It’s the classic relationship stalemate: “I’m not the problem – my spouse is!” And both partners are saying it.

So how can things in your marriage ever change when both of you are pointing at the other?

Keep reading for 3 tips to finally help you resolve the issues in your marriage that prevent you from having the relationship of your dreams…

Marriage Problems: Who is at Fault?

When it comes to marriage problems, it’s a rare spouse that says, “It’s me… I’m the problem here.”

And yet, someone has to be the problem, right? A marriage is, after all, a relationship between two people, so a marriage problem means there is an issue between those two people. But most people think it has to be their spouse – it can’t possibly be anything they are doing wrong. What could they possibly need to change about themselves, since they’re not the problem?

The problem here is, this line of thinking shuts down the probability of solving marriage problems. If you both point your finger at the other and say “it’s you,” then you don’t have to look at yourself or worry about mustering the energy to make any changes.

Let’s face it: a lot of people just aren’t comfortable with change. Sure, they may like the idea of change, especially if it means an improvement in their current situation, whether its financial or the chance for a better relationship. But the fear is that change will make an unrecognizable landscape or even more scary – make things worse than they are now.


The Key Ingredient to Marriage Repair

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People expend a lot of energy in not rocking the boat. If your marriage is having problems, whether it’s ongoing conflict about several key issues, no effort made for having fun – or even the after-effects of an affair, expecting things to get better without something changing is like wishing for a magic wand to be waved.

Things in your marriage can’t improve without something changing, and that something needs to come from someone.

Read next what needs to be done.

If You Want to See a Change in Your Marriage…

In a marriage there are two sides, with both you and your spouse having your own unique needs, viewpoints and ways of doing things. These can sometimes clash. This doesn’t make either one of you “right” or “wrong,” it simply underlines the fact that you are unique individuals that have differences of opinion, etc.

The thought that your spouse is wrong can take hold, though, causing you to lose perspective. This makes marriage-problem resolution almost impossible, because if both partners become entrenched in thinking the other one is wrong, you have reached that stalemate we discussed at the beginning: “it’s not me – it’s my spouse who’s the problem!”

Here are 3 tips to how you can finally resolve the problems in your marriage:

Tip 1: Practice non-judgment

Okay, easier said than done, but try it: the next time you and your spouse aren’t seeing eye to eye, try to look at the problem from their perspective, rather than jumping to the conclusion that he or she is wrong.

You might be surprised at the perspective this actually gives you into your spouse’s heart and mind. Through understanding, you are closer to reaching a solution than if you wall yourself off behind a “you’re wrong” blanket statement.

Tip 2: Spouse, know thyself

No one wants to admit they may have a few things about themselves that needs a tweak or two. But instead of focusing on what your spouse needs to change, try turning things around to see what you can change. Look at change as being an opportunity for a better life with your spouse, and find some small thing you could change that will improve your relationship.

Maybe it’s conceding the point in an argument once in a while, or doing chores sooner rather than later because you know your spouse is a neat-freak.

Tip 3: Accept that which you cannot change

Some things you just cannot change: time, the aging process… another person. Try as you might, it’s very difficult for you to change another human being. Change comes from within each of us, not imposed from the outside.

But here’s an amazing thing: when you make changes, you can prompt changes in others. Simply by changing a behavior or a mindset you have, your spouse will likely change in response to your change.

For example, maybe each time you’re trying to decide on where to go for dinner, you knock down every one of your spouse’s choices. What if the next time, when you tell your spouse to make the choice – you really mean it, and accept their first suggestion?

It’s a small change, but your act of graciousness will no doubt be well received by your spouse, and in response, he or she may want to find some way to accommodate you.

My best to you as you improve your marriage by working on the only change you can control: that which comes from within you.

Have you and your spouse reached a stalemate as to who’s “at fault” in the marriage?

Have you tried to change your spouse? Were you successful?

Do you think making changes in yourself could improve your marriage?

Please share your ideas and personal experiences on this topic with other members of the community.

Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,

Stephanie Anderson


Marriage Sherpa

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