If your marriage is in trouble, one of the best actions that you can take is to seek out counseling.
The sessions are typically conducted by an experienced individual whose main goal is to help save your marriage.
Being in a bad marriage negatively affects all areas of your life.
You could continue down the road of being miserable, fix the problems, or move on.
There is no in-between and you deserve better than settling for less.
Today, you’re going to learn about some ways that you can go about saving your marriage by doing some simple exercises that are thought-provoking.
Let’s dive right in…
Marriage Counseling Basics
It is often difficult to try and save the marriage when both parties feel they are hitting a brick wall with their perceived attempts to be reasonable.
The marriage counselor is usually an individual who is not interested in taking sides, but more interested in getting to the root of the problem and finding a workable solution to get the marriage back on the right track.
These people are usually specifically trained to help any and all situations that are created within the marriage that has gone bad.
Couples seeking the help of a marriage counselor will usually come away quite surprised, at what they learn from the sessions.
In several cases, miscommunication and misinterpretation are the biggest contributors to the conflicts that appear in a marriage.
The marriage counselor will be able to help the couple see things in a different light and then outline ways to help create a more conducive and workable situation where both parties can participate positively toward mending the relationship.
In helping the couple identify the problem both honestly and clearly, the counselor will then be able to get both parties to work on some exercises that will help them to understand each other better, thus allowing the couple to better face the problems head-on when they appropriate time presents itself.
Attending marriage counseling sessions would also help the couple be more open as the counselor will certainly ask very probing questions and will not allow either party to be evasive in their answers.
This level of honesty is sometimes not forthcoming within the confines of the marriage.
Make a List of Your Goals For Your Marriage
Although it may seem ideal to simply drift along through the marriage, it would help to create a stronger marriage bond if both parties work out some goals they can participate in achieving.
The goal-setting exercise is important as it helps both parties strengthen their relationship by focusing on a common goal.
It also helps to improve communication and creates the desire to help each other in a more conducive manner so that the goals set can be achieved without undue pressure.
The goals also help to validate each other’s contributions to the relationship and also keep both parties accountable and committed.
Part of the goal-setting process would require both parties to verbalize their dreams and aspirations for the relationship, thus giving each other a clear insight into the workings of their individual mindsets.
Creating a list individually and then taking the time to sit down together to try and collaborate in forming a new list that will serve each party’s needs comfortably, would be the ideal way to go about the whole exercise of setting goals.
Once this is done, both parties would then have to decide on some sort of timeline that would be suitable and realistic in moving towards achieving the goals set.
This would include having to evaluate and reevaluate certain values and mindsets in order to make the goals set achievable.
This time of sharing aspirations can be very enjoyable and enlightening if both parties maintain some level of intimacy and cordiality.
Being accusatory and demanding will not help the exercise of goal setting for the marriage.
The act of sharing goals can often bring a couple closer together and also keep them more focused on each other throughout the exercise.
Make a List of What Is Getting In The Way
Once the goals for the marriage have been firmly outlined and accepted, there would be some follow-up steps that should be taken to ensure the goals set are achieved without eventually contributing to the downfall of the relationship.
What’s In The Way
Making a list of the elements that could be possible contributing factors to not getting the goals achieved would be a wise and preemptive action to initiate.
This will give both parties the leeway to be open and frank about their reservations and fears.
It will also allow both parties to see each other weaknesses and strengths and work toward exploring the strengths and limiting the hold that the weaknesses may present.
There are several things that would constitute actions that get in the way of achieving the end goals for the marriage.
Some of these may prove to be unfounded and quite easily managed and eradicated, while others may present more of a challenge to the couple.
The ones that would be, identify as a challenge should be addressed without reservations to ensure these challenges don’t test the patience of both parties and also to ensure it does not in any way negatively affect the marriage.
Sometimes there is a need to prioritize the items on the list of marriage goals.
Failing to do this could create confusion and stress that could lead to the goals becoming a nightmare rather than a healthy focus for the couple.
Being prepared and aware of the necessity to change priorities would also be another thing to consider and work on, as more often than not, situations arise unexpectedly that can cause the goals set to become defunct.
Part of the list should be how to handle or address such possibilities.
Develop a Positive Attitude about Getting Help
Part of the growing process within a marriage relationship is to understand and accept the need for positive intervention when things are not going according to plan.
Being able to seek such help is pivotal in keeping the marriage on the road to recovery rather than on a collision course.
The most difficult effort to make would be to not resort to seeking justice for the wronged feelings and experiences.
The individual would have to be strong enough and want the relationship badly enough, to get to the stage where there is a positive attitude in place to help salvage the marriage by getting help.
Bitterness will not help in any way, especially if the individual is interested in keeping a good grasp on the relationship.
Despite the hurt and negativity, both parties should ideally try to seek help from professional outside forces that will help to move both parties forward and in a mode where damage control can be initiated.
Trusting that the help sought, will give both parties the opportunity to seek some form of resolve that will help to keep the marriage on track to mending itself is very important.
In most cases the trust issues within the relationship are the first thing that becomes a matter of contention for both parties, therefore making the effort to develop a positive attitude to building that trust back is an important step in the right direction.
Forgiveness is another element that needs to be addressed in the process of cultivating a positive attitude.
The positive impact of being ready to forgive can and usually does wonders for a failing relationship.
A lot of people have attested to the success of salvaging the marriage when the positive element of forgiveness is widely and consciously practiced.
Realize the Only Person You Can Change Is You
Most relationships that encounter problems seem to focus on the “who is to blame” element.
This is not only destructive but is also an action that usually leads to more problems than solutions.
Have A Look
Being the “bigger” person within the equation would allow the individual to take on the responsibility of acknowledging some change is needed, and that the change should ideally start with the individual itself.
Being prepared to accept that some of the faults do indeed lie at the individual’s “feet” is a step in the right direction.
Taking the time and effort to explore the various reasons and actions that had a part in contributing to the current negativity of the relationship will help the individual realize that there is really no benefit in placing the blame on everyone and anyone else.
Successful recovery from a damaged relationship will be off to a good start when each person involved is willing to change for the better.
This should be the main focus of the exercise as changing for the better will always be more beneficial, which will eventually become so normal that the individual will no longer look upon such an exercise as something forced or unfair.
The positive changes will also help the individual become a better person, thus making the overall situation more pleasant and easy to improve upon.
It is also almost always easier to change oneself rather than trying to change the other party in the relationship.
Changing oneself does not require the constant maneuvering of another person’s physical and mental control.
Concentrating on being a better person and a more loving and caring partner will also encourage the other party to respond in an equally positive manner thus successfully allowing the relationship to improve for the better.
Places To Get Free Counseling
Marriage at times can be challenging, especially if you’re really committed to making it work for the long haul.
Along with the hard work, there are also times of great joy and fulfillment, but when this is not forthcoming for quite a while, then, it is time to seek some outside help.
This help ideally should come in the form of marriage counseling.
The following are some places that one should explore for the purpose of seeking outside help to try and save or create a better and stronger marriage relationship if you're budget-restricted:
Where To Go
Reading as much as possible on the subject would be helpful.
When there are problems published that are similar to the ones the individual is going through the general experience and outcome could be applied or at least tried.
Sometimes it would be helpful to know that there are others that have gone through similar situations and that it is possible to overcome them successfully.
Seeking counseling from a priest is also another option for those who are more religiously inclined.
This is helpful only if both parties are open and willing to explore options that are closely linked to a religious angle.
This is also a very helpful option, if both parties are known to the priest taking on the counseling sessions, as it would give all concerned a better and clearly take on the whole situation.
For some joining a support group would be a more suitable match, as they would prefer to hear several different views on the matter and also for its non-threatening and non-judgmental base.
Being in a group will allow both parties to be able to hear several different types of suggestions and opinions that may prove to be helpful and practical.
Sometimes when marriage seems to be in trouble, both parties will ignore the sign in the hope that things will eventually work themselves out and everything will be ok in the end.
However, in most cases, this is never the ideal outcome and things just escalate further until it becomes so unbearable that the only solution would be divorce.
Therefore in the interest of trying to save a marriage, all efforts should be exercised to keep the idea of divorce from creeping into the situation.
Paying For Marriage Counseling
If you have a budget to work with, then we recommend that you seek out a marriage counselor with a proven track record in helping couples, because it can be well worth the cost.
Their fees will vary depending on their popularity and success rates.
In general, you could expect to pay between $100 to $300 per 90-minute session.
Before selecting a counselor, you could use the Internet to research their client ratings, testimonials, and practice.
You could search for any complaints on the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) website.
If you and your spouse feel that your marriage is worth saving, then the fees are worthy of your relationship in exchange for a lifetime of happiness and fulfillment.
The following are some of the more obvious signs that could indicate that a marriage is in trouble and what action should be taken to avoid disastrous consequences:
One of the first signs of trouble in “paradise” is when one party can no longer see the good in the other person.
Anything and everything said or done by the other party is almost always looked upon with condescension, disappointment, or even worse anger.
This is a sure sign that things are not right and if help is not pursued immediately; a once-loving relationship could eventually turn violent and abusive.
These negative feelings will eventually kill any lingering positive elements within the relationship, to the extent that there is really no possibility of accepting the other party back and making a fresh start.
Fighting constantly is also another sure sign that something is wrong.
When this happens, both parties will learn to go their own separate ways while still existing within the relationship.
This of course is also very unhealthy as both parties will eventually develop such animosity towards each other, that they will eventually only exist bodily within the relationship, without any mental or physical contact.
This will then no longer be a relationship at all.
Marriage can be a wonderful experience that brings love, joy, meaning, and completion to your life.
However, if not handled properly, can be an absolute nightmare.
If you marry the wrong person, to begin with, your relationship may never work out, no matter how much effort you put into it.
A large number of couples that are in successful marriages initially chose the right life partner, which means fewer overall conflicts.
If you and your spouse feel that you’re compatible, then your marriage is worth fighting for.
Especially if miscommunication and misinterpretation are the primary sources of the conflicts that are causing those problems in your marriage.
Divorce rates are always high, but with the proper mindset, the willingness of you and your spouse, and the help of a marriage counselor, you have a chance of NOT becoming part of those statistics.
In this article, we just wanted to give you a few simple exercises to get you to list the problems in your marriage, set goals to overcome those problems, realize why you may need to change yourself, and the importance of developing a positive attitude about getting help from a counselor.
Only you and your spouse can determine whether to continue with the marriage or not, and we highly recommend that you consult with a reputable counselor.
Good luck on your marriage-saving journey!