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Save Your Marriage

Get Your Marriage Out of the Danger Zone

By Susie and Otto

Cindy and Emilio made a commitment to do whatever it takes to save their marriage after a really rough period they went through a year ago.

Their relationship has somewhat improved since the time when both of them had affairs...but there is still a lot of mistrust, distance and conflict between them.

They seem to take a little step forward and then something will happen that leads to an argument or to one of them withdrawing into a cold silence.

This back and forth happens so frequently, Cindy and Emilio can't even determine if they're making any positive progress toward saving their marriage.

It is clear to both of them that their relationship is-- and has been-- in the danger zone. They often wonder if making that commitment to stay together was a bad idea after all.

Are you concerned that your marriage is in danger of breaking up or of another affair happening?

There are many signs that a marriage or love relationship is in danger and here are a few...

-- One or both of you usually withdraws or leaves when a conversation becomes tense.

-- It is clear to you that your partner is wrong about many things most of the time.

-- Criticism (on one or both sides) is a regular occurrence in your relationship.

-- You expect that your spouse will lie and betray you (you are often proved correct).

-- Jealousy, accusations and suspicion frequently come up for either or both of you.

-- You can't remember the last time you and your partner had fun or shared a passionate and loving moment together.

If infidelity has happened in the past, it is understandable that some of these danger signs are present in your relationship.

It does take time to heal after an affair and to rebuild trust. However, if you feel like you are working on your relationship and you're still not seeing any improvements, there could be more going on.

Investigate what's tearing you two apart.

It might seem obvious that your partner's affair, your spouse's lies or anything else that directly relates to the infidelity is the BIG problem that's tearing you two apart.

If this is what's true for you, it could be frustrating that your partner is not doing "enough" to repair the damage that he or she caused.

It is vital that the person who cheated takes responsibility for his or her actions. However, this is generally only part of the picture. There is often so much more going on that is potentially putting the relationship in the danger zone.

We encourage you to investigate and find out all that you can about what may be tearing you and your spouse apart.

This type of investigation requires courage because these aren't usually comfortable things to discover-- about your partner or yourself.

While it may be tempting to hone in on all of the habits that your partner has that fuel tension, jealousy, mistrust and more, we suggest that you start with you.

Again, this isn't about your partner (who may have cheated) getting "off the hook."

This is about you gaining a better understanding of what you both might be doing that contributes to the difficulties that you're going through.

For right now, don't make this about right and wrong. Instead, focus on the habits that usually involve you two shutting down and pulling away from one another in some form.

This is the learning that can lead to amazing changes in your marriage.

Create agreements to help change disconnecting habits.

Now that you have a broader idea of what is keeping your marriage in the danger zone, it's time to come up with an action plan.

We've found that agreements can be a valuable way for a couple to address disconnecting habits and bring improvements to their relationship.

We do have a couple of cautions we'd like to offer...

Agreements do NOT work when they are delivered as an ultimatum or a demand. Agreements are ineffective when one person says "Yes" just to get the other one off his or her back.

To really bring the results you want, it's essential that you and your partner create an environment of honesty, openness and healthy communication to the table when you make agreements.

Do your best to leave blame out of it. Taking responsibility for your share in a dynamic or your choices is valuable. However, it's up to you to take ownership of YOUR habits.

If you find that your partner isn't taking responsibility for a problem you see, you can be honest about how you feel about this particular habit without turning the conversation into a blame game.

For example, you might say "I feel afraid that you'll have another affair when you text with her" or "I worry that there's more going on between you and her when you text with her as much as you do."

Statements like these lets your partner know how you feel without making accusations or judgments.

From there, you might propose an agreement. "Will you agree to stop texting with her?" may not be something that your partner is willing to do, but if you both stay open, you can talk more and come up with an agreement that does feel reasonable and satisfying to you both.

If you can't reach an agreement that you both feel good about, consider getting help from a professional counselor or coach.

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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins
PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling 614-459-8121.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email

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