Yes, You Can Save Your Marriage

“So, how DO you save your marriage?” asked the frustrated voice on the other end of the call.

by Lee Baucom, Ph.D.

“Eric” had been working to save his marriage for some time. And it seemed that no matter where he looked, all he saw was conflicting advice: “fix your communication,” “make her jealous,” “use reverse psychology,” and lots of other “gems” out there.

But it left Eric no closer to saving his marriage than when he started. “Why is it so hard?,” wondered Eric. I had to agree. Since I created SaveTheMarriage.com, see all the information out there. It is almost too much.

Pretty quickly, you get overwhelmed and feel like giving up.

But just for a moment, imagine that it is not a difficult process. In fact, imagine for a moment that the process is actually quite simple. Like many things, we tend to complicate things. Often, unnecessarily. In fact, almost always unnecessarily.

In my Save The Marriage System, I spend a good bit of time helping people to create a plan. Once they have a plan, I suggest they use the “3 C’s” to stay on-target.

The 3 C’s of Working Your Plan To Save Your Marriage

C-alm
Staying calm is critical. Fear is the enemy of effective efforts. In fact, when acting from a point of fear, the process is almost doomed from the start. But moving from a calm place changes everything.

But staying calm can be a challenge. So I suggest you carefully follow a plan of self-care. Eat well, exercise, and find a trusted person to share your pain. Resist responding from hurt, fear, and anger. (I cover this in the Save The Marriage System.)

C-onstant
Equally important is to remain constant in your efforts. This means that you are continuing your efforts on a regular basis. In other words, reaching out to connect on a frequent (but not too frequent) basis. Too frequent is a symptom of anxiety. It is usually caused when someone is reaching out to connect out of fear — desperate to hear back and get reassurance from a spouse that is unwilling to respond or reassure.

(I teach how to reach out without the feel of desperation in the Save The Marriage System.)

C-onsistent
Finally, as you are calmly and constantly reaching out to connect, you want to make sure you are consistent.

Remember all of that conflicting advice? Here is where it is truly dangerous. If you keep shifting your approach, you will only end up confusing your spouse, all while trying to save your marriage. Yep, in the effort to save your relationship, you create more confusion.

How? By shifting from one approach to another. One moment, you are working to connect. The next, you are working to make your spouse jealous. Or one moment, you are sending one way texts (a technique I teach in my Save Your Marriage System.) Then you shift to attempting to get a response. Or you write a “marriage path” letter, taking your share of the responsibility, and then start blaming your spouse (the letter is another part of the System.)

Those 3 C’s are about how you go about your plan — how to carry out your plan to save your marriage.

But what, exactly, are you doing? Well, that is what is much more simple than people make it out to be.

So here are the 3 steps.

3 C’s Of Saving Your Marriage

C-onnect
The simple truth is that marriages become stressed and troubled by a lack of connection. We humans are designed for connection. And when we do not get the connection we need, we feel like we are starving for attention.

And the longer the disconnection goes on, the more a relationship suffers. A feeling of distance becomes a feeling of disdain. All from disconnection.

But the path back is simply rebuilding the connection. In fact, the heart of reviving the relationship is just that: reconnection.

Problem is, you are likely out of practice, perhaps a bit angry, and feeling hurt, yourself. None of that leaves you wanting to reconnect. Yet this is the way out of the mess.

Connection revives the marriage. Continued disconnection starves and strangles the marriage.

It is about this point in my conversations when people say “what about me? Why doesn’t my spouse have to reconnect with me?”

The answer I give is far more pragmatic than fair: “You are the one that is with me, and who is working on saving the marriage. So for right now, focus on reconnecting. When you reconnect, your spouse will eventually follow.”

If you are working to save your marriage, at least for the time-being, you have to set aside your own wishes and hopes for connection coming your way. Focus on providing connection. Practically speaking, someone has to take action. Take that on as your task.

C-hange Yourself
Just like Eric, on the other end of the line, you are somebody I do not know. So whatever I say, please do not take it personally. Instead, it is based on nearly 1/4 of a century of helping couples. I know from experience what needs to happen, even if I don’t know you.

So, step 2 in saving your marriage is change yourself. Grow and develop into a higher caliber person. . . regardless of where you are now.

Let’s be honest: we all have places where we can improve and grow. We all have places where we are not maximizing our potential, where we are not “showing up.”

Something happens to all of us when we “settle down.” We stop growing and developing. And as we do this, we begin to lose ground. Eventually, if someone is not careful, the attractiveness that our spouse once saw, begins to wane. We slowly move toward a state of stagnation.

It is at about this time that people start screaming, “but why should I have to keep trying to attract my spouse? Why can’t my spouse just love me?” Again, a good philosophical question. But I am a practical man. Practically speaking, if you are trying to save your marriage, you want to become more and more attractive to your spouse — not less. Simple pragmatism.

Unfortunately, our philosophical side can kick and scream and demand that “it’s not fair.” But then, for a moment, notice that the philosophical side is really just that child’s voice crying out about unfairness. And as my parents used to tell me, “life’s not fair.”

So, back to the task. In the process to save your marriage, you will want to change yourself. Grow. Develop. Become more of what you know you need to become. In the end, you will be more satisfied with life. And the more satisfied you are, the better your chances of saving the marriage. You become, in the process, more attractive to your spouse and to yourself.

Step 2 in saving your marriage is Change Yourself.

C-reate A New Path
Marriages fail because couples disconnected. Marriages fail because individuals stop growing. And finally, marriages fail because the individuals that make up the couple never knew where they were headed.

So the final step is to create a new path. Imagine where your marriage could head, and what your marriage could be. Don’t just ponder it for a moment, but really consider it.

I deeply believe we do a great disservice to couples when they marry. We spend lots of money, time, effort, and energy into celebrating a short service — then we send the couple out into the world, congratulating them and wishing them the best. . . but without telling anyone of what they are trying to do.

At the point of marriage, two people are trying to form a team, a unit — a WE, as I describe it. But if a couple does not know this is the goal, how are they ever going to get there?

“You and Me” is the start of a relationship. But if a couple does not understand, and does not get to “WE,” then they will eventually drift into “You versus Me.”

Destruction of the relationship follows, for the simple reason that nobody knew better.

One of my central attempts in my material on how to save your marriage is how to build the relationship and how to become a WE. It is a roadmap to becoming a team

Save your marriage by following these 3 steps.

That’s it. That’s all you need to focus upon as you work to save your marriage. Follow those 3 steps, and you can save your marriage, even if you are the only one that wants to work on it!

Lee Baucom, Ph.D. is a best-selling author, therapist, coach and speaker, and has over a quarter of a century of experience helping couples and individuals learn to thrive in their relationships and their lives. He is the creator of the internet marriage program, Save The Marriage.

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