Three things you can do right now to help save your relationship
1.) Close the exits
When you allow yourself to consider leaving the relationship as an option, you change your focus and your behavior without even realizing it.
You spend your energy and attention on the things that are not supportive of the relationship. Maybe you fantasize a life that is better because it doesn’t include your partner, or includes someone else. This fantasy won’t help you save your relationship.
You have more permission from yourself to engage in destructive arguing, talk negatively to others about your partner, and avoid dealing with your partner. This behavior won’t help you save your relationship.
When you close the exits, you force yourself to be where you are, dealing with what is on the plate in front of you, and striving to improve your relationship at every turn. All because you are not leaving. It helps the relationship.
Research shows that when couples respond to inflammatory statements from one another with statements that are kind, calm, reasonable, and free from sarcasm – arguments turn out very differently. If your partner zaps you, do everything in your power to remain calm and respond with caring and warmth. Avoid calm superiority and sarcasm.
Make as many positive statements as you can during your conflict discussions. Try things like, “I know we have overcome a lot together” or “We are usually able to solve these things”. It may not be fair that you have to be the bigger person in the situation, but it is certainly wise if you want to save your relationship.
3.) Affirm your partner
No matter how poorly things between you seem to be going, say a couple of affirming things to your partner each and every day. You can do this if you recognize how important it is.
In 25 years of helping couples in distress, I have noticed that the great majority of their distress is caused by feeling rejected, or unimportant to their partner. There are many things that contribute to someone feeling this way, but one single thing is sure to reverse it.
Say something nice to your partner.
Tell them “I love you” or, “You tell the funniest jokes” or, “That was really thoughtful of you, cleaning the pantry”, or “You are such a gifted woodworker”. Avoid following the affirmation with “but…”. Save your corrective feedback for another time. Just affirm them, smile, and go make tea.