Can a broken marriage be repaired?
Being married or in a long-term relationship can be one of the most rewarding parts of life …
… Or it can be the greatest source of stress, frustration and conflict!
It takes a lot of work to maintain a close, vibrant relationship for a long time.
And sometimes it seems as though the odds are against your marriage succeeding.
It’s a fact that a strong relationship takes time, attention, and energy to build, maintain, and nurture.
You invest your time and emotions to build the relationship, only to see that relationship deteriorate over time, or worse damaged beyond repair.
And you find yourself wondering, “What happened?”
If you want to know how to rekindle a broken relationship before it’s too late, keep these suggestions in mind to help you and your spouse manage relationship conflicts and be able to again experience the intimacy and fulfillment you crave within your marital relationship.
How to Rekindle a Broken Relationship: Create a Plan For Moving Forward
When you or you and your partner want to repair your relationship which has been damaged by things you’ve said or done, then it’s important to create a plan for your future going forward. You’ve heard the expression, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”?
This expression holds just as true for your plan to move forward in your relationship as it does in your plan for a business or to purchase a home. So, before taking the plunge to move forward you’ll want to make a plan.
Let’s take the plan one step at a time so you don’t miss anything. You’ll want each of these steps included in your plan.
1. Commit to making changes in your life. In order to repair a relationship you’ll have to be different. Your relationship will not be different if you stay the same.
2. Recognize that you cannot change your spouse. Only your partner can change them self. In order to effect a change in the relationship at least one person must make changes and because you want to repair the relationship (or you wouldn’t be reading this) it will be you who changes.
When you begin to make changes it will often spark changes in your partner – but one of you must go first.
3. Find support for the changes you’ll be making in your behavior and in your relationship. Find a therapist, pastor or mentor who can help you walk out the changes you must make. Do not choose a friend who will not be objective in your life and will often be in a position to share judgements about your partner.
4. Write down your plan to win back your partner. You may still be living together, but if you continue down the same path you are currently taking it may not be long before one of you has moved out.
5. Read everything you can about how to love and respect your partner. Take a strong look at yourself and what you’ve been doing to create the divide in your relationship. Each of you has had a hand in the damage done to your relationship and each of you must take responsibility.
However, since you can’t force your partner to take responsibility it is you who must. You can’t change them, but you can change yourself. Look for the things in your life which you KNOW you’ve done wrong and commit to change them.
6. Talk with a trusted friend and ask for their honest and authentic opinion about your personality. Although they don’t have access to your relationship with your partner, they do know who you are and have seen you at your best and worst.
7. Create a plan book which can also become your journal. Every day commit to doing something toward making your relationship stronger and deeper. Write down what you will do and what you did do.
Consider the feeling of your partner first and foremost. It’s time to put your pride away and learn how to consider your partner first.
Think of The Other Person And Not Yourself
Relationships can be a challenge.
They require more of you than you thought you wanted to give and return more than you think you can handle.
Relationships are a gift and they must be cared for as such.
With care and attention you’ll reap rewards you never thought possible. And, one of the ways of getting more back than you give is to think of your partner more than you think of yourself.
More often than not, we are selfish humans. We like to take care of ourselves and make sure that our needs are met. In fact, most of television, Disney and movies make sure that we believe our partner can provide for all of our needs.
They insinuate that it’s just fine to head out the door for an affair or a divorce if our partner doesn’t give us everything we think we need or want.
But the reverse is actually true. The old expression that “it is better to give rather than receive” holds just as true with your emotions, love, respect and honor as it is for physical gifts and trinkets.
A Swedish proverb also says, “Love me when I least deserve it because that is when I really need it.”
However, whether it’s found in folklore, old proverbs or the Bible, it’s a concept that is real and true.
When you are willing to put the needs of your partner above your own you’ll begin to see changes in your relationship. It may not be immediate, and most likely will not be.
However, with time and persistence you’ll begin to see changes that will astound you. You may also not see changes in your relationship at all, which will indicate something deeper is wrong.
You can see immediate changes when you love your partner through a heated argument. In some cases your partner may be lashing out at you because of his or her own family history.
In other cases they may feel as if what you are saying is rejecting them or being unduly critical. When you can love them through their emotional distress you’ll often find your more lovable partner on the other side.
People who appear to not be listening to you, are overly critical of your behavior, seem to be deflecting or stonewalling, act out of sarcasm or are outright hostile can be attacking you when they mean to be attacking a person who isn’t even in the room.
They may be angry with their parents, siblings or other family members.
This means it’s time to take the time to think of your partner and not yourself. Focusing on others rather than yourself improves your own life.
The basic assumption is that when both partners work toward selflessness it significantly reduces the number of unhappy days you’ll experience together.
Good bosses and leaders are selfless, putting the needs of their people above their own. Good husbands and wives do the same thing.
To Rekindle a Broken Relationship: Listen
When was the last time you really listened to your spouse?
Do you remember the conversation you had last night?
Listening is much different from hearing. Sometimes when you are struggling with a relationship that seems to have hit a significant obstacle you may find that inadvertently one of you stopped listening and was just hearing what the other person was saying.
Hearing means you heard the sounds coming out of your partner’s mouth but haven’t integrated it into your thoughts or considered what was said. It’s a bit like having a very superficial conversation about the weather.
You heard that it would be raining in the afternoon but at no point did it register that the rain was coming and could impede your afternoon plans.
When you listen to someone you heard that it would rain and it registers that you can’t play softball. You have both heard and listened to the conversation.
Many women have this concern or complaint about their guys because guys are less likely to enjoy a long drawn out conversation than a woman.
Women may enjoy a long conversation about a disagreement at work while a guy just wants the particulars before giving you advice about what to do. She thinks he’s not listening and he thinks she’s too focused on the details.
In reality, they are both right.
She has the need to talk out the details to make a plan or just to get it off her chest, while he doesn’t have that need.
He wants to help with a plan, but she may not want a plan.
Because he isn’t listening she stops talking and starts getting angry about his insensitivity.
Listening skills can be a challenge to learn because it is so easy to fall back on your past habits. However, by paying attention to your partner and learning the skill you’ll start to see real changes in the relationship and may even learn a bit more about why they are dissatisfied.
If you are the partner who is having trouble listening to what’s being said then talk with your partner about the difficulty you’re having. Set boundaries for yourselves so conversations don’t linger for hours.
Instead, tell your partner you can talk and listen for 20 minutes. After that you might need to take a quick break or wait until later to finish the conversation.
Sometimes this break also gives both of you the time to process what’s already been said and come up with better solutions.
Tell your partner that when you ask for a break it’s not because you don’t WANT to talk but rather that you want to be better prepared to listen to what’s being said.
If you can have a little break your mind will be better able to focus on the conversation.
During the conversation listen to what is being said and don’t listen to the first sentence and then start formulating your own answer.
Too often we all miss what’s being said because we listen to only the first sentence or two before starting to think about how we’ll answer or what we’re saying is right and what our partner is saying is wrong.
Listening is a skill that you can use in relationships with your partner, boss, customers and kids. And wherever you use theses skills you’ll have stronger and more mature relationships.
To Rekindle a Broken Relationship: Respect Each Other
Relationships are not always easy. Whether it’s the relationship between yourself and your mother, father, sibling – or the one between yourself and your spouse.
Relationships can be filled with anger, irritation, frustration and control.
Without knowing, recognizing or meaning to, many people sabotage their relationships because they are not cognizant of what is actually happening. They only see and hear what affects them and not what is affecting their partner.
Repairing a relationship must include several factors – all of which mean you’ll have to humble yourself, paying closer attention to your partner than to yourself. And, one of those factors is respect.
Respect is one of those characteristics that men and women need to continue to love their partners. Men need respect more than women do, but they both need to know that the other respect them.
Respect is a necessary part of any relationship. Most people allow you to say whatever you want to them as long as you do it with respect for them.
In fact, respect is so important that some doctors believe it is the basis for any healthy relationship and must be practiced if you want to repair your relationship or grow a healthy future with your partner.
Respect is a powerful concept, not because of what it is but rather what it may not be. We know what respect looks and feels like and it is not always acknowledged. But disrespect can irreparably damage a relationship.
Therefore, while respect is desired, disrespect is more powerful and damaging.
So while it’s important that you respect your partner, if you can’t manage respect it’s more important that you don’t disrespect them.
You can show respect to your partner by being grateful for the things they do and saying so. Whether you say thank you, send an email, text or snap chat, you should show your partner that you recognize the efforts they made.
Respect is shown when you allow your partner his or her time to speak in conversation. When you listen to what is said and respond appropriately you show respect.
Disrespect is shown when you are reading a text, scrolling through Facebook or otherwise engaged while they are trying to talk with you.
Respect is also shown in the sincerity of your words, thoughts and actions. Thanking your partner with a voice dripping in sarcasm is extremely disrespectful and hurtful.
Living up to your promises and doing what you say you’ll do shows your partner that not only do you respect them but you are also a person who can be respected.
As you are looking for ways to change your relationship and repair the hurts of the past, consider how you may have been disrespectful without ever considering your behavior.
Practice Gratefulness to Fix Your Failing Relationship
When you are working hard to repair a relationship it can feel like your whole world is crashing in around you.
And, while it may be important to recognize exactly what in your world you are grateful for, at this point you may not see anything for which you could be grateful.
You aren’t grateful for what is stuck in your life but rather appreciating what isn’t a problem.
Practicing gratitude will help you to see your life in a way that can lessen the panic you are feeling and can open up your thinking to new solutions to old problems.
Unfortunately, we aren’t hardwired to be grateful so it’s a skill we have to practice and learn.
There are multiple reasons to practice being grateful and several ways to practice it.
Let’s start with why you want to include this little strategy in your life and move on to how to get it there.
The reasons you want to include gratefulness is short and sweet but very powerful.
People who regularly practice gratefulness are…
… feel more alive
… sleep better
… are more compassionate and kinder
… and even have stronger immune systems that make them healthier.
Happier people make for happier spouses, girlfriends and boyfriends.
Happier people have a more perceptive outlook on their future and can make the compromises in life that are necessary to repair any relationship.
When you are grateful for what you have, it’s easier to compromise a few small things to get the big prize at the end of the rainbow.
Being grateful is an active practice which means you don’t wait until you FEEL grateful, instead finding the things in life for which you are grateful.
You don’t have to wait for the big things in life to be grateful.
Each day there are things in life for which we can be grateful. These are the things that we have, are gifts or things that we take for granted.
For instance, you can be grateful for the roof over your head, the hot water from the spigots and the food on your table, no matter how small the portions.
It won’t matter how often you practice being grateful, but it does matter that you’ve made it a habit in your life. It might be everyday, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, every Sunday or the first of every month.
You’ll find it is easier if you can find a balance when you practice. So once monthly will probably not be often enough but twice a day could be too much.
You might try incorporating your gratefulness routine during a process in which you are already engaging on a daily or weekly time. For instance, during prayer, exercise or brushing your teeth.
When you can incorporate a habit with another, well-established habit you’ll have a greater chance of establishing this one firmly in your life.
People practice gratefulness in different ways.
You may list what you’re grateful for in your head, write it in a journal, write thank you notes to friends who have helped you or send text messages and emails.
Whatever way you practice being grateful, don’t forget to include your spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend.
Your partner is the person who should hear from you on at least a weekly basis for the things you are grateful for about them, their behavior, or what they’ve done for you.
When your partner knows that you have recognized their behavior, they are more apt to listen to your needs, see your changes and engage in helping you to repair the relationship as well.
Control Your Anger to Repair Your Broken Marriage
Has your anger ever gotten you in trouble?
The best guess is that it has.
Most people have to learn to control their anger in conversation with others.
And, most people recognize that it’s an important skill.
However, although you may recognize the necessity of controlling your anger you may not yet recognize when you lose your temper or how devastating it can be to your partner.
Relationships can be won or lost by your skills to disagree with your partner.
Men and women who have been in relationships where their partner has been disrespectful and hurtful when angry will appreciate a person who knows how to walk away from a disagreement until they can control their anger.
And, if you are in a relationship now which needs a bit of repair, it’s important to recognize if one or both of you are expressing yourself when you’re angry.
It’s important to remember that holding your anger in is not healthy but neither is venting to someone else. Anger is not something you have to get out of your system in order to avoiding blowing up.
In fact, for most people, venting your anger either physically or verbally only builds the anger and makes it more difficult to calm down.
Although you can’t always control the situation in which you find yourself, you can always control your own emotions.
Imagine that you’re fighting with your partner and yelling at the top of your voice. Suddenly the phone rings and it’s a call from your biggest client you’ve been expecting.
You answer the phone and your voice will be calm and collected.
You CAN control your emotions, they do not control you.
So when you are in an argument with your spouse it’s important to control your emotions and express them in way that is respectful and honors your partner.
You will be amazed by the number of disagreements you’ll solve when you control how you express your anger.
Anger is often an emotion that is covering other emotions. If you are upset about other behaviors, a previous conversation or another issue in your life.
If your first knee jerk reaction is anger then you might have some underlying emotional issues that make it more difficult to control your anger during a conversation or disagreement.
However, while you might have underlying issues it is NOT a reason to continue to express your anger to your partner.
Be aware of your warning signals and situations that trigger your anger and make a plan to get out of the situation before you blow up.
And finally, figure out some ways that work for you to calm down…
… Sometimes taking a walk outside will help you to calm down.
The outdoor air and sunshine has an effect on your emotions and it can help reduce your anger.
… Take some deep breaths,
… Do yoga poses,
… Practice stress reduction strategies,
… Or slowly count to ten (or higher!).
Try each of these and more until you find the strategy that works for you.
Controlling your anger is important if you want to repair your relationship and grow it to a healthy and strong emotional bond.
Repair Your Damaged Relationship: Walk The Walk And Talk The Talk
One of the best ways to lose the respect of your partner and damage your relationship is to ask them to do something you aren’t willing to do.
You may not think that you act that way, but with a little insight and some information from your partner you may discover that you are asking them to do things that you haven’t even tried.
For instance, are you asking your partner to control their anger during conversations with you but each time you have a disagreement you end up yelling just a little bit too?
You might think that your behavior isn’t nearly as bad as theirs, but in whose eyes?
Maybe in their eyes their behavior isn’t nearly as bad as yours.
The important objective is to do exactly what you are asking from your partner.
When you are trying to repair a relationship from damage done from arguing, hurtful expression of anger or even infidelity, you have to take stock of what YOU are doing as well as what you are asking your partner to do.
And, while you’re at it, it’s important to understand what should and shouldn’t be done.
If you are going to walk the walk then here are a few of the boundaries that you and your partner should set between you in order to repair your relationship.
Ensure that you both are committed to doing what you’re asking the other to do and be sure to check in with your partner each week as you are both learning new skills.
1. Be honest with your partner, but also be gentle.
2. Learn to compromise because we don’t always get what we want.
3. Know your partner’s beliefs about relationships so you are both starting at the same place.
4. Don’t mistake sex for love. Men can often keep these two separate but women often think that sex equals love.
5. Remember you and your partner are a team. You are different but a team.
6. Solve your problems quickly. Don’t let them simmer or one of you will grow bitter.
7. Don’t take everything personally. Sometimes you or your partner just had a bad day.
8. Never go to sleep angry.
9. It’s easy to have sex but more difficult to be intimate. It is important that you are authentic and transparent with your partner, sharing hopes, dreams, sorrows, sadness and joy.
10. Cooperate with your partner. Remember that they are your partner and not your enemy. You both win when you cooperate with each other.
11. Don’t try to fix your partner. They don’t need fixing. If you don’t like them the way that they are, you probably have deeper issues.
12. Accept the fact that neither of you are perfect.
13. Don’t be afraid of the tough conversations.
14. Don’t share your relationship problems with your friends and family
15. Stay open to being spontaneous. It’s just plain sexy.
Marriage and relationships can be a complicated road sometimes, but it can also be the source of tremendous happiness and joy for both of you.
Start today to take small steps, commit to loving your partner with all your heart and soul, and savor a loving long-lasting relationship filled with passion, excitement, and a fulfilling journey through life together.
Have you ever tried to rekindle a broken relationship? How did it go? Please share your comments below.