Skip to main content

How We Saved Our Failing Marriage

Paul: We just celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary and we’ve never been happier. But it wasn’t always that way. Around year 7 of our marriage, we began to struggle. And we did what so many married couples do – ignored the warning signs telling ourselves things were not that bad. We swept issues between us under the rug and after another 5 years of sweeping there was no more room under the rug! We were just roommates co-existing in the same household each playing our respective roles.

Steph: Somehow, we had lost the intimacy between us and couldn’t see a way out of our deep despair and disillusionment. We still cared deeply for each other, but our situation seemed hopeless. We mutually decided at year 12 to separate. We found out later that less than 30% of couples who separate reconcile and stay married. [1]  Most get divorced.

We’d like to share with you how we managed to climb out of the immense hole we had dug for ourselves. It started with a commitment to give our best effort to make our marriage work for us and for our children.

Paul:  First, we found a marriage and family therapist (MFT). I will admit that I placed no hope or faith in this step. I decided to go for only one reason – so that I could look my parents and our children in the eye and tell them I “tried.” Fortunately, we found the right counselor. We had no idea back then that 60% of MFT’s are “marriage-neutral” with no vested interest in helping couples stay together. They simply want to help couples “move-on,” regardless of whether that’s toward reconciliation or divorce. 
Take-Away: When searching out marital counseling, find a therapist who is pro-marriage and committed to helping you make your marriage work. [2]

Helpful Reading
Steph: We also began reading books on marriage and communication. Some notable standouts are: Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus by John Gray  The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman; and The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. While we read other books together, these three made the most tangible difference for us. 
Take-Away: Find reading material that is time-tested and reliable.

Marriage Enrichment
Paul: After working hard on our relationship for several years, we were in a much better place and decided to  attend a Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend. This decision has had the single most positive and enduring impact on our marriage. This is not a weekend away at the mountains or the beach, but an organized program designed to help take couples deeper into intimacy. We learned key concepts such as: love is a decision that we must make over and over again and that healing and forgiveness are essential in any relationship. We learned a communication technique where we share our feelings daily to foster more intimate communication between us and so much more. Now, we make it a point to attend some kind of marriage enrichment event at least once per year. 
Take-Away: Find a Marriage Encounter weekend near you right now – while your marriage is still good! [3]

Steph: Our journey from disillusionment to joy is the beautiful “work” of marriage – work that is ongoing. If you have an experience that was helpful in saving your marriage, please share it with us in the comments below. 


Other Popular Posts

5 Things Men Want

1. RESPECT: (KEN) : When a man is asked, 'Would you rather be respected or loved?' most would choose being respected.  In his book Love and Respect , Dr. E. Eggerichs explains this tendency.   (JANINE) : For years, I didn't appreciate how important it was to Ken that I treat him with respect.  I also didn't understand how hurtful it was when I dis respected him.  When I show Ken respect ( by affirming his decisions,  avoiding sarcasm or by not using a demeaning tone) it translates (for him) into feeling 'loved.'  Another way to say this is: when a man is dis respected, he receives the message he is NOT loved. 2.  SEX:  

What Can’t You Afford to Edit out of Your Story?

Michelle: When I was a teenager, I remember coming home after breaking up with a guy and my dad asking me how it went. I gave the inevitable teenage response, “I don’t want to talk about it.” My dad responded, “You don’t have to. But you do need to remember that there are some things in life that you can’t afford to edit out of your story. Is this one of them?”

The 5 "P's" of Constructive Feedback

Photo Credit:  Ian Schneider (Reprise of post originally published on 09-16-2019) We once read an article on criticism in marriage.  The Author's bottom line was "don't do it."  Even asking: "Can I give you some feedback?" was cautioned against.  Sometimes suggestions given with the best intent with regard to work, chores, relationships with the kids can back fire.  Think back seat driving.  Experience has taught us 5 Key Points for when we just want to give each other a little suggestion.  These 5 simple points set the tone and enable us to let down our defenses and be supportive of each other when offering a little constructive feedback.   

Remember When...

It's easy to get lost in our day-to-day. Once we're out of the honeymoon phase of marriage and real life settles in, we develop routines and patterns of behavior. We become consumed by the here and now, and sometimes we can lose sight of the excitement and passion that brought us together and inspired us to get married in the first place.

The Healing Power of Touch

  Our last blog explored a super power we all have within us – the Super Power of Affirmation.    But did you know that you possess another Super Power?  It’s the Healing Power of Touch.  Holy Hole in a Doughnut, Batman!  Bet you didn’t know you had all that in you!

Easter Greetings!

 Dear Readers, As Spring unfolds and we continue to recover from this pandemic, there could not be a more wonderful time to nurture relationship growth. Wishing you a Happy Easter and a Springtime of Promise. From all of us at TheCouplesPost

When All Else Fails . . . Eat Ice Cream

For many of us the COVID honeymoon is long over.  Isolation, loss of routines, access to the gym, financial worries, working from home and changing school schedules has had us stretched too thin too long.  We'd rather eat an entire loaf of bread than bake one and if we hear how much someone enjoys the extra time with their kids we'll scream!  This is COVID Stress.  We've all experienced it.

10 Things Women Want

1)  Learn her “Love Language :"   And speak it often! (Learn more:  What Language Are You Speaking? ) Janine’s love language is “Acts of Service.” So, when I vacuum or do dishes or cook, it fills up her ‘love tank' - her mood brightens and there’s a whole different vibe between us.   I can tell I’ve found a direct path to her heart.  

8 Misunderstandings That Are Hurting Your Sex Life

Why are we writing about sex again?  Sex in marriage is more important than most people think.  It's mysterious. There are a lot of "layers" and complexities to this whole topic.... read on... 

Getting More of What You Want in Your Marriage

Recently, we attended a work-shop on how to incorporate more positivity into our lives. We were reminded how easily the challenges of life can dominate our thinking. This can be especially true where our couple relationship is concerned. Have you ever thought, “He never gives me any affection” or “She always nags me”?