Relationships 101

How to save a marriage when only one is trying?

man hugs wife

I admire the older generations for their perseverance in repairing what is broken rather than throwing it away and buying a new one. The new generation is spoilt for choice, be it electronics or relationships. No one has the time or the patience to mend severed ties with near and dear ones. This attitude has led to doubling the divorce rate in India in the past few years. India has a relatively lower divorce rate as compared to Western countries, with 0.21% of divorces and 0.76% of divorce and separation cases. Nevertheless, this rate is rapidly increasing.

The turbulent times of marital discord

It takes two to tango; happy marriages are based on the sheer determination of both the spouses to make it work. However, with regard to Indian marriages, even a slightest ray of hope to save a relationship can do wonders.

  1. Improving a marriage: The dreaded ‘D’ word can make its entry into any home, through the void that has been left unattended in a relationship. A thorough diagnosis of the relationship issues becomes mandatory if you want to revive your dying bond. Once you know what the problem is, you can decide what is fixable and what is not. Change what you can and learn to accept the things you cannot change; this is the only way to improve the quality of you marriage
  2. When the husband wants out: The day the husband says he wants to get out of the relationship is the day when he is totally convinced that nothing about his marriage is salvageable. Unless he is a narcissist or an escapist, no self-respecting man will take such a bold decision without any plausible explanation
  3. Saving a marriage: The wife is engulfed in a plethora of emotions as soon as her husband announces his will to get out of wedlock. The onus of saving the relationship now falls on the wife’s shoulders entirely. This is when she needs to keeps her balance and focus on how to get her marriage back on track. If her husband can decide to leave her, she has to be truly determined to make him chance his mind
  4. Marriage falling apart: You will barely find a couple who have never had this feeling of their marriage falling apart. This feeling can make anyone unhappy. Research has proved that the couples who are happy in their marriages are happy individuals overall. Salvaging the pieces of the broken marriage thus becomes the only way out when everything is falling apart
  5. Spouse does not want to work on marriage: When your spouse becomes the hurricane in your relationship and wrecks all your efforts of trying to retrieve the lost bonding, it’s time to either up our game by fighting harder or give up and get scattered

Related reading: 12 signs your husband has emotionally checked out of marriage

How to save a marriage when only one is trying?

The 300% increase in the number of couples consulting a marriage counsellor clearly indicates that couples are not denying a second chance to their marriages completely. (Source) Unfortunately, in some cases the couple have contradictions regarding their marriage; one wants to leave and the other is not ready to give up. Fixing a broken marriage single handedly is a Herculean task, but not impossible. With perseverance and practical optimistic thinking, there is the possibility of saving a marriage, even if only one spouse is trying.

1. Negotiate time

Now that your partner has made up his/her mind to end the marriage, the first thing you have to do is to negotiate a time frame. Everyone deserves a second chance. You will have to convince your spouse to give your marriage a second chance. Assuring that things do not change for the good, then he or she is free to go their separate ways. Based on how much time you have, you will have to come up with a practical and effective plan to save your marriage.

A-couple-with-relationship-problems-at-coffee-shop

2. Change your perception

Quoting Maya Angelou, “If you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it, change your attitude”. Something has to change if your old ways have failed so miserably. There is definitely something that you are not doing right or by the right method. You will have to figure out that factor that you need to change before starting your journey towards your marriage revival. The factor could be anything from your usual routine to your attitude.

Try to focus on the things your spouse hates about you and try to either change it or makes it less annoying. If your partner sees this change in you, you have successfully completed a major task of making him aware that you are trying your best to save your marriage, without actually saying it.

3. Do not use pressure tactics

Trying to emotionally blackmail your partner by using your relatives, money, sex, guilt or your children is a big ‘No’. Using any of these pressure tactics can backfire with serious repercussions. You are shutting all doors that lead your spouse to you by playing such games. You cannot force a person to live with you; even if you manage to do so, it will be a dead relationship. Using hurtful words to express your own hurt will end up hurting your spouse, leaving him with no other option but to leave.

4. Do not give up

Fighting to save your marriage all by yourself can leave you exhausted and perturbed, but that’s the time you will have to motivate yourself. Remind yourself of all the things that made you fall in love with your partner; this will take away the focus from the pain he has caused you. Get your support system ready, be it your best friend or a relative. Pour your heart out to them whenever you need to and tell them to help you get back on track whenever you’re out of focus. This way you can move forward towards achieving your goal without carrying any emotional baggage.

5. Focus on real issues

Every marriage goes through its ups and downs, but if the marriage has reached a point where one is ready to leave forever, that means some issue has become irresolvable. Whatever the reasons of your discord, whether it is incompatibility, infidelity, a financial or social issue it has to be addressed immediately. First you have to comprehend the issue and then make your spouse understand that one issue is not worth ending your marriage for.

Related reading: 10 signs you need counselling to fix your marriage

Instead of focusing on who is to be blamed, you will have to come up with solutions of resolving it. This is the time when your patience level and your self-respect will be tested. Absolve whatever you can, as long as you feel it can save your marriage.

6. Seek professional help

This can be a little tricky if your partner totally refuses professional interference. In such cases you can put a proposition in front of your spouse that you will agree to all the advice provided by the counsellor first. This approach may work, firstly because your partner now feels that you are willing to accept your wrongdoing; at the same time it may be easier to confess certain things with a neutral person. The key here is being honest to yourself as well as your counsellor. Visiting a marriage counsellor individually and for joint sessions will buy you the time you need, as well as take you both towards the right track of saving your marriage.

couple with counsellor
Image source

7. Give and ask for space

Sometimes all you need is a break to gain a little perspective of what’s happening. When you are overwhelmed with life changing decisions, you may miss some important aspects that could entirely change everything. Give your spouse that space and time to contemplate his decisions. This time will highlight the issues that develop in the heat of the moment and the well thought over decisions. Once you find time to analyse the whole situation, both of you will be able to come up with informed decisions.

8. Face the truth

Finally, after all your efforts if your spouse is still not willing to be in the marriage, then it’s time you shift your focus from the pain that the separation will cause you to the next course of action. Be true to yourself; make a list of the possible outcomes of the separation. It is the end of the marriage, not the end of you. Keep your coping mechanisms ready, whether it’s a holiday or spending time with loved ones. Re-invent yourself, and for all you know, your spouse may come back to this new improved, you.

Marriages last because two people make a choice to fight for them and to work for them. You can do your part and wait for the result. If it works, great, but if not, then at least you know you tried.

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Published in Relationships 101

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