The 3-Step Process That Can Pull Your Marriage Out Of A Tailspin

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Joined: Nov 2022

Photo: Federica Giacomazzi | Unsplash The 3-Step Process That Can Pull Your Marriage Out Of A Tailspin

Are you feeling hopeless about your marriage? You’re not alone. Almost all marriages go through periods that can leave you feeling like you’re on one of those scary roller-coaster rides that make you want to throw up. 

So, what can you do? Ignore it and hope it gets better? Run for the hills. How about something in between?

The 3-step process that can pull a marriage out of a tailspin

1. Remember you’re going to be OK, no matter what.

No doubt that if you’ve been worried that your marriage is ending, you’re probably feeling depressed, powerless, and like you have no control. But here’s the thing: you can’t take effective actionable steps from a place of weakness or imbalance.  

To mobilize hope, love, and long-term security in your marriage, the first thing to do is back to knowing it’s OK to take good care of yourself. And then tap back into your sense of strength and control. How? Practicing these three habits helps you stand in your power.

Balance: Stand strong and don’t lean too far forward or too far back from your partner) Hold your head high, don’t shrink, take long, deep breaths, and stay centered. Practice mindfulness. Remember, this is a momentary experience, and you have a long future ahead. Don’t forget that even though your marriage is like a tree blowing in the wind, it has deep roots.

Confidence: Make this your mantra: “I am enough!” and say it out loud several times a day. Nurture your confidence by doing things that make you feel calm and creative. Confidence is what empowers you to take charge and move forward. Don’t forget that confidence makes you more attractive to your partner.

Fairness: Take responsibility for your part in the current state of your marriage. This will not weaken you. In fact, by not blaming your spouse for all your relationship troubles and taking ownership of your part, you quickly detoxify your relationship and strengthen yourself. You will set your relationship up for success by being humble and fair.



2. Develop deep empathy for your spouse.

To save your marriage and become a happy couple, remember your spouse is not you, and you are two different people. Yes, you’ve got to walk in your partner’s shoes.

Couples fall in love when they are happy together. Then, what’s the quickest way for me to create happiness with your partner? The short answer is: know thy spouse.

It sounds so simple, yet it isn’t a skill that comes naturally. It takes many couples years (and sometimes marriage therapy) to develop this level of empathy. Here are three ways to build your empathy muscle fast.

Become an expert on your spouse: Figure out what they reflexively do when they are under stress. Do they want to move closer or have some time to themselves? Get good at reading body language and facial expressions. If you’re having trouble, ask if you’re reading it right. Also, the answer to questions like “What’s the one thing that makes my spouse feel the most vulnerable?” or “What are three things I can do to make my partner feel loved?”

Listen like a pro: In short, make the goal of hearing and understanding your spouse when they try to make their case. To pull that off, you’ll have to remember that “hearing” them is not the same as “agreeing” with them, and “understanding” them does not mean “giving in” to them. Be sure to let your partner know you understand what she is saying by paraphrasing what you’ve just heard. Then ask, “Did I get that right? Is there anything else?”

Be warmhearted: Show sensitivity and care towards your spouse. Give them a hug, kiss, and compliment when you part ways in the morning and a warm welcome home hug at the end of the day, and ask how their day went. Infuse the time you spend together with appreciation and affection. Say thank you for a specific thing, smile, touch, wink, make eye contact, use an endearing term, play “your song” and dance in the kitchen, do the dishes even if it’s not your turn, praise them when he least expects it, and laugh together. 

The 3-Step Process That Can Pull Your Marriage Out Of A Tailspin

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3. Recommit to putting your relationship first.

Your marriage is in a vulnerable place because you lost sight of the essential agreements that would keep it safe and happy. Above all, for your marriage to be saved, you must commit to always putting your relationship first.  

You have to wrap your mind around this shift. “I don’t come first, you don’t come first, our kids don’t come first, work doesn’t come first. We come first. From now on, the guiding question is: What’s best for us?”

Here are four agreements that will help you put (and keep) your relationship first.

Radical transparency: You need to tell each other everything, even if it will upset your partner. To foster transparency, you must give one another the gift of safety: no judgment or rejection. Otherwise, you won’t feel safe to be open, and secrets become a better alternative.

No threats: If you threaten to move out, divorce, or pack your partner’s bags, you will never achieve the sense of safety necessary for deep intimacy. Threatening the relationship in any way leads to distrust. Trust is necessary for long-term security and happiness.

Always have your partner’s back: Agree to protect one another (emotionally and physically) whether in public, with friends or family, or alone. Make it your job and your pleasure to take care of each other.

Lead with love: Don’t wait for your spouse to go first. Take the lead on initiating the changes you want to see in your relationship. And don’t use belittling, blaming, sarcasm, anger, or withholding to make a point. Do something every day to foster a loving, positive intimacy cycle (either in or out of bed) in your relationship. Keep in mind that the more you act in the ways that make your partner feel loved, the more love you’ll get back.  

It’s normal to hit a patch in your relationship where one of you doesn’t feel in love anymore or to get to a place where you worry that nothing will ever work to make you both feel happy again.

Don’t despair! Even if just one of you wants to learn how to save your marriage, you can revive hope and rekindle love. 

There are research studies within Family Systems Theory that show if one person in a family system changes their behavior, the whole system is forced to adjust. In other words, if only one spouse within a couple changes their actions, the entire relationship can improve.

If you don’t feel much hope in salvaging your relationship and being happily married again, borrow my hope for now.  

Making a marriage work isn’t easy. And the fear it’s falling apart can send some couples into a tailspin. It doesn’t have to be this way. Practice these skills. and your love life will get better.

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Lynda Spann, Ph.D., LMFT, is a relationship therapist and coach. For more information, visit her website.

This article was originally published at Lynda Spann, PhD. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Source: YourTango


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