How to Save Your Marriage: 6 Therapist-Approved Tips

Published on: 30 Sep 2022
Clinically Reviewed by Elizabeth Keohan, LCSW-C
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A happy marriage requires commitment and dedication from both partners. It can be emotionally taxing to balance careers, raise children, manage financial obligations, and deal with extended family and other relationships. When marriage problems come up, it’s important to address them promptly and productively if you want to stay with your partner in a healthy relationship.

Winning relationships require work, so you’ll need to be proactive and invest time. From getting back the romance to infusing more day-to-day conversation, here are six therapist-approved tips for improving your partnership for the long haul. If you’re looking for advice on how to save your marriage, read on. 

How Do You Know If Your Marriage is Worth Saving?

A troubled marriage doesn’t always mean a failing marriage. Even the best marriages will encounter marriage trouble at some point. In many cases, things can be resolved as long as both partners are willing.

That said, some major deal breakers push many marriages past the point of reconciliation. For example, infidelity, abuse, neglect, and domination are all issues that may not have any solutions. Let’s review each one closely.

Infidelity

Few things can make somebody feel as disrespected and unloved as infidelity. Affairs aren’t all that rare in marriages. Two decades of research estimates that as many as 10 – 15% of women and 20 – 25% of men cheat. 

Many couples do end up overcoming infidelity. However, the effects of being cheated on can linger and fester, sometimes for decades, if not addressed properly with counseling. In some cases, infidelity is just too much to recover from, and the result is divorce.

Abuse

All couples experience the occasional argument or disagreement. That’s normal for any two people who spend enough time together. However, when physical or emotional violence enters the picture, everything changes. There is never a justifiable or reasonable excuse for violence in a relationship.

***If you or someone you love is in an abusive relationship, help is out there. Call or text the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support. They’re available 24/7 and can be reached at 800-799-7233 or by texting START to 88788.

Neglect

Extended neglect can be just as devastating as physical abuse. Neglect can be abuse. If your partner never shows you any attention, even by having a casual conversation with you periodically, you may need to reevaluate your union as a married couple to see if it’s still healthy for you to be a part of.

Control

We all need to be able to express ourselves, set personal goals, and feel an individual sense of accomplishment in life. If one partner in a marriage is always telling the other what they can or cannot do, what to spend money on, or which goals to pursue in life, it needs to end or the marriage might suffer.

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6 Tips to Help Save Your Marriage

If you’re committed to saving your marriage and sure that you’re not dealing with any deal breakers, dedicate some time to each of the following therapist-approved tips. Healthy unions between spouses require routine effort and dedication from both partners. Keep in mind that before you put in the work, it’s virtually impossible to improve your relationship without your spouse’s active participation.

What does it take to save a marriage? The following should be present:

  • Both partners recognize there are problems
  • Both partners understand that they play a role in the problems
  • Both partners maintain a certain level of respect for each other and keep the marriage out of an abusive category
  • There are more good times than bad.
  • Both partners are willing to make the effort to save it

Looking for specific strategies that can be effective in getting your marriage back on track? Check out the following six tips that you can use right now to try and save your marriage. 

1. Work on intimacy

Sure, we all get busy in life. It’s easy to fall into routines and become so preoccupied that we forget to be attentive to our partner’s needs. However, an intimate connection between married partners is essential for maintaining your marriage.

Give some thought to what you can do to make your sexual life with your spouse more interesting and fun. A healthy sex life is a key part of a strong married life, and successful couples put forth intentional effort into making their sex lives good.

“Eliminate distractions to protect the partnership.”

Talkspace therapist Meaghan Rice, PsyD, LPC

2. Talk to each other regularly

Knowing how to save your marriage largely involves working on communication. It’s one of the main components of maintaining the type of deep connections that let marriages last forever. 

Wondering how to communicate in a relationship effectively? Talk with your spouse openly about your interests, dreams, goals, feelings…even about what frustrates you. Don’t forget that half of communication is listening. Allow and encourage your spouse to share everything they hesitate to tell anyone else. For more tips, check out these communication exercises for couples.

“Practice the art of asking more questions.”

Talkspace therapist Meaghan Rice, PsyD, LPC

3. Enjoy spending time together

One really important, simple way to save your marriage and connect with your spouse is by being cognizant about spending quality time together. Don’t let yourself get so caught up in the business of life that you forget to just be together. 

“Start carving out space for date nights once weekly.”

Talkspace therapist Meaghan Rice, PsyD, LPC

Remember that you got married to share your lives and achieve your dreams together. Even if your time is limited, making date night a priority can help. It can just be watching a movie and ordering a pizza at home — it can do wonders for your marriage.  

4. Practice forgiveness

Forgiveness is one of the answers to how to fix a broken relationship. Holding grudges will only damage a relationship. If you feel contempt towards your partner regularly, and you can’t find any resolution, it can cause serious long-term challenges for your marriage. 

There’s power in forgiving, especially when you can do it quickly. Remember that forgiveness is a gift to the person you forgive, and to yourself. Don’t hold grudges that will only eat up your emotional and mental space. The truth is, holding a grudge can have a negative impact on more than just your marriage. A recent large study shows that holding onto anger and stress is linked to higher blood pressure and heart rate reactions.  

5. Don’t be controlling

Partners in healthy marriages mutually respect each other and don’t constantly demand that they get their own way. Any successful marriage is built on the premise of give and take. Allow your partner to have the space they need to be the person they’re meant to be. 

6. Consider talk therapy

If you feel that you’ve put in a lot of effort, but are still falling short and you’re beginning to worry about the possibility of divorce, it may be time to consider online couples counseling

An experienced couples therapist can offer various exercises for you and your spouse to explore. Sometimes, we can all benefit from a fresh perspective and professional advice, especially when it comes to knowing how to save a marriage.

Save & Strengthen Your Marriage with Professional Help

Still wondering, how to save my marriage? It’s OK. All marriages face difficult times. Navigating problems that arise in your marriage can be challenging, but perseverance is key to keeping your marriage strong. And no matter how long you’ve had problems, it’s never too late to seek marriage counseling or couples counseling.

If you and your partner need help saving your troubled marriage, working online with a licensed marriage therapist at Talkspace can be the saving grace you’ve been seeking. Our online couples counseling is straightforward, affordable, and best of all, we can help you restore your relationship.

Sources:

1. Miller S. Political Digs Aside, How Common Is Infidelity, Really?. livescience.com. https://www.livescience.com/56407-how-many-people-cheat.html. Published 2016. Accessed July 18, 2022.

2. Gordon A, Mendes W. A large-scale study of stress, emotions, and blood pressure in daily life using a digital platform. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2021;118(31). doi:10.1073/pnas.2105573118. https://psychcentral.com/health/tips-to-stop-holding-a-grudge#is-it-harmful. Accessed July 18, 2022.

Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.

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