Can I Save My Marriage?
Have You Ever Asked, Can I Save My Marriage?
The first thing you need to do is still honestly evaluate your marriage. Do you truly believe that there’s something still worth saving? If your answer is no, you need to move on.
If you still have feelings for your spouse and there continues to be love and goodness between you both, then you need to take a long hard look at what your role has been in the marital breakdown.
I’m not talking about assigning blame; this is about learning from your mistakes and committing to changing the destructive behavior that affected your marriage. These behaviors are what put you and your spouse in this situation to begin with. You’re on the road to saving your marriage when you can honestly commit to ending bad behavior.
After that, you must bear in mind that spouses can’t force each other to love, respect or show willingness to fix a broken relationship. Either they will agree to mend the split in the relationship or they won’t. So first of all, ask your spouse where he or she stands. If they respond that there’s nothing to salvage and they don’t even want to try, you will have only one choice: end the relationship.
On the other hand, if after an open, honest conversation you both feel there is something remaining in the relationship that can and should be saved, you have some options for what to do next.
At this point, marriage counseling would be a wise choice. An objective third party can work with both of you to alter your bad habits and develop good communication skills. Its very difficult, if not impossible, for a couple to do that on their own because when one spouse points out the behaviors they dislike, the other spouse will feel criticized, and vice versa. Then the whole effort can come to a standstill.
I should caution you on one thing: marriage counselors are not all created equal. Naturally, some are more experienced and effective than others. It can be a hassle to find a counselor who suits your needs, but it is important that you and your spouse are both comfortable with your choice. And if you don’t like the counselor you have, get another one.
If you’re looking for a pastoral counselor, you should be especially careful. These counselors have good intentions but some of them will try to keep a marriage together no matter what, and of course, some marriages should not be saved. In some situations, the spouses have simply grown apart, or maybe they weren’t ever compatible to begin with and they’re just continuing to cause each other — and themselves — pain. Some marriages should end when it becomes clear they have deep-rooted problems that can’t be fixed.
So if the question “Can I save my marriage?” is something you have asked, I would answer: maybe. But you can’t save it alone. You stand a chance of success if your spouse is willing to meet you halfway and make some personal changes. But if your partner blames you for everything, won’t admit any responsibility for the troubles, and isn’t willing to change, most likely your marriage is already over. And then it’s time to move on with your life.