wikiHow to Fix a Marriage

Three Methods:Evaluating ProblemsImproving CommunicationChanging Attitudes

Marriage is a dynamic bond between two people that requires attention and care. Initial passions and feelings can fade over time if they aren't cultivated, especially in the face of stress caused by financial issues, professional demands, or raising a child. If your marriage is in a difficult time, don't lose hope. There are many ways to help remind each other why you fell in love to begin with.

Method 1
Evaluating Problems

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    Make a list of issues. Before you can start to work on improving your marriage you will need to discover what might be wrong. Take a careful look at your relationship, yourself, and your spouse to discover what problems might exist. Writing these issues down can help you stay focused on what needs to be addressed in your marriage.[1]
    • Be honest. You will need to find the truth of your situation to start improving your marriage.
    • Try to stay objective, looking for issues without any feelings of resentment or anger.
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    Work on what you can fix. Trying to force another person to behave differently will likely be met with resistance. Instead, focus on your own issues and work towards becoming a better person yourself. Understanding, loving, and improving yourself can help you improve your marriage in turn.[2]
    • Changing your own behaviors is easier than changing someone else's.
    • Work towards dropping negative behaviors or angry reactions and replace them with calm and constructive responses.
    • Carefully and honestly examine any personal problems that might be affecting your marriage and work to address them.
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    Commit to improving your marriage. Lack of commitment is one of the most common reasons cited for divorce. Finding a reason to stay committed and being dedicated to making your marriage work can help make your bond stronger. Try to establish and maintain a sense of “we” that you can both work towards building and strengthening.[3]
    • Remember good times and focus on those aspects.
    • Plan and discuss your dreams for your future together.
    • Commitment should come from both partners.
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    Consider seeing a marriage counselor. If you are unsure of how or what you can do to improve your marriage, but are dedicated to the cause, consider seeing a marriage counselor. These professionals can help you both work together to find what issues need addressing and how best to approach them.[4]
    • Marriage counselors are there to help. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to see one if both partners agree to.
    • Marriage counselors may also by found by searching for “couples therapy”.
    • Marriage counseling is a form of psychotherapy done by a licensed therapist.
    • In some cases, marriage counseling can be done with only one of the partners present.

Method 2
Improving Communication

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    Speak constructively. During a heated argument, it can be tempting to say some hurtful things. Instead of attacking with your words, carefully select what you want to say and make it a constructive message. You can still speak your mind and express yourself honestly, so long as you aren't using your message to hurt your partner.[5]
    • Use “I” statements such as “I feel....” or “I would like...”
    • Ask for input. Say something like “What do you think about...”
    • Listen carefully and openly to anything your spouse might say.
    • Be honest and speak your mind in a calm and fair manner.
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    Avoid yelling. When things get too emotional, a discussion might turn into a shouting competition. Yelling at one another will do another but cause harm to the relationship. Loud outbursts should be avoided at all costs when trying to improve your marriage.[6]
    • Yelling will not convey any useful message you may have hoped to get across.
    • You are allowed to have and feel emotions. However, they cannot become angry outbursts during a discussion.
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    Make decisions together. If one person tries to make all the choices in a relationship, it can lead to the other party feeling dis-empowered or undervalued. Choices that can involve both people, should. Try to keep both your own and your spouses needs in mind when discussing any plans.[7]
    • Work towards options that are best for both partners.
    • Don't try to force a choice to get your way. Decisions should be cooperative, not competitive.
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    Actively listen. Whenever your spouse is talking to you, practicing active listening can help her feel like she is being heard. You will be able to more fully engage in a conversation with your spouse by carefully listening to what she is saying and giving cues that you are paying attention.[8]
    • Restate things your spouse has said. "I just want to make sure I understood..."
    • Summarize what you heard. "It sounds like..."
    • Use encouragers like "oh", "I see", or "mmhmm"
    • Validate what is being said. "I'm glad you brought this up."
    • Allow for silences. Don't jump in the moment your spouse is done talking.
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    Avoid being passive-aggressive. Passive-aggressive behavior is when you may act nicely to a person, while feeling resentful and working in secret to undermine her. Often times, being afraid of direct conflict or expressing ones feelings can result in passive-aggressive behavior. By avoiding engaging in passive-aggressive behavior, you can help reduce the harm that it can cause to your marriage.[9]
    • Watch your behavior and try to find what causes you to act passive-aggressively.
    • Practice being assertive and honest with your negative feelings.
    • Realize that being passive-aggressive is a form of lying.
    • Keep in mind that it's perfectly normal and healthy to have disagreements.

Method 3
Changing Attitudes

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    Avoid being competitive. Competition has its place in life, but your marriage is not one of them. Beyond playful competition, if you find yourself or your spouse trying to turn everything into a contest, work to stop this behavior. Discussions and arguments should aim to solve problems, not win them.[10]
    • Often times, being insecure can cause this overly competitive attitude. Work on improving self esteem to avoid competitive behavior based in insecurity.
    • The winner in any marriage should be both partners, not one or the other.
    • Support your spouse instead of competing against her.
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    Stay positive. Although it may be difficult at times, keeping a positive outlook can help any relationship. Find things you love about your partner and focus on those aspects. Don't be afraid to show or tell partner the things you appreciate. Keeping your focus on the good can help increase not only your mood and outlook, but the mood of the marriage as well.[11]
    • Do things for your spouse that you know will make her happy. Don't expect anything as “payment”, simply enjoy doing something nice for her.
    • Doing something generous can actually make you start to feel more generous and loving.
    • Keeping positive over a period of time will help show your partner that your actions are genuine and stable.
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    Stop negative thinking. Dwelling on negative issues will only increase your own negative feelings and responses. Although it may seem like you are doing something useful by holding onto negative aspects of your partner, you are likely making things worse. Drop any negative thoughts you may have been holding and avoid dwelling on them any further.[12]
    • Anger, resentment, and blame will only cause more anger, resentment and blame.
    • By letting negative thinking go, you can start to get a clearer picture of what you can improve instead of criticizing.


  • Focus on the positive aspects of your spouse.
  • Avoid dwelling on negative aspects of your spouse or your marriage. Feeling angry and resentful will only cause further negative feelings.
  • Communicate honestly and openly.
  • Avoid yelling at all costs. Don't be afraid to take a break and calm down before resuming a discussion.
  • Don't try to be right or “win”. Your marriage isn't a competition.
  • Marriage counseling can be an option in restoring your marriage.


  • If you feel afraid or threatened by violence, you should leave and contact emergency services.

Article Info

Categories: Marriage Issues