During the unofficial month of love (also known as February), Weekend Express is taking a closer look at relationships and romance.
Let's get real: once the "honeymoon phase" is over, marriage isn’t all rainbows and moonbeams. So what's the trick to successfully staying in love until the end of time? Tiffanie Davis Henry says the key is to fight through the tough times. Henry says most marriages can be saved if both people are willing to do what it takes to get a relationship back on track.
The relationship expert shared her 10 steps to saving your "doomed" marriage:
- Assess the situation - Make sure you take the time to figure out how bad things really are. You must be honest about what your partner AND you did to get there.
- The State of the Union - Sit down and really hash out where things are and make concrete plans to fix it. Develop a plan to get yourselves back on track.
- Nix the peanut gallery - Outside forces will complicate things. Try not to involve friends/family into your mess. Too many cooks in the kitchen can make things worse.
- Empathy - Try to put yourself in your partner's shoes and understand where they're coming from. Don't blow off their concerns, really listen and learn how and why they feel the way that they do.
- Therapy - Often when you're in it, it's difficult to see the forest through the trees. Find a therapist (that you've mutually agreed on) to help you sort through your troubled marriage and get you on the right track. The best outcomes for therapy come when individuals are open, honest and ready to do the work needed to make sustainable changes.
- Fight fair - Nothing takes an argument to another level like name calling, low blows, and back stabbing. As angry as you are, remember the end goal: trying to make things work.
- Not in front of the kids - Take a moment to take control of the situation (and yourself) and keep heated arguments away from the kids. It's not fair to them and certainly not their responsibility.
- Listen more than you talk - Even though you think you know what your spouse will say, it will do you much more harm than go to listen to what they have to say. Active listening (making eye contact, acknowledging that you understand what they've said, affirming them, etc.) is a great way to make your partner feel heard and will actually help you respond appropriately to them in the future.
- Remember why you feel in love - There is a reason why you fell in love and got married. Try your best to recreate some of those moments. It'll help you recapture the love that's been lost and get you refocused on what's important.
- Try - Step outside of your comfort zone, let your guard down a little, rewrite and renew your vows, join a support group, make a commitment to do or stop doing whatever's getting under your spouse's skin. You haven't worked on your marriage until you really try to do something differently.