Each year in America alone, nearly 1 million marriages end in divorce. This is unacceptable!The question is how many of those marriages could have been saved. Unfortunately, that is an invisible number. If your marriage stays together, it is hard to find in the statistics. Can your marriage be saved? If I could answer that, I would be a wealthy woman. I can tell you that if your marriage is in trouble and you do nothing, the outcome is guaranteed. If you do something, there is a higher probability that your marriage will be protected.
And I can tell you, in four modest steps what you can do to protect your marriage. You can start now. But you must understand that I said “modest.” That is not the same as “easy.” These steps are not easy. They do, however, give you a method that you must follow if you want to change the fate of a marriage in trouble.
Here are the 4 steps in Saving your Marriage:
1) Quit the blame game. Stop blaming your spouse and stop blaming you. This is the first step because marriages get stuck into a pattern of blame that stops any prospect of moving forward. Instead, the energy gets hauled. Blame is our method of avoiding seeing ourselves clearly. It is much easier to point the finger somewhere and say “It’s their fault.” In marriage, you can just as easily turn that pointing finger on yourself and place the blame there, saying “it’s my entire fault.”
Unfortunately, blame feels good in the short-term, but in the long-term, it prevents any change. So, even if you can make a long list of why you or your spouse should be blamed, forget it. Even if that list is factual, it will not help you put your marriage back together. Blame is the fuel of divorces.
2) Take charge. Decide to change. Change always begins when one person who decides to think differently. Understand that taking charge is not the same as taking the blame (see above). Instead, blame is saying “regardless of who is at fault, what can I do differently, and I am going to do it.” What buttons do you allow your spouse to push? What buttons do you push with your spouse? Decide not to allow those buttons to be pushed and stop pushing the buttons.
What amazes me in life is that everyone knows what they should or should not be doing. But it is difficult to move in that direction that is correct. Don’t be caught in that. Decide that you will take action. The difference between blame and charge is this: if I am in a burning house, I can stand around trying to figure out who started the blaze, why it has spread so quickly, and who I am going to sue when it is over (blame), or I can get myself and anyone else I can out of that house and to safety (taking charge). When a marriage is having difficulties, the building is on fire. How will you take action to save the marriage?
3) Get tools from experts. If others have been saved, you can be, too. Experts with a great deal more perspective and experience can be a real help in these situations. Do your investigation and divide the useless from the useful, then take advantage of the useful.
Don’t assume that your situation is so dissimilar from every other situation. I can tell you that after 37 years on this planet providing peer counseling to friends and family, not too much new comes through my doors. Don’t get me wrong; the story changes, but the dynamics are the same.
Remember what Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.” In other words, what got you into trouble will not get you out of trouble. That requires a whole new level of thinking. And that is what you get from an outside expert, someone with a fresh perspective.
4) Take action. More harm is done by doing nothing. It is too easy to get paralyzed by the situation. Therapists often talk about “analysis paralysis.” This occurs when people get so caught up in their churning thoughts and attempts to “figure things out” that they never take action.
It is not enough to simply understand what is causing the problem. You must then act! On a daily basis, I find people coming to me with the belief that if they can just understand their problem, it will resolve itself. That simply does not happen. Resolution of the situation takes action.
Will your marriage be saved? If you follow my recommendations, you have infinitely more chance for saving your marriage than if you do nothing. Marriage is one of those places where it takes two to make it work, but only one to really mess things up. You can only do your part, but many times, that is enough. Resolve not to ask but to begin to act.
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