Making time for each other can help reduce the strain of marriage.

How to Repair a Strained Marriage

by Shannon Philpott

When couples vow to spend the rest of their lives together, the vision of blissful times often masks the reality that marriage can be challenging. Marriage is a partnership that requires hard work and effort from both parties. It is inevitable that there will be financial, social and relationship hardships that may threaten to strain your union. Working together to make your relationship a priority can help to repair the strain and revive the love you have for each other.

1. Make Each Other a Priority

Time is often the biggest challenge for married couples. Work, household and family commitments tend to override the need for one-on-one time. Make your marriage a priority by setting aside consistent times to communicate and enjoy each other’s company, suggests Maud Purcell, a family therapist with PsychCentral.com. Incorporate date nights each month and designate an evening to take a 20-minute walk or watch your favorite TV show together. When the marriage is strained, it can help to engage in activities that are fun and light-hearted to help bring a spark back to your relationship.

2. Display Affection

Resuscitate the romance in your marriage by surprising your spouse with displays of affection. A gentle nudge or wink can show that even though your relationship may be strained, you still genuinely care for your partner. Plan a romantic dinner or leave a love note on the kitchen counter to remind your spouse that you are committed to the relationship. If you make the effort to court your spouse, it is likely he will follow suit, says Purcell.

3. Take Care of Yourself

Marriage is a two-way street, yet it is important to evaluate your feelings about the relationship. Do you feel as if you have lost your own identity? Do you love yourself as much as your spouse? Take some time to get to know yourself better and initiate changes that will improve your well-being, suggests Purcell. When you make time to spruce up your appearance, exercise, rest and eat healthily, your physical and emotional health can improve significantly, not to mention your confidence. It is likely your spouse will notice a surge in your confidence and well-being, and take notice of the changes you are willing to make to improve your relationship.

4. Accept What You Can't Change

Marriage strain is often attributed to habits, interests and actions that annoy or anger couples. Instead of drowning in pity or nagging your spouse until an argument erupts, accept what you can’t change, says Purcell. Instead of focusing on the fact that your husband is a slob or your wife refuses to cook, focus on the positive attributes within your spouse. Griping and moaning won’t change your partner’s behavior; if you compliment the positive, though, you may soon find that your spouse is willing to work on the negative aspects within the relationship.

5. Communicate

Many times, marriages become strained due to miscommunication. You may perceive a remark or action differently than what your spouse intended. Clear the air by making time for regular conversations with your partner. Have conversations about your interests, goals, dreams and hobbies instead of filling this one-on-one time with discussions about work, household duties and family obligations. Make the effort to learn something new about your spouse during daily discussions to help reduce the strain of your marriage.

About the Author

Shannon Philpott has been a writer since 1999. She has experience as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and online copywriter. Philpott has published articles in St. Louis metro newspapers, "Woman's World" magazine, "CollegeBound Teen" magazine and on e-commerce websites, and also teaches college journalism and English. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University.

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