If you're researching this question, I'm assuming that your marriage is not on firm ground or is in trouble. I don't know if you're contemplating divorce, already taking a break from the relationship, or just wanting to improve upon what you already have. No matter which situation you're in, I've found that the process is the same.

In my experience, the best way to save a marriage is to come up with a plan about which both partners can get behind and commit to, while preserving dignity, and giving both parties the freedom to choose their own course of action. If these things aren't present, essentially one partner is "winning" while the other is "losing" or "giving in." While this may make one person feel triumphant short term, it almost always comes back to bite the relationship later and ultimately makes saving the marriage that much harder or improbable down the road. Ultimately, the best-case scenario is one in which both partners decide to save it because they want to. If you and your spouse are not both in this place, that's ok. It just means you have more work to do.

Why Some Marriage Saving Programs or Counseling Sessions Don't Work And Are Not The Best Way: When my husband told me he wanted a divorce, I researched, studied and participated in many "save your marriage" programs and met with counselors and therapists, but most of them fell short because they demanded that my husband be a willing participant and they demanded they we talk about and analyze our problems. As he wanted a divorce and I didn't, I was more than willing to go over and discuss our issues endlessly but he was not. And when he was forced to, it just made him angry and frustrated and less receptive to me. Frankly, it hurt us more than it helped us. (More on that here.)

And this, in my opinion, is the flaw of many programs and plans. There is usually one person who wants to save the marriage more than anything and another who is either doubtful, lukewarm, nonreceptive or who wants out. While the one who wants to save it is pouring out their heart and analyzing the problems, the one who wants out is thinking "I just want to escape this high drama and all this talk," while they're only feeling more negative about the relationship and their spouse is looking less and less attractive.

A Better Option That I Believe Works: For me, the better option in saving my marriage was ignoring the main, painful problems for a little while. (I realize they do need to be addressed, but I don't feel they need to addressed when one person has one foot out the door.) Instead, I focused on creating situations that would invoke positive feelings and make me appear more attractive in my husband's eyes. I was resistant to this for a long time, thinking it was unfair for me to have to do all of the work but one day I realized this was silly because giving him what he needed would allow me to get what I wanted and needed too.

And, I also realized that when we were first dating, I could do no wrong in his eyes. And I realized that was because, at that time, he was deeply in love with me. One day a therapist did tell me something useful. She said, "a man falls in love because of the way you make him feel about himself." She said this is true of men or women. When we are in love, we feel attractive, alluring, intelligent, valuable, and cherished. So, with all of these positive feelings, we have a better time ignoring, glossing over or working out any problems that may come up. When our needs aren't being met, instead we'll hold tight to any slight or wrong - real or imagined.

One day I wised up and figured out my best bet was to only try to work out the problems AFTER we'd reestablished intimacy, respect and we both wanted to save our marriage. This took a while because when I started, my husband was not at all receptive to me. He didn't want to take my calls or spend any quality time together, so I had to accept tiny, baby steps that reestablished some sort of positive feelings and I learned that taking care of myself and respecting myself enough to get moving again and do the things that made me happy (pursuing my hobbies and passions) helped my cause more than anything and, in turn, I appeared much more attractive to my husband and closer to the person I was when he first fell in love. The more I did this (even when it felt risky or like I was neglecting the plan) the more my husband came around.

So, for me, the best way to save my marriage was to allow my husband to come to me. Texting, calling, and begging really got me nowhere. Talking endlessly about our problems and what I could do to change his mind only pushed him farther away. But, showing him that I was still the exciting, vibrant, intelligent girl who valued my own happiness as well as his contentment brought him back to me and saved our marriage. In my opinion, this is the best way. You need both husband and wife on board and the only way to do this is to reestablish, trust, respect, and intimacy before you try to negotiate all of your problems. Often, marriages in trouble just aren't strong enough for most other methods and bringing back feelings of affection and empathy makes the process easier all of way around.

Want to see/read about how I finally wised up and used these techniques to save my own marriage? You can that story of how I did it (when I was the only one who wanted to) at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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There are links to more articles about saving your marriage at http://isavedmymarriage.com