I'm all about preventing divorce and stale marriages through positive means, but I have to tell you, I cringe when I hear the phrase "repairing a marriage."  When you vocalize that you want to "repair your marriage," it's as if you view your marriage as a rusty, broken-down car that's been neglected in an overgrown yard.  It's just not a good visual or even a positive psychological prompt.  The mental image one gets here is the both of you punching in the time clock and readying yourselves for the difficult job ahead.  Don't get me wrong, fixing your marriage will take work.  But, both of you see as it drudgery or a job for which you're not getting paid, this may affect your attitude and your expectations going into the process, which is the last thing you need.

I believe that it's better to come up with an alternative phrase, even if you're the only one thinking it.  Because it's extremely important that you both get excited about and committed to the road ahead. I'll discuss this more in the following article.

Sure, You Want To Repair Your Marriage But Present The Process As Something More Appealing:  So, I've made it very clear that the mental image of "repairing a marriage" is already causing you an uphill climb.  You likely know your spouse very well and you know the terminology that's going to motivate him or her.  Think about how you're going to present this process to them.  For example, rather than saying "honey, we really need to buckle down and repair our marriage," many men will be more drawn to, "honey, I'd like to put some excitement back in our marriage.  I want it to be smoking hot again."  Yeah, you may stumble just thinking about those words, but I'm sure that it's pretty clear which one will get you the better response.  It really just depends upon the personality of your spouse.  Some people will respond more to "I want us to be emotionally close and intimate again." You know your spouse.  Use the terminology that is most likely to work.

Actually, this blueprint was probably drawn when you were first dating and falling in love. This is where and when the unspoken rules were written.  You came to know what drove your partner, what things they responded to best, and you likely played up the things that gave you a positive response and downplayed those things that gave you a negative one.  You were able to do this so well and you mastered the rules of the game so much that you fell deeply in love.  I know this was possibly a long time ago, but I bring it up because I want you to know there is a foundation and an advantage here.  You've already been down this same path.  You know what wins your spouse's heart and what frustrates them. Use that knowledge to your advantage.

Positive Feelings First, The Hard Work Second:  Here is where most people get it wrong.  They gather their courage to ask their partner to "repair" the marriage, and then they dissect every issue, every flaw, and every place where the two of you just aren't connecting.  It's no wonder that many spouses will only be lukewarm to this process.  No one wants to take a look at how bad things really are or how far apart you've come.  This will only make the mountain seem like a long, hard climb. (I made this mistake. More on that here.)

It's so much better to delay the tough things until the two of you are connecting and participating in giving and taking once more.  So, in the beginning, don't stretch the process too much.  Don't apply too much pressure or paint the picture as too dark.  Focus, little by little, on just reestablishing the connection and creating a deeper intimacy.  I know that this won't happen instantaneously.  It took time to lose it and it will take time to build it back again.  But, just break it down day by day.  Focus on doing fun things together that you will both enjoy and want to do again.  Focus on building anticipation and looking forward to precious moments with your spouse.

Don't Expect Too Much Too Soon: A lot of people will place a lot of pressure on this process.  And, when they do this, things will feel "awkward."  There will be shuffling silences and scary pauses.  And, many people will make the mistake of thinking that the "spark is gone," or "we have no chemistry left."  This often isn't the case.  What has happened is that you've expected too much and applied too much pressure.  Maybe going on a week-long trip with there are no diversions immediately is just too much.  But a walk in the park one day and a night out for coffee another will leave both of you feeling reconnected.

Some of my readers tell me that it sounds as if I'm asking them "to dance around the problems."  I'm really not.  But, I know from experience and through research that most people are going to be a whole lot more motivated to sit down and roll up their sleeves when the pay off that they are getting in return is worth it.  If your spouse is first deeply bonded to you and knows that you've repeatedly taken the time and effort to become close to them and share fun, bonding experiences, they're going to be a whole lot more receptive to what you have to say and to repairing the marriage.  When two people fall in love again, the rest will fall in to place a whole lot easier.

When I was trying to repair my own marriage, I too had it backward. I tried to do the work before the bond was restored. This backfired in a big way. Thankfully, I changed my tactics and saved the marriage. You can read that story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/

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