Marriages go through ups and downs, but when an extramarital affair or other hurtful situation leads to bitter feelings, emotional disconnection and painful memories, couples may wonder if they can rebuild their marriage. Learning to trust and confide in each other again takes time and effort. However, genuinely expressing your feelings and committing to healing the relationship can help get your marriage on the road to recovery.
Honestly Express Your Feelings
Honest communication is a significant building block in repairing your marriage if you are seeking to rebuild intimacy. Articulating to each other how you feel and what you want is key to rebuilding the relationship. If one or both of you were unfaithful, you must reveal to each other how the infidelity made you feel. The unfaithful spouse should also be willing to let the other spouse have access to his email accounts, cell phone and credits cards at all times. When a cheating spouse gives the other spouse complete access to his activities and whereabouts, it helps demonstrate trustworthiness and a desire to rebuild the marriage, according to Willard F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D. in his article, "Four Rules to Guide Marital Recovery After an Affair" on the Marriage Builders website.
Spend Time Together
Jobs, children and daily activities can leave little space for alone time. Plan your schedule and make room for time to talk and be together. Go for a walk, sit on the porch while you watch your kids play in the yard, hold hands and hug and kiss each other often, suggests Frank Gunzberg, Ph.D. on his website. While it may seem uncomfortable at first, making the effort to intentionally show intimacy may help you recover the emotional connection that your marriage is missing.
Show Each Other Attention
Whether its candlelight dinners, compliments or just remembering to take out the trash, there are numerous ways that couples can show their thoughtfulness. Giving your spouse your complete attention and acting like you want to be there shows that you are invested in making your marriage work, says Gunzburg. Recognize ways to appreciate your spouse. Expensive gifts and long, weekend getaways are nice, but not necessary. Many couples grow closer by simply noticing and acknowledging the little things, such as complimenting a new hairstyle or thanking each other for doing work around the house.
Commit for the Long Haul
Couples who focus on mending their marriage can repair the deteriorating relationship. Devote yourself 100 percent to the process, says Phil McGraw, the psychologist turned television host, on his "Dr. Phil Show" website. Keep in mind that restoring a marriage takes time and commitment. Work through your problems, one by one, and do not be discouraged if you have a setback. Instead, learn from mistakes, talk them out and move forward.
Sharon Bolling holds a master's in counseling and human development with a concentration in school counseling from Radford University. She is an experienced instructor of both high school and college students. She has been writing for Demand Media online since April 2013.