Is it possible to fix an unhealthy marriage and get that loving feeling back?
Yes, it is possible.
Considering how important relationships are, it’s amazing, really, how often people expect them to simply take care of themselves. Even more so when a relationship has gone the next step to marriage. It seems too many couples forget to focus on the constancy of effort required to make a marriage thrive. They do the upfront work of love to get to marriage. But eventually, they find themselves wondering how to fix an unhealthy marriage.
Once a marriage has eroded to the point of being unhealthy, the idea of falling back in love may seem unattainable. Figuring out how to fix an unhealthy marriage — assuming it’s fixable — is one thing. Getting back into the groove of “that loving feeling” may just be too much to ask.
Or is it?
Consider that 42-45% of first marriages end in divorce, and that percentage increases with each subsequent marriage.
What is it about walking down the aisle that makes those early-love dreams so vulnerable to destruction? Do people not know how to pick the right partners? Do they not know how to be the right partners? Do they take each other and their marriages for granted?
Perhaps they think the work of love will be easy once they have fallen in love because falling is so effortless.
If you’re wondering how to fix an unhealthy marriage, here are some of the most important keys to repairing it.
And the built-in surprise? You won’t just restore the health of your marriage. You’ll also get that loving feeling back.
1. Choose to love, regardless of how you feel.
When you and your spouse were dating, you were probably more aware of how you felt than how you chose. Limerence is so riddled with infatuation hormones that you feel loving and therefore naturally want to act in loving ways.
But little by little the fairy dust wears off, and the choice becomes the determinant of marital success. True love is anchored in loving choices, not necessarily loving feelings. And more often than not, feelings will follow the action.
2. Remember what made you fall in love.
If you are able to look back and smile to remember falling in love with your spouse, your marriage has great hope.
Take a detailed trip down memory lane. Ignore what has happened in your lives since that time and focus on what forged your initial attraction and sustained your connection.
Watch out this interesting video to know how to love and be loved:
3. Stop the negativity.
You can’t get to a better place when your road map is full of anger, sarcasm, criticism, complaining, and other forms of negativity.
Choose to stop and turn around. Even if you don’t know how to fix an unhealthy marriage, at least stop doing what guarantees its failure.
4. Start dating again.
Your spouse, that is.
Too often “life” sneaks in and sucks the energy out of what holds a couple together. “If I start working evenings, we can save toward a bigger house in a few years.” “The kids need…my parents need…my boss expects….” And before you know it, that date night that was once the highlight of your week is a birthday dinner at best.
Now that you have made the choice to love and have reflected on what made you fall in love, it’s time to date. Start over. Recreate your romance. Give those qualities you fell in love with the time and place to express themselves again.
5. Change how you listen.
There was a time when you actually cared about what your partner said. You listened to learn. You weren’t afraid of your partner’s opinions or reactions and weren’t bored by his/her stories.
Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. Trust that s/he still has thoughts and ideas worth hearing. Show interest in the minutiae of one another’s day. Seek to learn the nuances of the person you married if you want to fix an unhealthy marriage.