Are you 100 percent sure that you really want to save your relationship? If you are, that’s great, but here’s another question for you to consider, and I really want you to take a few moments to really think about it before you answer…
Take a moment to look at the current state of your relationship… Think about how it is right now and how it’s been. Look at your spouse. Providing you can get them to work with you and change with you… Is this really the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with?
This is a question you definitely want to answer “yes” to!
If you can’t answer “yes” you might as well stop reading now and look for a divorce lawyer instead…
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The tragedy with the high rate of breakups in our society is that so many of them could actually have been prevented if the people involved had been taught what they needed to do, to turn their relationships around. Now that you’ve reflected on your relationship and decided you’re willing to put in the energy, time and effort to turn it around, that’s great because it means that you don’t have to be a statistic either.
So, now that you’ve made a commitment to stick with your relationship, it’s time to start the work to turn it around!
A great first step is to make a pact with yourself that from today, for the next 6 months as far as possible you’re not even going to think about the idea of divorce or breaking up at all (regardless of what you see and experience in your relationship).
Whenever you find yourself angry (or worried) and thinking about these types of thoughts remind yourself of your commitment, and then take a breath and refocus your mind on the work required in that moment, gently allowing the “break up” thoughts to dissolve completely.
If, right now, you’re the one who is more interested in working on the relationship, that’s okay. And this will change if you follow the process that I’ll tell you about later on, but for the time being you need to accept that because you’re more motivated to change the relationship, you will have to begin by doing more of the work, just like the person who has the bigger aversion to untidiness usually does the most cleaning. The person who (initially) has a stronger desire to rebuild the relationship will typically have to do the most changing at first.
Here are a few steps to get you started:
- Consider what your relationship was like when you fell in love
What made you fall in love with your spouse originally? look into their eyes and see if the person you originally fell in love with is still there inside them somewhere. Spend time being with each other reflecting on what you loved about each other when you met or fell in love and try to see each other in that light again. What did you do that you both enjoyed? Why did you stop doing that?
- Talk to each other more and start to open the lines of communication and vulnerability
Give yourselves time to build your connection and get to know each other from scratch. Talk about what you both want from the relationship and ask if there are things that you both need that you’re not getting at the moment.
Be kind to each other and don’t judge the other’s expectations as invalid or wrong. Talk about the pain and hurt that are a natural part of any relationship, and share how it feels to be where you are now with each other.
- Get clear on what stopped working between you
Unless you know where the relationship went off the tracks, it’s very hard to turn things around. Really try to understand what stopped working, or what needs weren’t met that resulted in the relationship being where it is today.
Try to talk about it together. Naturally, if you’re the one who wants to work more, you may need to be a little resourceful to get your spouse to talk to you about this, but understand their resistance (after all you’ve both learned to shut down and stop really sharing yourselves with each other on some level). Be creative in how you encourage them to re-open the channels of communication with you.
These are a few good first steps that you can start on right now. You really need to remember though, that there really is no such thing as a perfect relationship. They only exist in movies and fairy tales, so be kind to each other and take it slowly.