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How to Repair a Strained Marriage

by Alizah Scherr

When a marriage becomes strained, it can cause a great deal of grief and angst in both spouses. Repairing a broken marriage can be a difficult and time-consuming process. When things begin to go wrong with the partner whom you have pledged to spend a lifetime with, it can feel as if the world is ending. However, there are ways to mend a strained marriage and connect with your spouse like you used to. With some work and a commitment to making things right, fixing your marriage is possible.

Acknowledge the Situation

Recognize that your marriage is strained and be clear about exactly what the issues are. Fixing the marriage is possible only if you are aware of what is broken. Take the time to reflect on your marriage and create a list of the problems that you feel exist. This list will help you clarify with your spouse exactly what you feel needs to be worked on.

Honest Discussion

It takes work to repair a marriage.

Talk to your spouse about your feelings. Be clear about the fact that you feel the marriage is strained and you would like to fix it. Communication honestly and openly is one of the first steps in mending a broken relationship. Ask your spouse if the feeling is mutual, and express that you would like to hear your spouse's opinion as well. This will decrease the chances that your spouse will become defensive and open up the lines of communication. According to Frank Fincham and Steven Beach, in the journal Personal Relationships, constructive communication that is directly related to forgiveness in relationships involves a partner who confronts issues when they arise and carefully listens to the other partner.

Foster Intimacy

Create intimate moments in your relationship. Set aside time to eat dinner by candlelight, go on a romantic vacation and have sex more often. Many marriages become strained due to a lack of intimacy and a decreased sex life. Experiencing more intimate moments with your spouse will help increase the emotional bond between the two of you and lead to more positive feelings.

Attend Counseling

Attend couples counseling. A trained professional can help facilitate an effective conversation as well as bring to light issues in the relationship that may be hidden beneath the surface. Therapy is a safe environment where you and your spouse can bring up sensitive issues without the fear of judgment. In addition, the presence of an objective third party may help keep possible conflicts from escalating.

Show Empathy

Show your spouse that you care by checking in to demonstrate that your spouse and your marriage are on your mind. If you sense that your spouse is upset, express how you think your spouse is feeling and let your spouse know that you are there if needed. Be a good listener by focusing on what is being said and by giving your spouse your full attention. Use nonverbal body language such as eye contact to show your spouse that you are engaged in what is being said.

About the Author

Alizah Scherr has worked as a professional school counselor in a public school system for more than five years. She has a master's degree in education and is certified as a counselor.

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