Want to Save Your Marriage? Don’t Separate.

April 1, 2011 by

To save your marriage, it’s not uncommon for couples to want to separate as a way to calm things down and relieve tension. While having time away from one another might bring momentary peace, trying to save your relationship this way is dangerous. The temporary relief you feel can distract you from working on marriage issues, and it might start feeling like it’s easier to avoid conflicts than it is to learn how to work through them in a healthy way. Staying together and fighting to save your relationship is almost always better than fighting against each other or retreating.

Save Your Marriage by Sticking With It

As a marriage therapist in Portland, Oregon, I’ve seen how the peace couples seek in separating can become so important that you stop trying to solve the conflicts to save your marriage. You begin to think that you can just wait around and all of the problems and negative feelings in the marriage will dissipate with time. But just because things are less volatile does not mean you’ve solved any of the problems that made you separate in the first place. That change will only happen when both spouses work to change their bad behaviors.

One key factor to save your marriage is thinking positively about each other. In my work as a therapist in Portland, Oregon, I often recommend that couples stop focusing solely on the problems in the marriage and devote their energy to the positives. Return to the time when you were first dating and do what made you fall in love in the first place. Watch a movie, take walks, go on a short picnic – remember your friendship. These may seem insignificant, but a lack of moments like these that allow you to connect and want to spend time together can tear a marriage apart just as much as large problems and stresses. Eventually, this “focusing on the positive” can be used when dealing with marriage problems as well, causing each spouse to make better behavior choices during times of stress. This will bring about constructive communication and healing in order to save your marriage.