Don't let yourself feel stuck in an unhappy marriage. Showing an interest in fixing your marriage is a great first step, and it proves you're willing to do anything it takes to rebuild your relationship. The next step is to take action. Here are eight ways to repair your marriage when it's falling apart:
1. Share each other's joy
Your spouse should be the first person you want to share good news with. Take time every evening to share something you're happy about or looking forward to. Truly listen and share each other's joy. Show excitement for even the simplest things. Researchers found couples who did this together every day felt closer to one another.
Make a habit of spending even a few minutes each evening to talk with your spouse. It could end up saving your marriage.
One of the major differences between happy and unhappy marriages is whether someone attributes a problem as their spouse's flaw or a temporary situation. Those who view problems as a temporary issue rather than blaming their spouse are typically happier in their marriage.
Don't jump to harsh conclusions if your partner comes home late from work. Consider other options. Maybe a meeting ran late or maybe the traffic was backed up that day. You can avoid a potential argument by taking a moment to think things through rather than pointing fingers.
3. Eliminate the three A's that ruin marriages
Addictions, affairs and excessive anger are relationships deal-breakers, according to marriage expert Susan Heitler. Heitler suggests ending your marriage if your spouse has these three A's, but this piece of advice doesn't mean what it sounds like.
"That is, end the old marriage," she says. "Build a new one with the same partner. Build a marriage where there are zero affairs, addictions or excessive anger and instead, abounding love and trust."
Kissing or touching your partner when you're angry might make you grimace, but it will be so worth it. Being physically intimate increases the positive experiences between you two, and while it doesn't eliminate negative experiences, it gives your marriage something good to hold onto.
Psychologist and marriage expert John Gottman says the magic ratio is 5:1. In successful relationships, there are five times more positive experiences than negative ones. Heitler says if you want your marriage to thrive and not just survive, you should adjust that ratio to 100 million to one. For every bad experience your marriage faces, try to create at least five good experiences together.
5. Let your conflict lead to growth
Don't run away at the first sight of conflict. Let it be an opportunity to learn and grow, both for you and for your relationship.
"Problems don't necessarily mean that the marriage must end," says relationship therapist Jeannie Ingram. "Conflict means that new growth is trying to occur."
Think about what you can learn from your problems. When you're able to learn from past mistakes, it helps you avoid future potential conflict and will benefit your marriage.
6. Know the difference between quality and quantity
You might be spending a lot of time together, but are you spending quality time together? Quantity is simply an amount. Maybe you spend a lot of time together doing things like folding laundry, making dinner or shopping for groceries. But quality time is something more meaningful.
You can make even the mundane activities meaningful. Share your successes, fears and happy memories while you tackle a chore together. Give significance to your time together by using it as an opportunity to build your relationship.
Go back to the basics. Think about everyone involved (the two of you and possibly children), and list the reasons you want to make your marriage work.
"The strongest predictor of relationship success by far is the desire to make the relationship work, regardless of challenges," says relationship therapist Antonio Borrello.
If you are both fully willing to put in the time, effort and patience to fix your marriage, you can overcome your challenges.
8. Remember why you fell in love
Write down a few of your sweetheart's qualities that drew you to them when you first started dating. Sometimes remembering what brought you together all those years ago can bring you together once again.
Marriage is amazing, but it comes with hard work. Your relationship will have ups and downs, as all do, but the way you work together to overcome your challenges is the big difference between a marriage that fails and a marriage that succeeds.