to one another). I'm stuck about how to move forward?

BETSY 10 years ago

Thankyou Dr Dana I read your emails and changed my way of looking at things. I found out my husband was having a emotional affair. I was suspicious and we go out with people every week. Especially this person I thought was my friend. I went to the rest room and left my phone on the table recording their conversation while I was gone. The next day I remembered I did that. I listened to it and was shocked hurt betrayed by both. They were about to turn their emotional affair into physical. Talked about getting a seporate phone to talk to her. I confronted him and her later that nite. She denied it and he said that nothing ever happened. Luckily my husband did not want to give up on our 38 yr marriage. I used so much of what you were teaching and felt at one point I was the only one working on our marriage. Soon he saw my change and began to change too. Its been a yr I still read your emails and we are happier than we ever were. The pain is still there and he tells me he can see it on my face then reminds me he only wants me. Its getting easier tho and I don't allow it to interfere with our recovery. I would like to purchase your program still but finances don't allow for it. Until then I will continue to read your emails. Thankyou Dr Dana for helping to save my marriage.

Michelle 10 years ago

I have been married to a wonderful daddy and hubby for 15 yrs. We have had some rough times but alot of good times. We have a wonderful home and family. Now the problem is Jan 2012 his high school gf found him on fb. At this time, we were not always seeing eye to eye, By May he left and had 46 days of affair with her. He did come back to his family but for the past 15 months, They have been having this emotional attachment, alot of talking on the phone. Needless to say, she is also married with an open marriage with her hubby.Until 6 wks ago, it has become sexual, emotional, etc attachment. I have forgiven my hubby for the sexual affair with her, and everything he keeps doing. I continue to love him with all of my heart and soul, I dont fuss or bitch about the other woman, all i want is to move on with my hubby. He tells me he loves me, he is in love with me, he wants his family/home, He states he has the best wife and family, He will never have it this good, This woman aint worth it, she dont have nothing for him but some false words and her body. So i just dont know what else to do, he states he wants his wife and family but he cant seem to get over this affair. I would give this man my last breath and he knows it. I have been so hurt/crushed and I keep forgiving him, how can i get him to get over this other woman? this is the first affair ever for him, he knows am damn good to him and he would lose his kid's respect, home, wife, etc if this dont stop soon. HOW CAN I GET THIS OTHER WOMAN OFF HIS MIND, OUT OF THE PICTURE BEFORE IT KILLS MY KIDS,OUR MARRIAGE, AND ME?

ray 10 years ago

I don't want to save the marriage after HER 5yr affair, never did and never will and that was 47 yrs ago. SHE knew where the DOORS were !

Tina 10 years ago

My husband and I have been married for 11 years and we have 4 children. The marriage to say the least has been stressful from the get go. We were in a custody battle w his ex-wife and divorce case. We didn't have a lot of $$, and with our personal differences we just didn't get along. There were things about me that he doesn't understand and took as a personal dig (which is not the case and still does) and there are things I didn't understand about him (now that I'm in counseling I have a better understanding). We fought all the time about the differences we had. He then had an affair with a coworker a year after we were married. We didn't separate or divorce because 1. neither could afford to and 2. I really loved him. We just had a baby and I thought with all the stress of that things would change because we went to couples therapy, but it didn't. The fighting didn't stop and I had a very hard time getting over the affair. I thought he was "the one" and how could he do this so to speak.... My husband is a VERY hands on kind of guy with women and that has bothered me from the get go. Many women have taken his "hugs" the wrong way and pursued him.. which didn't bother him at all. I have had to "express" my dislike to these other women to get them to back off. My husband since then has moved the family to a new town in 2010, where he has started a new affair approx Apr of 2012. He hid the affair for many months. I found the hotel rcpt in our car one week before Thanksgiving 2012. He then confirmed the affair and said he didn't love me anymore and didn't want to be married to me. His affair has been "public notice" for myself and children because he comes and goes when ever he wants. He will leave at 530pm and get home the following morning at 11am on the weekends and weekdays he leave 8pm and gets in around 1 or 2am. He has tried to guilt the children into meeting her (she is married herself). The children dislike their dad and don't respect him. They see him as a cheater and liar and tend to get into arguments with him when he tries to parent them. He has on many occasions stated he is moving out of our home, yet has done nothing to remove himself. He has an excuse every month on why he doesn't move. I cant afford to leave the house either. Since June of 2013 (when I confronted the slut and her husband (who knew nothing of the affair) things have been a little different. The whore quit her job where my husband works and told her husband that the affair was a mistake and she wanted to save her marriage. Ya no, that didn't happen. They still meet up, and his patterns have NEVER changed. Only now my husband says to me that he loves me and that we will be ok but the affair hasn't stopped. He comes home and still wants to "act" like a husband in the bedroom but wont stop the affair. I love my husband, and our children. I know in my heart of hearts the best thing for me and them is to find a way out. I'm trying but its difficult. The area we live in is not cheap and two of the older children are my stepchildren. I feel my husband is and will always be a dishonest person. What do I do? Do I try to find a way to get my husband to fall back into love with me? Will he EVER change? I feel so lost!!

Mike_Olsen_SMN 10 years ago

Tina, If you still love him and want to "fall back into love," we have some great videos on the blog with advice on how to do so. Feel free to check out these videos: https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/fall-back-in-love/ Best wishes!