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How to Save Your Marriage


There is no rule book when you get married. It's pretty much a "learn as you go" endeavour. You just hope you don't screw it up or cause lasting damage as you go through the learning process.

Relationships and marriage are hard, but divorce is often much harder, and not just for you or your spouse. Divorce affects the lives of the rest of your family as well, especially children, close friends, and family members that may be invested in your relationship as much as you are.

If you give anything less than a 100% effort to fix the problems that are plaguing your marriage, you are doing a great disservice to yourself and your family.

This report is meant to help you maneuver through some of the pitfalls of a troubled marriage. It's not meant to replace marriage counseling, only to give you some thought provoking ways to challenge you and your spouse to consider building on what you have together and the feelings that brought you together in the first place, so... let's get started...

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Divorce Is The Easy Way Out - Or Is It?

We are human; often weak, often selfish, often overwhelmed. That's why we are quick to say "it's just not working anymore." It feels easier in the moment to just give in to the urge to back off and walk away from a tough situation. Did I mention we're human?

Women and men handle stress during a marriage in different ways. This is written from a woman's view point, but the issues remain the same for both. Whether you are a wife or a husband, divorce destroys. How can you avoid it?

While not every marriage can be saved, there are a great number of marriages that are dissolved unnecessarily. That uncertainty is why you want to do some careful thinking before you decide to take a step you could end up regretting.

When a relationship starts going downhill, people will often go through four phases:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Acceptance

Let's explore how we move through, and sometimes get tangled up in these phases.

When you feel like your spouse doesn't feel anything or no longer cares about you or your relationship, it's possible they may be going through the denial phase. While it might be easy to believe that your spouse feels nothing for you anymore, that may not be true in the least. Everyday life can tear people apart and feelings can get lost and become recognizable.

In short, your spouse may be denying that they ever felt anything at all, or even denying that they've done anything wrong. You yourself might be in denial, or maybe already be in the anger phase, or both.

However, while you and your spouse might not be feeling anything right now, those other phases will eventually come around.

When that happens, you - and your spouse - will eventually experience the utter devastation that only the breakdown of a marriage can bring. Feelings of loss, failure and grief are not uncommon.

Unfortunately, for some people that sense of devastation comes after the divorce has become final, or after the relationship has really been damaged beyond repair. In the throes of the relationship's death, you're often too cloaked in the four stages to really feel the pain; the pain that might have given you some much needed insight into what's causing the breakdown of the marriage. This awareness can lead to resolution before it's too late.

Additionally, without doing some serious work on what's causing the distress, you will have to consider the fact that you will always be living with the thoughts and doubt about how much you actually contributed to the divorce. Could you have done more to prevent it? Was it your fault? Did you try hard enough?

On top of that, these feelings of doubt or inadequacy could very well influence any future relationships you may enter into. If you doubt that you have what it takes to maintain a healthy relationship, those feelings of insecurity will always be there. This is the 'baggage' we all must carry with us if we don't examine the contents of our life and get rid of the uncertainty. That's why it's so important to explore every avenue to repair a wounded marriage before blindly entering the divorce court.

And finally, of course, there are financial considerations. In most cases, getting a divorce leads to multiple complications, and either party can be left with loads of debt as well as a lower income. That's not to say that money should be your only consideration, but you must be honest about what you will be facing financially if you don't save your marriage.

Keep in mind that the same money that currently supports one household, will soon have to support two households. This may often include expenses you didn't have before, such as child support or additional travel expenses. Recreating another set of household goods is another consideration that can really add up financially after a divorce. New furniture, new rent, new utilities, anything currently shared will have to be replaced, either by you or your spouse.

So, whatever you might be feeling right now, even if you are deeply entrenched in any of the four stages, stop and think. Consider the damage that will be left in the wake of a divorce. Consider the difficulties you will be faced with during and after a divorce.

Getting a divorce might sound like the easier route to take when a marriage is impossibly difficult. However, in most cases, getting a divorce will have a much higher price, emotionally, physically, and financially, than making a solid commitment to save your marriage.

In the end, working with your spouse to heal the wounds of a struggling marriage is often much less stressful than going through a divorce.

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Children Never Experience A Happy Divorce

While the notion of "staying together for the children" may have become somewhat antiquated these days, this sentiment is not entirely without merit. Anyone who considers divorce must stop and think about the total impact this will have on the children. Considering the effects of a divorce on the children is not really outdated; it's smart.

First of all, take into consideration that your children currently have a security framework. That security is extremely important to a child, and no matter how much you may try to implement two households that feel secure, you cannot duplicate the security they knew with both parents together. When parents split up, children suffer the consequences and there is no way to avoid that.

That security is a bit confusing to understand, especially in a household where the parents have been having many difficulties, perhaps even very loud arguments. Regardless of how many differences you have, it's likely your children have always been used to having both of you. Dysfunctional or not, it's what they've become accustomed to - it's what they know.

Children believe that you, both parents, have their best interest at heart and that you will work together to do the best you possibly can. They feel safe and protected - emotionally and physically - as long as both parents are around. Even in an unhappy marriage and home, this security overrides everything else. Children are most secure when they know what to expect - good or bad - as odd as that sounds.

When divorce destroys that structure, you leave your kids feeling insecure and vulnerable - feelings which could very well haunt them for the rest of their lives. Often, children start "acting out" in ways that parents don't expect, or understand. After all, the parents are thinking the divorce will stop all the quarreling and disruption, so why aren't the children happier and more content?

Additionally, if you choose divorce, you will be denying your children access to both parents when they need it. Your children will have to wait until they go to one house or the other to spend time with a parent. Their time will be split, perhaps when they need one or the other parent at a crucial time. For some things, kids need their mothers, and for others they need their fathers. When the household is split, children are often forced to wait, which can cause a great deal of stress and can even result in the children shutting down their emotions because their parents are not available when they need them.

Regardless of the custody situation, there will always be a lack of support in some respects, and much needed input lacking in their upbringing. There will always be some sense of loss in their lives, of space not filled because one parent or the other isn't there when they feel they need them. And, the irony of this is that the children will need both parents more than ever after the divorce rips the family apart. These are heavy consequences to consider.

To make things even worse, your children could be dragged into a custody battle. Regardless of whether you really have their best interests at heart, it is an incredible trauma for any child to have his or her parents fighting over custody or child support as if the child is either a prize or a burden.

Depending on your situation, the outcome of a custody battle could result in uprooting the children. Moving into a new environment on top of dealing with watching their parents split up, is nothing short of traumatic. Kids going through a divorce are already battling to come to terms with what is happening around them, and uprooting them into a new home only makes a bad situation worse.

You must also consider what you will be doing to their perceptions and views of marriage. Depending on the age of your children, they could be very impressionable. Watching their parents divorce could invoke a fear of being left behind, which could come up again and again with someone they love. This isn't psycho-babble, this is proven fact. Children feel abandoned during divorce, no matter how much the parents try to avoid that with ample visitation. This abandonment can lead to feelings of jealousy, possessiveness, and other unattractive traits that last a lifetime.

Children can, and do, become cynical about love and the beauty it can bring to their lives when they see the destruction of their parents love. This cynicism could keep them from committing in their own relationships later on in life. Unfortunately, this feeling can hide below the radar, only becoming known as it hinders the ability to find happiness as adults.

When it comes to the children, don't just think about how they will cope with your divorce while it happens. Think about how your child will behave and reason five or ten years from now, in the aftermath of the divorce.

Whether you like it or not, and whether you allow it to affect your final decision or not, your divorce will still affect your children, now and for many years. There is no such thing as a "happy divorce" for children.

Take the time to really consider all possible repercussions of your decisions, then you can move forward from a place of awareness. Be especially cognizant of the negative impact a divorce can have in the lives of your children. Do you want to stay married for the sake of the children? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But you do need to understand what will happen either way.

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Put Communication To Work In Your Marriage

The word communication sounds so simple, and in essence it is. But, as simple as it is, around 90% of divorce cases grow from a breakdown in communications.

Mathematically speaking that pretty much means that fixing your communication problems will reduce your chances of getting divorced by about 90%. Can this be true? Can it be that simple? Unfortunately, emotions do not follow mathematical rules.

Remember courting? It's not unusual for couples who are dating to talk for hours on end. They often talk about everything from the weather to their hopes and dreams to their favorite color and favorite foods. Couples want to share their every thought with each other.

After the wedding, unfortunately, life gets in the way and couples end up caught up in the day-to-day routine of marriage, which often has little or no time for chit chat. Married couples may still want to share their thoughts with each other, but it doesn't seem possible anymore. The honeymoon is over, and you have to attend to the bills, deal with job stress, live with trauma, grief, traffic, illness, friends, family, children, etc. etc. etc. The rose colored glasses come off and the landscape starts to look a bit dull and lifeless.

As our lives become more and more demanding and complex, we all tend to withdraw into our own reality and often leave our partners a bit out in the cold. Both spouses start to move almost in different circles, like they don't know how to be married anymore.

The result is two-fold:

1) The spouse who is feeling left out emotionally feels neglected, oftentimes resulting in feelings of anger and disappointment, and he or she starts to withdraw.

2) This withdrawal by the neglected spouse justifies the emotional distance that caused the withdrawal.

See how this becomes a vicious circle! Each spouse needs to feel emotionally connected, yet when life interrupts this natural desire, neglect, withdrawal, and anger gradually starts to pull the couple further and further apart. Very often, neither spouse can put their finger on where the breakdown started. An emotional chasm can be extremely difficult to bridge.

Ironically, in most cases the initial withdrawal simply happens because one party is trying to deal with something in his or her own way, and has trouble communicating with their partner in an appropriate manner.

The withdrawal could be due to principles or upbringing, or even nature. Many men believe they are responsible, the strong ones, the one who can fix anything that goes wrong. When a woman wants to share an emotion, men can often misinterpret that to mean they want something fixed, instead of just heard. This is a generalization, but studies have shown that men and women both revert to instincts of survival when trying to work their way through an argument - men want to fix it and women want to be heard.

At the end of the day, you have to realize that you got married because you wanted to do things together - for better or for worse. As such, you both have to be supportive of each other, whatever comes your way. And, even if one person cannot do anything to help solve a given problem, you can both still communicate with each other and make sure your partner knows that his or her efforts are appreciated and respected.

It doesn't help anything when one party tries to solve everything themselves and ends up shutting the other out as a result. Marriage is about building a life together, not about each party simply "doing their own thing", so it's important to make a conscious effort to converse and spend some time together... to make each other a priority and to include your spouse in your thoughts.

Communication comes from both sides, and it can shut down from either side, too. Both of you have to talk, and both of you have to listen. Maybe you can prove that mathematically speaking, you can improve your chances of a happy marriage with the 90% communication rule.

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The Art Of Listening

"You're not listening to me!" "Yes I am. I heard every word you said."

Many of us are guilty of not really listening to what our spouse is saying. While this lack of attention, or attentiveness is most commonly associated with men, women are often just as guilty.

To really listen to someone else takes a conscious effort. This is a skill that takes work and time to learn. But, the effort is well worth it because the art of listening can work wonders within your relationship.

Both spouses get caught up in life and often start to close up in their own individual worlds. When listening stops, the relationship may go from a "we" to a "me," leaving the other spouse out in the cold. A spouse caught up in their own world, without listening to what the other spouse needs, becomes a truly self-centered individual rather than a part of a team.

You might "hear" the other person talking, but since you are so wrapped up inside your own world, you don't really take any notice of what your spouse is saying. Or maybe you are filtering everything he or she is saying through your own needs instead of the needs your spouse is expressing. As a result, your spouse may end up feeling unheard, and even more painful, unimportant.

Remember, any relationship is just that - a relationship. If you stop listening to the other person, and keep thinking only about what you want, there is no relationship.

Without a relationship, you wind up being two people living in different worlds. Sure, every once in awhile one of you might try to get through to the other, but without a real effort to repair your listening skills, this will be met with very little success.

However, if you are willing to take the time and effort to commit to really listening, you will begin to note the subtleties in what your spouse is saying. You will start picking up on the concerns, the hopes, and the fears that are important to your spouse. Sometimes the words are left unspoken, but when you build your listening skills, you will hear the underlying tones.

Generally speaking, men tend to think they have to keep their feelings under control and not show anything. In the process they get so caught up in their problems that the rest of the world, their spouse included, start going unnoticed. As a result, those feelings of being shut-out and neglect sets in, which is the beginning of a breakdown in communications.

Then, generally speaking, again, women tend to talk about their feelings more, which may lead to forgetting to listen. While women are believing they're communicating well, they may be leaving no room for their spouse to express themselves, and unknowingly ignoring the subtle messages hidden in what little communication their spouse is offering.

By making an effort to listen - really listen - you will be able to understand your spouse better, and really comprehend those things they deem important enough to talk about. You may even hear something that needs more attention. But you won't catch those things unless you listen well enough to know it matters.

Then when you know, you'll be able to take whatever steps are necessary to provide some additional support, and help your spouse through whatever is troubling them. Once you perfect your listening skills, share your knowledge with your spouse. You both can benefit. Marriage is a two way street. You'll need your spouse to really listen to you sometime, too.

When you learn the skill of listening, you will start hearing what really matters to each other. You will start to understand how what you do, or don't do, matters to your spouse, and your marriage. You may be amazed at how you can make things better in your marriage by simply listening to what is being said (or not said) by your spouse. Sometimes it's the simplest thing you could have been doing long ago... had you only truly listened.

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Your Spouse Can't Hear What You're Not Saying

It sounds so simple, yet many people are just not able to get to the core of a disagreement. They keep on fighting and fighting over the same issues, while the real reasons for the disagreement remain hidden. Why? Because you aren't saying what the problem is. How can your spouse listen to your concerns if you aren't saying them out loud?

Let's explore one hypothetical example so we can understand the dynamics:

Your husband wants to go to a baseball game with a few buddies. You list a litany of complaints about this "boys night out." Everything from spending too much money, to drinking beer, to staying out too late on a weeknight, to leaving you alone to deal with the kids, comes up. This otherwise benign event results in a series of arguments that get more and more heated. The stadium is filled with other spouses who are enjoying a night out at a baseball game. Not all those married couples are having the same argument. So, what goes on here?

You have an underlying problem which is never mentioned. Insecurity, fear, and jealousy, could be bringing up these complaints. That is not to say that every instance like this one might not have real concerns to discuss. However, for this part of the debate, let's say that there is no reason to fear the spouse's night out.

In this kind of scenario, where there is an ongoing argument without any real reason, it may be because there are underlying issues that never get discussed, so the argument never gets resolved. If the married couple keeps going around in circles about this type of argument, it is worth considering that the issue is NOT about what's being argued about. This kind of situation will, over time, alienate your spouse and make you feel unloved and unheard, basically because, again, your spouse can't hear what you're not saying.

Why you decided not to raise the real issue is almost as important as the issue itself. It could be because you feel you are being petty, or it could be because you feel your spouse might ridicule your emotions. These are more issues to address, making this a touchy situation, indeed.

Regardless of the reasons, these emotions are real, and ignoring them will not make them go away. In fact, ignoring them is likely to make it worse over time, since the lack of communication, and the misunderstanding, will only add to the tension.

If, however, you were willing to trust your spouse and talk about how you feel, you could work together towards solving the problem. State your case in such a way that your spouse does not feel threatened, but also understands that, whether the concerns are justified or not, your emotions are real and you BOTH have to deal with them. Belittling feelings by calling them "hang-ups" is not going to make them go away.

Don't dodge the issue. Not talking about the turmoil you're having with these feelings will only make it worse. Say what is really bothering you, no matter how big or small the problem might seem, and take it from there.

The only way this works, however, is to tackle the problem - the real problem - from the point of view that both of you want to solve it. Having respect for both your feelings, the person who wants to go to the game and the person who sees trouble ahead, is the first step. Approach any REAL problem about the situation with honesty, as well as any underlying feelings you may be avoiding, and not talking about.

At the end of the day, when it's all said and done, you profess your love for each other. If you do, you should be willing to work through anything that gets in your way of a successful marriage. The first step is to be painfully aware of the real problem behind the arguments and be willing to get rid of that smokescreen that's been thrown up to protect yourself.

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Men and Women Respond Differently During A Fight

I want to preface this by saying these will be generalizations, albeit generalizations that are backed by psychological research. So take each observation as such. Now, see if you recognize yourself or someone you love in this segment.

Most women find it absolutely infuriating when they want to fight, and their husband simply locks up, or 'stonewalls.' They feel cheated out of a good argument! And, on a deeper level, an opportunity to be heard. What women may fail to realize, however, is that they should be thankful. But why?! It was going to be such a good fight.

Men and women are different when it comes to feeling, showing, handling, and even recognizing emotions. Ironically, even though women are typically the more "emotional" beings of the two, women are quite adept at being emotionally detached during an argument. Men, on the other hand... not so much.

Understanding the inherent qualities of the female and male during a conflict will help you see where an argument can be so confusing, and go so wrong. We can blame, if you like, our ancestors, our really, really, old ancestors.

Instinctively, women must be heard to protect their offspring and their home. Women can often speak their minds forcefully if need be - with no other intentions than to make sure they are heard. Women can, and do, very often argue loudly with their spouse without becoming emotionally involved. Remember, women just want to be heard. This sometimes loud expression is a protection mechanism and at the moment of the outburst, typically void of emotion. This can be confusing to the recipient - the man.

By their very nature, men associate confrontation with a clear and present danger. As such, men instinctively respond to a loud or serious argument with a strong sense of danger and perhaps violence - in other words, emotion. Men are not capable of separating emotion and conflict in an argument because men sense danger as they protect their herd.

Normally in today's environment, a loud argument or disagreement between a husband and wife doesn't require the same sort of physiological or emotional response it did in prehistoric times. Basically, this instinctive behavior is no longer needed, so now what?

When a man's instinctive protection mechanism becomes unnecessary, or a threat to the safety of their opponent, in this case a woman, becoming physical is not an option. So what happens with this unresolved instinctive behavior?

What happens is a psychological defense mechanism kicks in. This mechanism takes the form of withdrawal. This safety mechanism happens in order to prevent his emotions from getting out of control and allowing him to lose his temper completely. He has no outlet that is acceptable. His wife is arguing loudly because she has to make herself heard, and his instinctive behavior to this clear and present danger is simply no longer needed or desirable. He chooses the next level of conflict - run and hide. Which translates into withdrawal.

When a man stonewalls, withdraws, during an argument, it is thus an indication that he is already quite upset and does not trust himself to remain in control, often at a subconscious level. Whether he actually thinks this through, or his instincts are taking over, is not known. What we do know, and what he believes, is his emotions could cause him to careen down a dangerous course, in one way or another.

While this reaction can be incredibly infuriating to a woman trying to speak her mind, unemotionally, and trying to get her husband to speak his mind in the process, it really is often a blessing in disguise. Of course the irony is the woman instinctively remains unemotional during this argument while she expects her husband to share his feelings, his emotions. And, the best thing that could happen is that he withdraws to keep himself, and his spouse, safe.

It may seem like the woman will never get to the heart of the matter if the husband doesn't respond to her unemotional, loudly expressed argument. Just the opposite is true if the spouses learn how to argue.

While withdrawing emotionally might hamper communication temporarily, it is a necessary mechanism that prevents a man from becoming irrational or violent. As such, women running into a "stone wall" should understand this is what keeps a man from reacting as if living in prehistoric times when a confrontation meant real danger. This modern-age psychological programming may cause men to withdraw, but it's a temporary condition that allows for a cooling off period.

Of course, we hope to redirect our argument into a calm discussion when the time is right, but if that doesn't happen, what's next? There may be other issues, and maybe not with the man. If your husband frequently stonewalls during an argument, it's possible you are pushing him to withdraw for a reason. No one likes feeling bullied or pushed out of their comfort zone. Is an honest argument something you want to start but not finish? Do you want him to hear you but don't want to make any changes yourself?

Taking another, deeper look at how your arguments are going. Understanding the instinctive, sometimes 'knee jerk' reactions to stress that both women and men have is the first step to change. Back up and take a look at the way you argue. Do you need to be loud to be heard? Does your husband retreat every time you approach him with a problem? If so, rethink your needs and try bringing more thought, and less instinct, to your discussions.

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What Does 'Letting Yourself Go' Really Mean

"You're not the same person I married."

People change, but has it come to the point where you no longer find each other attractive or desirable? Can you see yourself as your spouse sees you? Do you like what you see? Is something more than aging going on here?

Truth is, when you got married, you may both have been better looking than you are right now. Fair enough. You were certainly younger! Well, age happens. But, this isn't about how supple your skin is, how shiny your hair is, or even how many sizes you have in your closet. This is not all about looks.

The term 'letting yourself go' covers a lot of territory. First we must consider that when someone simply 'lets go' it is usually a matter of not caring anymore on a variety of levels. "Not caring anymore" can mean you have no regard as to how your partner sees you. Of course this can mean physical appearance, but it goes deeper than beauty products can reach.

Not caring for yourself can be indicative of not caring for your relationship. Letting yourself go can mean you have little or no regard, or respect, for your partnership. It can indicate you are willing to risk the possibility of losing your partner altogether. Remember, you are loved by your spouse, so why would you treat someone they love - you - so badly?

Sure, love is about more than looks... it is about caring. But not caring about how you look is an indicator of deeper issues. If you don't care about how you look, it begs another question - What else might you not care about anymore?

Not caring about yourself and your appearance can be viewed as a step back in terms of commitment since you vowed to do everything you could to make the other person happy and to create a good life together.

Letting yourself go, physically and emotionally, is usually accompanied by a reduction in self-esteem, and it is not always certain which has led to which. However, when your self-esteem deteriorates it can have a profound impact on your relationship and manifest itself in many ways, including jealousy, insecurity, and other rather ugly emotions.

Unfortunately, that reduction in self-esteem is likely to do more damage to your relationship than any change in physical appearance itself. But, which came first? This chicken-and-egg question is a serious one and should be approached with some serious consideration and sometimes professional help.

Additionally, letting yourself go usually goes along with some other undesirable habits as well. Your partner might start spending less time on tasks which you would usually expect them to take care of. These are simple things like cleaning up after themselves, taking care of chores, and paying attention to the details of daily living.

If you have been letting yourself go, physically, emotionally, or even spiritually, you have been cheating your partner out of the person he or she married. If you really care about your marriage, stand back and take a good look at how much you have changed, and how much of that you can fix.

Time takes its toll on us all, making it impossible to remain the same person we were when we were young. But, we can still make the best of what we are now! Take a look at yourself and see the person your spouse sees. If you don't like that person, it's time to make a change!

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Making The Case For Time Alone Together

Having time alone with your spouse is not always an easy thing to do. As a matter of fact, it can be darn hard, especially once you have kids in the house. But, there is no way around this topic. This is something that you simply cannot do without or the relationship is bound to perish.

You have things to attend to on a day-to-day basis. From the family to the job, everything needs your attention. When children come along, you have to work harder to pay the bills. This new demand comes at a time when your job may be more demanding, as well.

Of course, we welcome both the children and the promising career, but at what expense? Some days it feels like a pressure cooker and the lid's about to blow! So, how do you get some relief from this constant demand? Something has got to give, and it's typically the thing that you think you can attend to later - like each other.

We often put off doing those things that are the most forgiving. The car can wait until next week for that oil change. The dress shoes can last another year. The refrigerator is working alright for now. Most likely these things have been ignored before and didn't cause a disruption in your life, so they can be ignored again.

But, when we start ignoring the needs of our spouse, those little things start to add up to big things. Yes, we ignore the people we feel the safest with - the people who we think can be ignored without too much trouble. Because we love our spouse we don't cause a lot of trouble when we're ignored - not like our boss, or our children - at least not right away.

The thing that is important to keep in mind is that you got together and got married because of what you shared as a couple... not with the children, the job, or the rest of the family or friends.

That means your relationship should be based on what you share together, just the two of you. If you are only sharing the day-to-day activities of the children or what you boss needs or what the house needs, then you will find less and less in common as the years go by. And, once those things change (children grow up, jobs change, you move) you will find yourselves growing apart further and further.

Simply finding time alone is problematic especially when you have children at home. Even when you make the effort to set aside a few minutes so you can talk quietly like you used to, you'll find yourself interrupted by a toddler demanding attention, or a teenager trying to sway your mind. When that happens, even small bits of time that could have been special are often laid to waste. When the children are gone, spending time alone should be simple, but it isn't. The habit of NOT spending any time alone can become so ingrained that we forget how to be a couple.

That's why it's important to find the time for each other, to THAT a habit. You don't have to plan an event that costs a lot of money, but it needs to be time alone, with just you and your spouse, and done often. These times together may not be spontaneous for a while, but don't let that stop you. The spontaneity will come when your children are fully launched and on their own. But, you have to maintain a good marriage for that to happen, so work on the scheduled time together now so you can enjoy the spontaneous times later.

Many parents of young children use the excuse that they can't find a babysitter, or they can't afford one. Regardless of your circumstances, it's important to spend some quality time with the person you love. If that requires taking money out of the grocery fund and living on noodles for a week, it's an investment that's well worth it for the sake of your marriage. Don't forget; other parents, your friends, are having the same trouble finding time alone. Swap babysitting time and you've solved both problems!

Keep in mind it doesn't have to be a long period of time on every occasion, but it does have to be time spent alone, without any interruptions. It needs to be quality time, which will allow you to experience each other without any outside stimulus. It needs to allow for intimate moments and the freedom to express how much you love and appreciate the person you married.

Regardless of how you spend your time alone with your spouse, make it memorable and enjoyable. It may be as simple as curling up on the couch, watching a movie and sharing a bowl of popcorn, or going for a long walk. The time you spend together is not about what you did specifically, it's about the fact that just the two of you were able to share it, alone.

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Simple Acts Of Kindness Can Reunite And Reignite

As time goes by, many married people complain that their feelings diminish, and that it's just not the same anymore. This is a simplistic view of the way we mature in a relationship. Sure, things are not the same anymore, nor should they be. However, if feelings are diminished, it probably has a lot more to do with the way we treat each other than just time passing by.

Telling someone that you love him or her is important but not nearly as important as showing it. It is critical that you remind the special ones in your life just how much they mean to you, even if just by doing little things.

Whenever you do something for someone else without him or her having to ask for it, you will be driving home the fact that you care enough to put their needs first. To be perfectly blunt, offering anything without it being required will add to a positive relationship. And doing so on a regular basis will make the other person feel special, and that is what love is all about.

Ironically, it is often the little things, not the big things, that matter most. It is not usually about how big a gift you buy, or how big a party you throw, or how much money you have to throw around; it's about the idea that you thought about the other person and his or her needs, wants, and desires.

And, when I say it's about the tiny things, it's about the really tiny things. Things like making the morning coffee, opening a car door, lending a hand to help in a moment requiring three hands, or offering to clear the table after dinner, or running a bath. None of those things take an investment from the savings account, but they do take an investment in thought and time.

Additionally, some little things can make a huge difference, like a simple unexpected message letting your spouse know they are on your mind. Sharing the last piece of chocolate cake or leaving a little wild flower on your spouses pillow just means "I thought of you." That's worth more than a million dollars.

Even telling a your spouse that you love them and believe in them, especially during times of extreme stress, can make a huge difference. Think about it - if your spouse is doubting their position in the work world, feels they've made a terrible mistake with the children, or experiencing another painful, self-esteem damaging event, would that person want to open a trinket or hear your words of love and support? The little things go a long way!

It is not so much about what you do as it is about the fact that you are doing something. The power lies in the act of unselfish giving, which has the power to change everything, including the way you feel about each other.

Once both parties adopt the mindset of just doing something for each other without expecting anything in return, it changes the perceptions each has of the other, and themselves.

If you care enough about your spouse to do something selflessly, it changes how your spouse sees you. Your spouse knows that you are a caring person who appreciates them. Your spouse takes notice and starts to respond in kind. Both of you win when either spouses gives.

By the same token, if your spouse keeps doing something for you without you having to ask, it will change how you view your spouse. You will see that they really do care, and again, you will respond in kind.

In other words, it doesn't matter who takes the first step. When either spouse gives from the heart, in little ways, the receiving spouse will be uplifted, and feel like they really matter. With this change comes real sharing and a new commitment, which starts a whole snowball rolling down that hill - and just imagine the momentum your little unselfish act could create!

At the end of the day, the feeling of loving someone else comes naturally, but showing someone that love is an act of your will.

When you were dating, you loved doing things for each other. For whatever reason, you may have stopped doing those little things when you got married. You can blame the busy-ness of your life, the day-in-day-out monotony, or even your spouse. You can blame whatever you want, but the truth is, you only have one thing to blame - laziness. You weren't lazy when you were dating, trying to win your mate, so why did the laziness set in now?

These very sincere manifestations of love, these tiny acts of unselfish kindness, are a big part of how we show love and feel love. Without these acts of love, your spouse believes they are not worthy of your time or trouble, and, unfortunately, responds from that belief.

So, it's really quite simple. Go back to acting the way you did before you got married and you may suddenly go back to the way you felt before you got married, too. I guess I could have said that in the beginning and saved you all this time! Please, don't let another day go by without sharing a simple act of love. Your marriage depends on it.

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Recapture That 'Something Special' Again

A very wise marriage counselor once said; All marriages begin because there is something special, and no matter how bad it becomes, as long as you can get back to that "something special" again, you can save your marriage.

Let's face it, when you first got married, there was something really special between you two. You were able to tell that your partner really loved you. You felt the magic of that love. You could see clearly how much your new spouse cared about you.

That "something special" is the very reason why you fell in love in the first place. It is what glued you together. It is what made you see each other's good qualities, and made you oblivious to each other's faults at the same time.

This special something was the driving force behind all those wonderful things you did for each other, the fun times you had together, and even the times you both had to forgive and forget.

Consider the fact that the original "something special" was strong enough to make marriage partners out of two strangers. This idea alone is a miracle. The marriage bond is such a big step that there must have been something incredible between you two at one point in time.

In fact, if the "something special" was that strong back then, imagine its strength if you could use it now!

Yes, this is one thing that should NOT fade with time. When marriage partners spend years together, they build a history of ups and downs that only serve to strengthen their bond. The problem is when married people forget how much work they had to put into the initial courting stage to create this bond.

As they build this "something special" into a lasting bond, the work involved seems to get side-stepped with the children, house, job, car, or whatever else happens to distract the couple from what's important - the thing that brought them together in the first place. For without that "thing" there is no "children, house, job, car" - the stuff of their marriage. Because there is no marriage.

So, how do you recapture that "something special?" Ideally, you both have to agree upon some focused time spent together, alone, without intrusions. Start by talking, honestly, about what you used to like about each other. Talk about what you used to like to do together. Take a trip down memory lane and try to recapture the good times, the fun times, the silly times, and all the special feelings those times evoked.

Rediscover what attracted you to each other in the first place, and why you felt the way you did. Play "your" music, dance to your songs, play games, watch movies... anything that you enjoyed when you were dating. Talk, write, or sing. Recreate what you did those first weeks, months, or years. If you spent hours on the phone, call each other. If you wrote long letters, write each other. Put yourself back in the dating mood you once shared.

Once you have rediscovered that special ingredient, decide together on a plan of action to bring it back to life. Do something together you stopped doing long ago. Do the things that remind you of the old times. Even visit the old places if you can! Spend the time to recreate these memories and the feelings will follow.

When you find your "something special" again, cherish it. Then go back to it over and over again. Go back to the time of wonder, of selfless love, and of appreciating each other.

This is an incredible step toward reconnecting with your mate and possibly even saving your marriage. You will once again appreciate your partner and have a reason, and the strength, to weather the storms together that every marriage must endure.

You could even say it will be just like old times. But, now you will be more mature, somewhat wiser, and have a better ability to appreciate your partner, and your marriage, more than ever before.

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