Is it possible to save a marriage when only one of the spouses is willing to work at saving it? Yes, it is possible. Although the situation can be very frustrating to the one who is trying, there are things that can be done to save the marriage in this situation.
When it comes to saving a marriage, usually one of the partners is more interested in keeping it alive. He or she then motivates the other partner to join the efforts in protecting their relationship. Sometimes it happens that both partners share the equal determination to save their marriage when problems arise. They may decide to reach out to marriage counselor and learn how to improve their communication and find a constructive way to solve conflicts in their marriage.
If you are the one who is trying to save your marriage, despite the spouse who is no longer interested, you would use a few tips on how to deal with the whole situation. You need to learn how to fight for your marriage in a constructive and an effective way.
Take time to think: is my marriage crisis a temporary issue or it is the actual end of my relationship?
Try some of the strategies listed below. They might be a great asset in your fight to restore your marriage to what it was before.
1. Stay Focused on the Problem
Concentrate on what is ruining your marriage. It must be something big if it brought you and your partner to where you are now. Try to analyze the reasons that cause your partner wants your marriage to end. Talk to your spouse and ask him/her for clarification if you don’t comprehend their reasons for divorce. Try to make your partner open their mind and heart for the possibility of overcoming the challenges that your marriage encountered.
2. Be a Seeker of Everyday Magic
Bring the small changes in your everyday life. For instance, have a breakfast out together. Or surprise your partner on her/his lunchbreak and take her/him for lunch. Book a weekend getaway just for the two of you.
Furthermore, instead of watching TV in the evening, try talking to each other, or playing some fun game together. Show your partner that your life together can be fun again. These may be the small changes to your life, but it’s the little things that matter most, isn’t it?
3. Carry On with Your Fight
Being the only one who is trying to save a marriage can be highly stressful and frustrating experience. You might want to give up just as your partner did. You might get tired of trying and just want to let it go.
However, if you’ve gone this far to save your relationship, push it a step further. Your determination to save your marriage means that it is worth saving it. Especially if you have children. Or if you know that your partner still loves you, despite his/her hesitancy to save the marriage.
4. Start Working on Yourself
Ask your partner about five things he likes about you and five things he doesn’t like. Start from there and put effort to change those things. Let the change in your marriage start with you. Think further of where you need to change your behavior, reactions and attitudes. A positive change in yourself may trigger the similar one in your spouse as well.
In addition, witnessing that you are becoming a better person will most likely inspire your partner to put some effort in keeping your marriage alive too.
5. Show Your Partner that You Care
Be a good listener. Even if your partner repeats the same complaints over and over again. Help them feel heard. Show your partner that you care and that you are willing to change. Help them feel safe and loved. Don’t play a blame game. Try to communicate to your partner without accusing or blaming each other.
Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes and try to see the whole situation from their standpoint. This may help to better understand their reasons for not being willing to save the marriage and maybe make the shift in their attitude.
6. Set a Time Frame
If your partner made it clear that he or she is not willing to try saving your relationship, ask them for a certain amount of their time to do it on your own. Ask your spouse to patiently wait and see if there is any progress in your relationship made by that time.
Assure your partner that during this time you will put effort to get your marriage where it was when you first got married.
For example, if you were the one who was unfaithful, and your partner is asking for a divorce, ask him/her for a chance to try to save your marriage. Set a time frame of a few weeks or months and convince your spouse that you will do your best to be the person they will love to be married to.
If needed and if your partner agrees, you can extend this time frame. Seeing you trying so hard to fix things in your relationship will probably motivate your partner to give in and try to work on it too.
7. Recall Happy Times
Take back your partner to happy times from the beginning of your marriage. Or try to evoke the sweet memories from the time while you were dating. Bring back the good things that happened to you as a couple. Make a journal where you’ll list down the happy memories. Try revisiting them one by one together.
Furthermore, talk about the experiences in the past that made you stick together and become closer. Bringing in good memories may encourage your spouse to rethink their decision and find the reason to stay.
8. Give Your Partner some Space
If your spouse tells you that he or she needs to be alone, don’t make a drama of it. Respect your spouse’s decision to spend some time on her/his own. Try to understand even if they need to physically distant themselves from you for some time.
Don’t call them or text them constantly. Do not pop up in front of their office after the work hours. Try not to be pushy. Stay calm and patient and just let your partner be. Whether they decide to give it another shot or to proceed with the divorce, giving your partner some space will show them that you care for them and respect them.
Also read: 7 Mantras for a happy marriage
9. Enhance the Physical Affection
According to numerous studies, physical contact like hugging, touching or holding hands reduces stress hormones like cortisol. At the same time, physical closeness can release oxytocin, a hormone that causes a calming sensation. The same hormone also gets released during the affectionate touch and orgasm as well.
Try to approach your partner with these small physical affection gestures and see how it goes. You may be surprised with the response.
10. Reach Out to a Marriage Counselor
Although your spouse may not want to listen to you, they might be open for a third person’s opinion. Especially if that person is a professional marriage counselor or therapist. Find a counselor and explain what is going on in your marriage. If you and your partner are more comfortable with online counseling, you can choose that option.
Try to convince your partner to give marriage counseling a try. The two of you can then decide if you want to attend your counseling sessions together or you will opt for individual sessions with the couple’s counselor.
If your spouse is refusing counseling, ask your counselor for help in bringing your partner into counselling sessions, they can help you in this.
As you do all these things, try to involve your spouse as much as possible. Be true to yourself and start the change by changing your dysfunctional behaviors and attitudes. It is normal that you might get frustrated, hurt or rejected if you are the only one who is trying. Don’t play the blame-game. Seek a marriage counselor to help you improve your communication and find constructive ways to handle your marriage crisis.
However, it might still happen that your partner sticks to a decision to fill for divorce after everything you’ve tried. If none of the aforementioned strategies works out, at least you will know that you have tried everything to save your marriage.
If it does work, however, you will enjoy the quality of your newly renewed marriage and improved relationship with your partner. Remember, every crisis is an opportunity. So, take this crisis as an opportunity to grow as a couple and boost your relationship.