In an ideal world, you and your spouse would be ready to go to counseling at the same time. But we all change and grow at different rates.
Maybe you find yourself in a position where you’re willing to do the work, heal your past, and do what it takes to have a marriage that thrives. But maybe your partner is happy with where things are at. So what’s next?
How can you help your marriage thrive when you feel like you’re the only one working on it?
In the list below, I share 10 tips that will help you have a thriving marriage. Pick one or two action items to start with. Then, move forward little by little.
10 Tips for a Thriving Marriage
1) Take responsibility for the current condition of your marriage. You will want to point the finger and blame, but refrain! You are not a victim. You are part of the solution!
2) Focus on the things YOU can grow in to help your marriage. It’s brave to change and let go of old patterns and beliefs.
3) Put into practice what you want from your spouse. If you want him to be grateful for you, initiate and express gratitude for him without expecting him to express it back to you.
4) Realize you brought your childhood, family, past trauma, and personal experiences into your marriage. Work on those things. Take steps to heal your personal issues and have grace for yourself along the way. You working on you is one of the best things you can do for your marriage.
5) Remember, awareness is growth. Give yourself credit for the things you’re becoming aware of. Without awareness you would never find the courage to change.
6) Apologize to your spouse. What can you ask forgiveness for? And while we’re on the topic of forgiveness: what can you forgive yourself for?
7) Spark conversations on things you’re working on and learning about yourself. Remember this is about what you’re doing. This is not an opportunity to make your partner feel guilty or to manipulate them into changing.
8) Remember what first attracted you to your spouse. Revisit your vows, reminisce on favorite vacations, and write down what you love about your spouse. This is not to compare yourself to where you once were. It’s an opportunity to remember the good things you cherish about the relationship.
9) Pray for your spouse and your marriage. Better yet, pray with your spouse.
10) And the most important thing of all, be patient with yourself and your spouse. Change takes time and it doesn’t always happen in a linear fashion. Trust the process and be willing to try new things a few times before you see real, lasting change.
Where to Go Next
Get out a pen and paper. Write down the first thing that comes to mind as you answer the following five questions. Your answers will help you get crystal clear on what your next action step could be.
- What do I want more of in my marriage?
- Why is it important to me to heal our marriage?
- What past trauma is holding me back?
- What can I do today to express gratitude for my spouse?
- What one thing can I try today to help my marriage thrive?
Look back at your answers and see what you can take action on.
Your willingness to work on you will change the entire trajectory of your marriage.
~ Debbie ~
Debbie Whitehead is a licensed professional counselor (M.Ed, LPC), certified personal trainer (CPT), and certified nutrition coach. She owns a practice in Plano, Texas where she helps clients break free from trauma and live a beautiful life – mind, body, and soul.