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.
And remember that, if you have evolved over the years, your spouse has, too.
Listen with the intention to learn so that you can chart a new course together.
6. Change how you speak.
Unfortunately, many people don’t consider their personal accountability for how they speak. They “let ‘er rip” and don’t care that the person listening feels the sting of every accusatory, criticizing “you.” “You make me feel,” “you always,” “you never.”
Know the difference between thoughts and feelings. And speak accordingly. Own what comes out of your mind and off your tongue. “I feel sad when….” “I think you don’t care about my career. Is that true?”
By staying centered within yourself, you will spare your spouse the perception of being attacked. You will prevent the need for defensiveness and will foster clear and focused communication that actually gets somewhere.
7. Focus on changing yourself.
“You can’t change anyone else. You can change only yourself.” Sounds simple…until you stop and acknowledge that almost all arguments are about trying to change the other person.
Your goal should be to become the best version of yourself, regardless of what your spouse does.
8. Prioritize your spouse’s happiness over your own.
No, you don’t need to become a martyr or ignore your own happiness.
But if all you do is shift your thinking to “How can I make my beloved happy today?” you will change the course of your marriage.
You may have lost your sense of direction in your marriage. You may wonder how to fix an unhealthy marriage — or if you even can.
The realm of what is possible is grounded in the power of choice. (Click here for additional ways to choose love and help heal your marriage.) The choice to love will determine all the behaviors that follow.
And those new behaviors will lead you back to that loving feeling.
Looking for more ideas for what to do about your unhappy marriage? You’ll find what you’re looking for in Unhappy Marriage.
Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce and life coach. She helps her clients navigate the challenges of divorce – from the moment it enters their mind as a possible solution to the discontent they feel in their marriage (it’s not always the best answer), through the turmoil of getting divorced, and on through creating a fulfilling life post-divorce. You can learn more about Karen and her work on her website.