Have you been looking for advice on how to save a marriage, but can’t seem to find anything more than vague tips about learning communication skills, not criticizing, forgiving each other? Well, sure, those things are great, but there’s a lot you can do today to make things better. While most of these steps for how to save a marriage take some time, they’re all things you can start doing right now.
Have a cooling down period!
Whether your spouse has just told you they want a divorce or you’ve been talking about it for a while, a cooling down period will do you both some good. Take about a week to get away from each other and gather your thoughts. This is no time to make a laundry list of your "future ex’s" faults, though! Instead, focus on remembering why you fell in love with your spouse in the first place and think through some calm, respectful ways to address the problems when you see each other again.
Work on your own issues!
Yes, you have issues, too. Sorry. And these aren’t just issues between you and your spouse, but issues related to any emotional baggage you brought into the marriage, too. If you’re taking a cooling off period, that’s a great time to work on these problems, although you shouldn’t expect to resolve any deep issues in such a short time.
Keep in mind, too, that you need to be careful about assigning blame, especially if your spouse has been violent or verbally abusive. While many therapists who understand how to save a marriage will remind you it "takes two to tango," don’t start thinking you "made" your partner act a certain way.
If you’ve already taken your cooling off period and given some serious thought to how you might be contributing to the conflict, set aside a few uninterrupted hours (read: get a babysitter) to talk things over. If it seems like you always end up in shouting matches every time you try to work things out, you might want to do this in a marriage counselor’s office. A neutral third party knowledgeable about how to save a marriage can really help keep things sane so you can make some real progress.
Spend quality time with each other!
Not spending enough quality time together is often what starts marital problems in the first place. Then once the marriage is really on the rocks, you spend more and more time apart. Fortunately, it’s an easy trend to reverse. Find something you both enjoy doing, as long as you can chat with each other while doing it, and schedule a time for the activity at least twice a week.
Most truly useful advice on, "how to save a marriage", won’t give you quick fixes that you can get done in one day, but a lot will give you tactics you can at least try out right away. Whether you think you need a short break from your spouse to ease tensions or you just need to focus on each other a little more to keep things from really falling apart, there’s always something you can do today to get started in the right direction. The important thing is to take action now and not waste any more time hoping things will get better on their own.