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25 Secrets, Signs & Steps to Repair and Fix a Marriage that’s Falling Apart ASAP

Learning how to repair a marriage isn’t easy, but with commitment and the right strategies, it’s possible to repair and strengthen your bond.

how to fix a marriage and repair it

Let’s face it, no one gets married thinking they’ll need to Google ‘how to fix a marriage’ someday. But life is full of surprises, and not all of them are the kind you celebrate with champagne.

If your marriage feels a bit wobbly lately, you’re not alone. Many couples go through rough patches. It’s part of sharing your life with someone else.

But here’s the good news: rough patches don’t have to mean the end. With some effort, understanding, and maybe a bit of guidance, it’s possible to get things back on track.

So, let’s talk about how to breathe new life into your marriage, with some real talk and practical steps.

Ready? Let’s get started!

The End of a Fairy Tale

Fairy tales usually end with ‘And they lived happily ever after’, but they never really show us what ‘happily ever after’ looks like. [Read: 22 Marriage myths people blindly believe that ruin love forever]

In the real world, the story continues, and it’s not always a smooth ride. When it comes to fixing or repairing a marriage, understanding why discord starts is crucial.

Let’s bust a myth right off the bat: there’s no such thing as a perfect marriage. Every relationship has its ups and downs.

In the early days, it’s easy to overlook little annoyances because you’re both in the honeymoon phase. But as time goes on, the quirks you once found adorable might start to irk you. [Read: Happily ever after – The steps to find yours and keep it]

Psychologists suggest that this shift from idealization to reality is a normal part of relationship maturation. It’s when the rose-colored glasses come off, and you start seeing your partner for who they really are, flaws and all.

When the honeymoon phase ends, you might feel stressed, disappointed, or even disillusioned. This is especially true if you’ve been feeding on the idea that marriage is a never-ending romantic movie.

Suddenly, you’re faced with mundane realities like bills, chores, and maybe even parenting. These stresses can take a toll on your relationship if not managed well. [Read: Tired of your relationship? 30 burnout signs and quick fixes]

It’s crucial to recognize when things are off track. Denial can be a huge barrier in learning how to fix or repair a marriage.

Psychologist John Gottman talks about the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ in a relationship: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

If you’re experiencing these, it’s a sign to take action. Remember, acknowledging the problem is the first step to fixing it. [Read: Loveless relationship – 54 signs, causes, reasons, and steps to fix it ASAP]

Signs Your Marriage Needs Help

Before you can start fixing or repairing your marriage, you need to recognize the red flags. So, here are ten major signs that suggest it’s time to look for ways to mend the bonds.

1. Communication Breakdown

One of the most glaring signs is when you just can’t talk anymore. Whether it’s giving each other the silent treatment, engaging in endless arguments, or constantly misunderstanding each other, poor communication is a big red flag.

It’s not just about talking, but how you talk and listen to each other that matters in repairing a marriage. [Read: 31 Communication exercises and games for couples and secrets to feel closer]

2. Loss of Intimacy and Emotional Disconnect

When the emotional and physical intimacy starts to wane, it’s a sign that your marriage needs help. This doesn’t just mean a lackluster sex life, it’s also about feeling emotionally distant, like you’re living with a roommate rather than a romantic partner.

3. Trust Issues

Trust is the foundation of any relationship. If there’s been infidelity, secrecy, or lies, it shakes the very core of your marriage. Repairing this breach of trust is critical in fixing your marriage.

4. Persistent Negativity

If criticism, contempt, defensiveness, or stonewalling are constant elements in your interactions, it’s a sign of deeper problems. [Read: 45 Secrets to be more positive and fill your mind with positive emotions 24/7]

These negative communication patterns, identified by relationship experts like John Gottman, are toxic for any marriage.

5. Lack of Shared Goals or Values

When you’re not on the same page about major life decisions or values, it can create a significant rift. Whether it’s about finances, parenting, or personal goals, alignment is key in a healthy marriage.

6. Feeling Contempt for Each Other

Contempt, a mix of anger and disgust, is more toxic than simple frustration or negativity. [Read: Love-Hate relationship – what it is, the big signs, types, and how to overcome it]

It often manifests as sarcasm, cynicism, name-calling, eye-rolling, or sneering and is a major red flag in any marriage.

7. Avoidance of Each Other

If you or your partner start spending more time apart, choosing work, hobbies, or friends consistently over spending time together, it’s a sign that you’re avoiding dealing with your marital issues.

8. Lack of Respect

Mutual respect is crucial in a marriage. [Read: Disrespectful husband – 28 signs and ways to teach him how to treat you better]

If you feel disrespected or notice that you’re disrespecting your partner, it’s time to address this issue. Disrespect can erode the foundation of a relationship quickly.

9. Frequent Thoughts of Leaving

Regularly thinking about leaving or fantasizing about life without your spouse indicates deep unhappiness in your marriage. It’s a sign that you need to take serious steps to fix or repair the relationship.

10. No Conflict Resolution

Every couple has conflicts, but if you’re unable to resolve them and they keep resurfacing, it’s a sign of deeper problems. Learning how to manage conflicts healthily is key to repairing a marriage. [Read: How to resolve conflict – the 20 best ways to cut out the drama]

How to Fix a Marriage

While we’re not marriage counselors, we do know that fixing a marriage requires dedication and a willingness to adapt.

Here’s a rundown of the best pieces of advice to help guide you on this journey.

1. Commit to Change and Growth

Recognize that both you and your partner need to grow and adapt. This commitment is essential. It’s not about changing each other; it’s about evolving together. [Read: 28 Self-improvement secrets to improve yourself and transform into your best self]

Growth can be challenging, but it’s a critical part of repairing a marriage. Both partners must be willing to learn and change. Embrace this journey together.

2. Seek Professional Help

Consulting a marriage counselor can be a game-changer. It’s important to find someone skilled in couples therapy. They provide a neutral space to unpack issues.

Counselors can offer new communication strategies and problem-solving tools. Don’t be afraid to seek help; it’s a sign of strength, not weakness. [Read: Relationship therapy – 25 clues to know if it’ll help your romance]

3. Develop New Habits

Small changes can make a big difference. Start new traditions or rituals, like regular date nights or morning coffee together.

These habits can foster closeness and a sense of normalcy. It’s about creating shared experiences. Incorporating new, positive habits is key in repairing a marriage.

4. Rekindle Intimacy and Affection

Physical and emotional closeness is crucial. Focus on rebuilding intimacy. This might mean scheduling time for physical affection or simply expressing love and appreciation more frequently. [Read: Sexual intimacy – the meaning, 20 signs, you’re losing it and secrets to grow it]

Small gestures of affection can be very powerful. Remember, intimacy is about emotional closeness as much as physical connection.

5. Conflict Resolution Strategies

Master the art of healthy conflict resolution. Approach disagreements with a problem-solving mindset. Avoid blame and focus on finding solutions.

Learn to communicate effectively during conflicts. Remember, it’s not you against each other; it’s both of you against the problem. [Read: 19 Ways to be a much better listener in a relationship and read their mind]

6. Improve Communication

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any strong relationship. Practice expressing your thoughts and feelings openly.

Listen actively to your partner. Ensure your partner feels heard and understood. Avoid assumptions and clarify when in doubt. Remember, good communication involves both speaking and listening.

7. Spend Quality Time Together

Prioritize spending time together. Engage in activities that you both enjoy. [Read: 20 Naughty, sexy date night ideas to make love feel hot and steamy again]

This shared time should be free from everyday stresses. It’s about reconnecting and enjoying each other’s company. Quality time is essential in repairing and strengthening your relationship.

8. Set Boundaries

Establishing clear boundaries is vital. Discuss and respect each other’s needs for space and independence.

Boundaries help in maintaining a healthy relationship. They ensure that both partners feel respected and understood. Remember, good boundaries make good marriages. [Read: 23 Secrets to set persona boundaries and guide others to respect them]

9. Express Appreciation

Regularly show gratitude towards your partner. Acknowledge the little things they do.

Expressing appreciation fosters a positive environment. It helps shift focus from negative to positive aspects of your relationship. Gratitude can be a powerful tool in repairing a marriage.

10. Deal with Past Issues

Address unresolved issues from the past. Holding onto past grievances can hinder progress. [Read: 11 Honest secrets to let go of past, be happy, and look to the future]

Work towards forgiveness or finding a resolution. This process is crucial for moving forward. It’s about letting go of the past to build a better future.

11. Create Shared Goals

Working towards common goals can bring you closer. Whether it’s financial goals, family plans, or personal projects, shared objectives can strengthen your bond.

They give you something to work towards together. Shared goals can be a powerful way to reconnect. [Read: Couple goals – 58 fake and real ideas you MUST add to your relationship goals]

12. Learn and Grow Together

Engage in activities that encourage growth. This could be learning a new skill or hobby together. Shared learning experiences can strengthen your bond.

They bring a sense of adventure and fun to your relationship. Growing together is key in repairing a marriage.

13. Show Patience and Understanding

Patience is key in any relationship. Understand that progress takes time. Show compassion and patience towards each other. Be gentle with yourselves during this process. Remember, healing and growth are not linear.

14. Embrace Individual Interests

Supporting each other’s personal interests is important too. It encourages independence and personal growth. [Read: 15 Ways to give space in a relationship and feel closer than ever before]

Respecting each other’s hobbies and passions can lead to a more balanced and fulfilling relationship. Remember, individuality is a part of what brings you together.

15. Regularly Evaluate Your Relationship

Take time to reflect on your relationship. Discuss what is working and what needs improvement. Be open to adjusting your strategies. Regular check-ins can help keep your relationship on track. It’s about continual growth and adaptation.

When Repair Seems Beyond Reach

Ideally, every marriage hiccup could be fixed with time and effort. However, in some cases, despite the best efforts to repair a marriage, the gap may be too wide to bridge. [Read: 12 Stages of grief in divorce, ways to read them, and the right ways to cope]

It’s important to recognize this reality and consider other options, ensuring that any decision is made respectfully and thoughtfully.

In situations where repair seems beyond reach, it’s crucial to first acknowledge that not all marriages can be saved. This recognition isn’t about giving up, it’s about accepting the reality of your situation.

Sometimes, the healthiest option for both partners is to let go. Understanding this can be a pivotal moment in your life journey. [Read: The questions you need to ask before seeking a divorce]

If you find yourself in this scenario, exploring alternatives becomes necessary. This could mean considering a trial separation, which can sometimes provide the space needed to reevaluate your feelings and decisions.

In other cases, individual therapy can offer valuable insights and support, especially when dealing with the emotional fallout of a troubled marriage.

Therapy can be a safe space to explore your feelings and options, helping you make informed decisions about your future. [Read: The big signs you need sex therapy and how to face it]

Divorce, while often seen as a last resort, is another option that might be the healthiest choice in certain circumstances. If this path is chosen, the focus should be on ensuring a healthy and respectful process.

It’s crucial to handle this phase with as much care and mutual respect as possible, especially if there are children involved.

A constructive approach might include mediation or collaborative divorce, where the emphasis is on negotiation and cooperation, rather than conflict. [Read: The reasons why divorce can be such a damn good thing]

Throughout this process, remember that seeking professional guidance is not just beneficial but often necessary.

Legal and psychological support can help navigate the complexities of separation or divorce, ensuring that both partners’ rights and well-being are considered.

Concluding a marriage is never an easy decision, and it’s often accompanied by a range of emotions, from relief to profound sadness. [Read: Should we break up? 35 signs it’s over and past the point of no return]

However, it’s important to remember that sometimes, parting ways can lead to healthier, more fulfilling lives for both individuals.

In these moments, knowing you’ve explored all avenues to fix or repair the marriage can provide some peace, allowing you to move forward with clarity and confidence.

There’s No Magic Formula for Repairing a Marriage

Going through marital troubles is far from easy, but it’s heartening to know that repairing a marriage is indeed possible. [Read: 59 Signs it’s time to break up and give up instead of trying to fix a relationship]

With patience, understanding, and a willingness to work together, many couples find their way back to a happier, healthier relationship. Remember, it’s about taking one step at a time and being kind to each other and yourselves along the way.

In figuring out how to fix a marriage, it’s important to keep in mind that every relationship is unique. What works for one couple might not work for another, and that’s okay.

The key is to stay open to trying different approaches, whether it’s improving communication, seeking professional help, or simply spending more quality time together.

[Read: 42 Secrets to communicate better in a relationship and ways to fix a lack of it]

While there’s no magic formula for how to repair a marriage, the combination of effort, love, and commitment can make a significant difference. So, take heart.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...