How to fix marriage problems
Dr. Susan Heitler has years of experience teaching couples how to fix marriage problems. Many of the couples she sees suffer from the same issues: lack of communication, increasing distance and loss of love, negativity and bitterness, and sometimes infidelity. Here are the three essential steps, Susan’s “3 L’s”, that you need to follow in order to save your marriage.
1. Practice LISTENING.
It’s true: communication is key (at the same time, it isn’t everything in how to fix marriage problems—be wary of any therapist who tells you so!). Many fighting couples get trapped in the same bad communication habits: when they disagree, each just restates his or her own view over and over and tunes other out. Before moving forward with discussing specific relationship issues, couples first need to amp up their communication skills. Try practicing listening fully to each other and digesting what your spouse has just said before responding. Power of Two has a whole section of activities and worksheets to help you become a top-notch listener!
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2. Grow your LOVE.
While many struggling couples still care deeply about each other, negativity, dismissal and coldness pervade their interactions. Most of the time, this negativity has become a habit—just as you used to automatically smile when your partner came in the room, now you are automatically on edge. These reactions need to be unlearned and replaced with positive ones—you need to melt the ice in order to productively connect with each other. Feeling positive about your partner will help you to talk about difficult subjects and face the work of how to fix marriage problems as a team.
How do you show positivity? Positivity means being curious about each other, respectful, helpful, willing and playful. It means paying attention to your spouse and showing support for what she has to say. It also means increasing intimacy with small acts such as touch, hugs and kisses, and warm, positive sexual sharing. Loving actions reinforce love, and love leads to more loving behavior. Spouses tend to react strongly to even small signs of positivity—you will see your spouse start to give love back to you.
3. Be willing to LEARN.
You may know a couple that seems to have the perfect marriage—they communicate, are positive, and seem like a real team. Just remember that they are working every day to make it so. No one is born knowing how to manage a perfect marriage! Being married takes skills—skills that you can learn and practice too. Start by checking out marriage help books, seeing a couples counselor, or trying out Power of Two. We are an online program that combines the privacy and go-at-your-own pace of a book with the professionalism and personal attention of a certified therapist. Learning how to fix a marriage can be simple, accessible, and, dare we say—fun!
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