How to fight for your marriage alone. It’s possible. Here’s how.
When a partner chooses to have an affair or participate in infidelity, it creates a division that destroys the foundation of trust that you and your spouse previously had.
What makes this worse is when one partner does not want to try to save the marriage, leaving the other spouse to fight for it alone. Although this can be frustrating, distressing, and lonely, it does not mean that the marriage can’t be saved.
It is important to remember that it takes two people to get married to one another, but only one to shift the relationship towards a positive change. It is not necessarily the infidelity that ends the marriage, but how each of you responds to the aftermath of it.
With this said, if you are willing to put in the work necessary for re-designing and healing the relationship, then the marriage can be saved.
Step One: Redefine What Your Love is Contingent Upon and Forgive
If your love is contingent upon your partner being faithful to you always, then there is no room for mistakes.
This can put a ton of pressure on your partner and cause them to become apathetic towards their own behavior. If they are always required to conform to what your ideas are about how things should be, then it’ll be extremely difficult to save the marriage alone as resentment will be ever-present.
Instead, love should be contingent on providing unconditional love to your spouse regardless of failure and remember that they are a human being with confusing, complicated emotions too.
The next part of this step is to forgive, and although this will be extremely, almost near impossible to do at first, the circumstances will change for the positive if you choose to act willfully in forgiving your partner.
They don’t necessarily need to hear it from you, but rather see it in how you treat them during the aftermath of the infidelity.
It is important to remember that forgiveness is a fundamental choice on both ends of marriage, and permitting that you can “grow by leveraging the hurt” as painful as that will be, you can evolve past it and learn to forgive.
But you must be willing to choose to forgive willingly.
Step Two: Remove All Forms of Criticism
Although you may not realize it, you might be stuck in a cycle of negativity due to feeling alone in the marriage and frustrated.
If your spouse is being indifferent to you, whether that be through checking out, unplugging, or not being around, it is common to find yourself trapped in negative criticisms. These criticisms may be justified, but they will not help you save the marriage on your own.
Rather, choose to find a quiet place to vent your frustrations and heartbreak.
Choose to write in a journal, read a book, or talk to a therapist rather than being critical of your spouse.
When you do communicate with your partner, make sure to rephrase your wording to be more neutral.
Often we find ourselves using the I-statement technique wrongly which causes the communication to come off as accusatory.
Instead of saying “I think this behavior has,” say, “When this type of action is done, it makes me feel like,” this will greatly help stop fights before they happen.
Step Three: When Possible Choose to Praise
This may be extremely difficult to do, especially when your partner has completely checked out, but when possible, find something to praise them for.
Sometimes the partner has completely checked out because they feel guilt-ridden, or feel like you no longer value them. If you can temporarily silence the negative overtones and focus on the positive, by showing them that you still value them, then it can also help change or shift the marriage.
Step Four: Understand and Change Your Thinking Around Infidelity
This step is crucial as the understanding that infidelity is caused by failed marriages, or that there is something wrong with you, is absolutely not the case.
We are taught that infidelity occurs when one falls “out of love” or that you were “not emotional enough, or didn’t meet their needs,” (Bob, 2018) which is wrong.
The marriage or you did not cause your partner to have an affair, it was a conscious choice made by them and only them. Once you understand this, you can focus on why your partner chose to have an affair without it being a reflection of you as a person.
Finally, remember that it will take a lot of determination and effort to get the marriage to turn around.
It is important to understand that by fighting for your marriage alone, it helps you become a more courageous and confident person which will bring you opportunities for relationship advancement and help you become resilient regardless of the outcome.
Now there is no magic formula or trick that will instantly get your partner to re-engage, remember it is their choice to choose to be a part of the marriage or not, but the above steps will give you a better probability of saving your marriage.