Many people enter marriage with a vision of happily-ever-after, only to find themselves seeking a divorce lawyer years later because their expectations haven’t been met. No one wishes for a divorce, but sometimes couples see no alternative. Yet, rather than discarding a marriage due to issues, should we not consider reviving a troubled marriage, similar to mending a valuable outfit with a missing button?
No one wants a divorce, but some couples see no alternative. Instead of working on the relationship, learning to communicate, it seems easier to toss the marriage away. Not many couples consider working on improving their communication skills. Consider tossing a wonderful outfit because of a missing button. Wouldn’t it be better simply to replace the button and keep the outfit? Anything, including marriage, can be improved.
Years of Discontent
Marriage takes effort; however, many couples choose the easy way out. Instead of fixing what is broken, they live through years of discontent.
This may start with actively listening. How many spouses are not hearing the discontent when their partner expresses them? It’s as if they expect the discontent to go away by ignoring it. Then, they claim they are shocked when their partner “suddenly” asks for a divorce.
It is rarely suddenly. The announcement has been in the works for years, but no one was listening.
If a spouse is taken by surprise, certain steps may help bring the marriage back on track:
1. Have A Plan Of Action
If you have spent years ignoring problems, it’s time to stop. Sit down and think about what your spouse has said and how to fix what is wrong.
2. Don’t Play The Victim
It is easy – and very unproductive – to shift into victim mode. “How could you ….” “After all I have done for you ….” These attempts at arousing guilt may work, but they will do nothing to solve the basic marital problems. It is likely to depress and antagonize the spouse even more.
Instead of playing victim, shift into a winner’s mindset. You’re facing a challenge, and you are up to the job. You can and will salvage the relationship through positive actions. Words are easy in a situation such as this, but action speaks louder and clearer. Show your spouse that you value him or her and the marriage. Be affectionate. Smile when you see him or her. Be appreciative of the small things your partner does instead of harping on the things he or she doesn’t do. Learn the power of positivity.
3. Have an honest discussion and truly listen.
What changes does your partner need to be happy? What has he or she been grousing about for years that you have simply ignored and labeled “nagging?” Whether it is lack of intimacy, irresponsibility with finances, lack of punctuality, lack of common interest – take it seriously and prepare a list. Don’t argue with your spouse. Accept his or her feelings and acknowledge them. This is not a discussion about right or wrong. It is a “how can we work this out” situation.
4. See if you see identify any of your own questionable behavior.
Did you father squander money? Did your mother invariably ruin any event by being late? Perhaps you are exhibiting learned behavior. And behavior that is learned can be unlearned.
Practical Steps You Can Take
1. Take Control Of Your Appearance
The odds are the problems in your marriage have nothing to do with appearance. However, more often than not, both parties in a relationship have let themselves “go” once they are married. They can become a tad lazy. Pretend you are dating (always a lovely marriage booster) and look your best. Lose some excess weight. Splurge on a haircut and some nice makeup. Improve your wardrobe. Consider why you look better going to the grocery store than you do when you spend time with the most important person in your life. It’s time to attract your spouse all over again.
2. Take Care Of Lingering Problems
An honest talk with your spouse should clarify when is troubling him or her. Don’t dismiss the complaints as foolishly. Instead, find a way to handle them. What can you do differently in the future?
During the discussion, present your own dissatisfactions. Marriage is a game for two people, and both of you need to work together. Don’t underestimate how a licensed counselor can help bring the best qualities back into your marriage.
3. Remain positive about yourself
Your mindset will be one of your most powerful allies. If you believe you can turn your marriage around, you have a much better chance of doing so. You need to be convinced that you deserve happiness – and be willing to work for it.
4. Improve Your Spousal Skills
We spend time learning most things in life, whether it is cooking or driving a car. But most of us have not learned how to be in a marriage. We jump into it dewy-eyes, filled with hopes and armed with minimal skills. Here are some behaviors that can be learned and improved:
- How to talk with each other instead of at each other. That involves listening and acknowledging your partner.
- How to make decisions that are beneficial for both of you. This usually requires the art of compromise.
- How to deal with anger and grudges honestly instead of letting them linger.
- How to fill the relationship with positivity.
If your marriage is troubled, focus on improving it instead of dissolving it. By making certain choices, you may keep a divorce from happening.
Keep in mind what drew you toward each other in the first place. There were clear and admirable attributes that you recognized in each other. Find these in yourself and your spouse and rediscover who you used to be. Instead of focusing on the dirty socks lying around, notice when he or she acts lovingly and thoughtfully. Respond in kind.
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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