Here’s a quick exercise you can do right now. Write down your 10 most important things to accomplish. If “saving my marriage” is not on that list then we have a problem. There is no reason for you to read this. Come back when you’re ready.
In case you don’t know my story, here it is: my wife and I grew apart. Financial troubles, fighting, stress over starting a new business, lack of passion…
We had all these symptoms.
And we overcame them all. Today, our marriage is healthy. The relationship couldn’t be stronger. And yes, the sex is (still) great (again). Here are three things we did to save our marriage and avoid the dreaded “D-word.” May they work as well for you…
1. Find Your Reason Why
Usually, the problems in a marriage are not the real problem. Money problems, fighting, lack of intimacy — these are symptoms, not causes. You have to dig deep and find the “story behind the story.”
And from there you have to find your reason why. Why is it so important to save the marriage? What key things are driving this wedge? Here was my list:
- I am more than just “in love” with my wife. I have a personal relationship with God and view my marriage as an extension to that.
- I am starting a new business and am not available much.
- This wedge between us impacts my self-worth. It is a rejection of me. It is a lack of appreciation for what I am trying to do for the family.
Have this kind of honest talk with yourself. Do this before you talk to your spouse. Then set aside a lot of time to talk…
Listen. Listen to their fears and thoughts.
Share. Share your reason why.
And be prepared to absorb statements like this:
James, I am so hurt by you. You seem to be always working and and your mind seems to never leave work. I know that I cannot live this way. I miss you so much, but can’t go on like this! James, something has to change for the better! We need to change things now!
Her words hit me like a heart attack. But then the healing started.
I am so thankful to have a wonderful, caring wife who shared her feelings with me.
We worked on “terms” to not just to repair the wedge between us. We worked on ways to avoid arguments and excuses to keep our goals in focus.
I changed from a workaholic to a husband and father starting a new business. We both reset our expectations of time together and goals.
The result? Attraction. Once we both made the commitment and delivered on our promises we “magically” found a new level of attraction for one another.
2. Look In The Mirror (And Take Personal Responsibility)
Take stock of your life. Most people never accomplish the goals they set out. You only have to look at all the failed News Year’s Resolutions to see this. But the most important part of this is about personal responsibility.
There is an old saying: every time you point a finger at someone, look where the other three are pointing…
This is not about blame. What is past is past. What this is about is leading by example.
Listen, we all have dreams. There are always better things to do than take out the garbage, change a diaper, or sit through a movie we have no interest in. But it is too easy to place your needs first. Your needs at the expense of your spouse’s and your families.
And that will not work in the long term.
So you have to do the hard thing. Make a list of the 5 things you need to do better on. Make a list of the 5 things your spouse keeps saying they want from you. And get to work.
Work quietly. Expect no reward or recognition right away. Give things time. As the Bible says, “go into a corner and pray to your Father in silence.” The fruits of your labor come later.
You are making a small deposit into your “marriage bank.” It may take a lot to add up to something real and tangible.
3. Make A Plan
I like lists. I believe that to-do lists and notes help me focus. They get my thoughts organized. They help separate emotion from reality. To me, lists are good.
Here are the lists I recommend you make:
- Make a list of the problems in your marriage. Be honest and direct. Try and not get too emotional. Your spouse can prepare their list. Share them. Talk about them. Quietly. Expect that some things on the list may hurt you. But this is not the time for emotion and anger, it is the time for honesty.
- Make a “communications plan.” Women especially think they they shouldn’t have to tell their spouse how they feel or what they want. Honestly, this is bull. Things are broken (or soon will be). Now is not the time to play mind reader. Make a plan to share things with one another — good things, bad things, fears, heart aches, happiness. Always start with “I feel” or “I felt” when you talk to your spouse. Make sure you include good things too — feel free to say “I love…”
The Important Of Action
Things do not change just because “saving my marriage” makes the top 10 list. Action and hard work are the secret. You have to be selfless and make the changes needed. You have to try each and every day regardless of the result.
I was lucky. When my marriage was at its lowest point I saw instant results. My wife and I reconnected and began working on things together. How did this happen?
I have Amy Waterman to thank. Her “Save My Marriage Today” course was a God-send to me. It gave me specific advice on what to say and when to say it. It made me see who I am and what I wanted. I helped me talk to my wife.
- Find Your Reason Why.
- Look In The Mirror (And Take Personal Responsibility).
- Make A Plan.
And if you need more help, email me and check out Amy’s excellent advice and program. Click here to learn more.