I sometimes hear from people who have a strong sense that their marriage is potentially in trouble. They can not help but notice that something has changed. Their spouse may be distant or not affectionate. It might seem as if there is nothing to really talk about anymore. There can be awkward silences or distant encounters. Many people mourn these losses because this is not what most of us envisioned on the day that we got married. So, many people want to try and fix the marriage before it's too late.

Sometimes, though, it becomes pretty clear that although you are willing to try most anything to save or to fix your marriage, your spouse isn't as enthusiastic. This leaves you wondering if it's possible to make any positive changes when you are the only one who is trying or if you are just wasting your time.

Someone might say, "Our marriage has been slowly deteriorating for the last two and a half years. My husband and I don't really fight, but we sort of act like strangers at this point. There's just a distance and a coldness. We hang out with our friends more than each other. We aren't really aware of what is happening in each other's lives anymore. It is like we are roommates. Since my husband is starting to spend less and less time at home, I fear that he's going to give me the 'I need space' speech or to ask for a separation. So I decided that I need to make some changes to try to fix things. I started asking friends about what they would do, plus I did a little research and talked to people whose opinions I respect. I found out that if I invested more time in my marriage, then this would be a good first step. I was advised to make a point of asking my husband about his daily experiences and feelings. I was advised to devote more time to my marriage. So I have been trying to do these things, but my husband doesn't respond very well. He will just sort of give me vague answers or look at me like I'm weird to want to interact with him. I finally admitted that I was just trying to make things better with our marriage because I feel that it's falling apart. His response to me was that people who have good marriages do not have to 'try.' So he does not seem at all interested in 'trying' when it comes to improving or ultimately saving our marriage. I guess I question if I'm wasting my time. I'm willing to try just about anything, but if my husband is not going to do anything, is it all for nothing? Can I still make it work?"

In The End, You Can Only Control Yourself.  But Making Positive Changes May Nudge Your Spouse To Follow: It's really hard to predict the future, but I can tell you my experience. My husband and I did separate because our marriage was also falling apart.  And it had gotten to the point where he was no longer happy. At first, he seemed completely unwilling to work with me. He just wanted space. He did not want to stretch or to make any changes no matter what I did or said to try to convince him otherwise. It eventually dawned on me that the only thing that I was going to be able to control was myself. Because we were separated, I did not have unlimited access to him. But I had unlimited access to myself. So that is where I placed most of my focus. I took a hard look at how I might have been contributing to the degradation of my marriage and I tried to address those issues. I wanted to be as healthy as I could possibly be if we ever reconciled. During the times when my husband and I did spend time together, I would just focus on making sure things went well and felt as comfortable as possible between us. I figured there would be plenty of time to work on the difficult things later. I realized that my husband's reluctance meant that the whole situation was fragile, so I really only asked anything of myself initially. (I eventually did get him back. You can read that entire story by clicking here.)

Be Willing To Wait It Out.  He Has To Repeatedly See Changes To Be Convinced It's Safe To Come Back Into The Water: I firmly believe that many wives bail out on a winning strategy too soon. Like the wife above, they can be doing everything right. But when their husband does not hop onboard immediately, they get frustrated and they wonder if they are just wasting their time or delaying the inevitable.  Sometimes, you just need to give the strategy more time.  Your husband may notice the changes you are making. He may even be a little intrigued.  But he's often skeptical. He's afraid to put faith in the plan until enough time has passed for him to see that the changes are genuine and are going to stick.

In my own case, eventually my husband noticed the changes that I had made, and this gradually inspired him to be more receptive and to work with me. So in my opinion, you CAN improve or save your marriage when it is only you "trying" at first. Because your repetitive changes over time can help your husband to see that the effort is worth it so that he eventually gets on board.  (Sometimes you will need to be patient until you are able to get passed his skepticism.)

So yes, you may be the only one "trying" at first, but if you begin to thread the needle, many husbands will eventually get with the program and your combined efforts can make a very big difference in the quality of your marriage. My husband wasn't interested at all initially, but since I was willing to take the initial efforts onto my own shoulders, we are still married today because he eventually came around, which is why I'm very grateful that I was patient and did not give up.  There's more on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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