For a husband or wife who deeply cares about their marriage finds that the relationship with their spouse is slipping away, nothing can be more heart-wrenching than feeling as if your spouse doesn’t share your commitment in making the necessary changes to saving your marriage.

Whether it’s depression, confusion, disinterest—or some combination of the three—your spouse may not have reached the point where they’re capable of putting in the effort to salvage your relationship.

In this post, I’ll offer you steps for changing and saving your marriage—on your own.

When One Spouse Loses Hope in Saving Your Marriage

A married couple’s relationship can be torn apart by a major betrayal, such as an affair. Or, for some couples, their connection and ability to communicate with each other simply withers and dies from neglect. Either way, this leads to a marriage in crisis.

If you are in the position of working on saving your marriage but find yourself alone in that desire, don’t feel that you’re the only spouse to experience this. There are many spouses who find themselves wrestling with this same dilemma.

Saving your marriage when it’s in crisis isn’t easy—especially if one partner isn’t committed to making changes. And there isn’t a way you can force your spouse to want to cooperate and work with you, nor can you control your spouse’s actions—or lack of action. In fact, forcing the issue may only serve to push your husband or wife further away.

A spouse who is reluctant to work on the marriage may be in a place where he or she has lost hope that the relationship can be salvaged. Your spouse may feel the marriage is too far gone for any efforts to actually result in a positive outcome.

The only thing that is within your power is your commitment to the relationship, and the actions you take.

Saving Your Marriage: Leading by Example

If you find yourself alone in working to save your marriage, there are steps you can take to move forward on your own.

Step 1: Deepen Your Own Commitment

Regardless of the effort your husband or wife is or is not making in working to save your marriage, you can strengthen your own efforts in committing to salvaging the relationship.

You may have already been pulling double-duty in terms of giving your marriage everything you’ve got. Now, if you want to save your marriage, you may need to draw on your inner reserves of strength and give a little bit more.

No one can decide for you what your relationship is worth, and what measures you’ll go to in order to save it. But if you feel strongly about saving your relationship, the resolve in deciding that you’re committed to do so will help you feel empowered.

Step 2: Be A Best Friend

A lot of couples find that as their relationship has gone on in time, their roles have become more adversarial than supportive. If you have a best friend outside of the marriage, think of times when that friend has been down. What type of support have you offered them?

It can be easy to forget that your husband or wife may need a friend—in you. Examine your relationship and see if both of you have forgotten how to be a friend to one another.

Again, you can only control your actions, but this is a way to lead by example. Your actions, such as making positive changes in how you talk to and behave with your spouse, may be the catalyst needed to get your husband or wife to want to make changes, as well. Taking a more friendly approach can create a “safe” environment, one where your husband or wife may begin to trust that things really can improve.

Step 3: Work on Yourself

You may wonder how you can give your “all” to the relationship and still have time for you. Part of giving in a relationship is being strong within yourself. You need to nurture yourself as much as your relationship, because a healthy relationship requires healthy partners.

Many couples become adversarial because one or both spouses can become resentful, feeling they’ve given up everything for the relationship and there has been nothing left to give to their self. It’s critical to carve time for yourself, examining your thoughts and emotions and working through your own internal struggles, as well as nurturing your own hopes and dreams.

I would like to hear from you about saving your marriage, and whether you have found yourself doing it alone …

What has been your spouse’s reaction to making changes in your marriage?

If you’ve found yourself alone in salvaging your marriage, what actions have you taken? Did committing to changes make you feel stronger?

Have the changes you made influenced any change in your spouse’s efforts?

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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