Somewhere along its path, your marriage hit the skids, and may have been additionally rocked by an affair. If your marriage is in crisis, you know how your once-happy “union” can begin to feel like unpaid, overtime work.

There isn’t a way to not do the work when it comes to saving your marriage. But take heart: it doesn’t have to be all drudgery.

In this post, I’ll help you evaluate whether you’re taking advantage of one tactic for saving—and building—your marriage. Also, a plan to make sure you incorporate one crucial piece.

Critical Elements Involved in Marriage Salvage

When couples talk of saving their marriage, both spouses may have ideas as to what it will mean:

No one kids themselves that saving a marriage in crisis is going to be easy. Who wouldn’t have some sense of dread, though, when faced with an unappetizing menu such at that to look forward to?

Don’t sell yourself—or your marriage—short. Yes, the difficult work of reconciliation and repairing the damage caused by an affair must go on. Just remember another critical element that goes into building your marriage: Fun.

The Survival of Your Relationship Demands It

You may be thinking: Fun? Did I just read that right?

Fun has probably become a distant memory in light of recent events in your marriage. Trying to save a sinking ship doesn’t seem to go with making time to strike up the band.

But in order to move forward as a couple, you and your spouse need to rebuild your bond. By focusing on building good memories once again, the bad memories and pain may begin to lose their power and hold over your relationship.

What you need is to reignite the spark that once brought you and your spouse together. In order for this to occur, you need to work together to prepare fertile ground for this to take place.

And where have couples always created and expanded their mutual spark? By indulging in dates with one another—time set aside to just “be” as a couple, relax and have a good time. Here are some steps to help you prepare to reignite:

Step 1: Create a Date List

For weeks, months—and maybe longer—you and your spouse have been cataloguing and reviewing the hurts and slights in your relationship. And if there’s been an affair, the misery wrought is never far from your consciousness.

Take a step in a positive idea: sit down with your spouse and brainstorm date ideas. Or, agree that you will each brainstorm 5 ideas, and then combine the lists.

Step 2: Choose and Plan a Date Idea

From the list you and your spouse have created, select one date idea—and calendar it immediately, in ink. In order to rebuild your marriage, you need actions that will propel the relationship forward.

This doesn’t mean all of the hurt and anger disappears. What it shows is a commitment on the part of both spouses to take the necessary steps to build positive memories.

Step 3: Put Aside Conflict for the Date

Your “first date” in your quest to save and build your marriage may be a tense time. It won’t be the jitters you had on the original first date you and your spouse had when you first got together. Below the surface of this date may be jitters about how to behave, what to say, what to discuss.

Agree that for this date, you will both commit to relax, and not bring up any conflicts or points of contention during this time you’ve set aside. You will both need to be mindful of your hot-button issues—and steer clear.

I would like to hear from you about what you have done for fun in building and saving your marriage …

Have you developed date plans together, and then followed through on actually going on the dates?

How did you feel on your “first” date?

Did you and your spouse set ground rules in what you would discuss/not discuss on the date?

Please share your thoughts and experiences on this topic by leaving a comment below.

Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,

Stephanie Anderson


Marriage Sherpa

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