You’re preparing for a war if you are in a fight for your marriage.
The war that is the fight for your marriage has probably already started. It may have been going on for a while now. It may be against yourself, or it may be for the return of your marriage.
Maybe you’re fighting yourself to get your self-esteem back. After years of feeling like you aren’t good enough, you started to believe it. Now, you don’t believe that anyone would want to be with you, and you have low hopes of your marriage ever being saved.
Or maybe you are fighting to overcome an addiction. There is something eating away at you deep inside that you continue to mask with pornography, drugs, alcohol, or maybe even another person. Deep inside, you want peace. But facing those demons is too painful, so instead you continue to mask the hurt with something that provides temporary peace, but the pain keeps coming back.
Perhaps you are fighting to save your marriage. Maybe your spouse is gone and living with the affair partner, or maybe your spouse is still living at home, but you haven’t talked in months. You have never felt so lonely and so scared in your life, and you fear the whole thing crumbling down and ending at any moment. You want to stop the impending divorce or separation, but you don’t know how. Even worse, you don’t know if you have the strength left to fight anymore.
You have two choices:
You can choose to back down.
You can choose that the fight is not worth it. You can choose to avoid the war and move on. You have that right, and that is your choice. At times (very rarely) divorce is the best option (especially in cases of abuse).
However, too many times people choose divorce when the marriage can be saved. They fear forgiving only to be hurt again. They feel too violated to be able to trust again. The pain is too overwhelming, so it seems easier to leave and start over than fighting to save the marriage.
Please hear this: I am not saying that people who do not choose to fight for their marriage are any less strong. Sometimes it can be a harder decision to decide to not fight than to fight. I ask you if you are considering leaving your marriage to determine whether it is because you are in a situation where you are 1. in danger or 2. where your spouse has no possibility of being rescued from destructive behavior. Question 2 is the most vital. Why? Because if a person is a good person doing a bad thing, they deserve to be rescued. On the other hand, if a person is a bad person doing a bad thing, they cannot be rescued. But at Marriage Helper we believe that everyone deserves a chance to be rescued.
2. You can fight like hell and save your marriage.
I can’t guarantee that your marriage WILL be saved. I can’t guarantee that your marriage will ever be saved. But here’s what I can guarantee: If you do the right thing and fight for your marriage, no matter what happens in the end, you will be a stronger and more resilient person for it. No matter what life throws your way, you will know that you can withstand it and get through it, with or without your spouse.
You see, fighting to save your marriage doesn’t make you a weaker person. It makes you strong, courageous, and confident. It doesn’t take opportunities away from you, it brings you more opportunities. Not only that, but there is tremendous peace and calmness in knowing that you did the right thing, even if there was nothing to gain.
Unfortunately, you can’t control your spouse’s actions. There’s no magic formula of words you can say or things you can do that will, without a doubt, change your spouse’s mind. Too often I receive emails from people who have bought other programs on the internet that make “guarantees” and “promises” of changing the marriage, only to feel that they had been sold snake oil.
However, there are things you can do have the best probabilities of getting your spouse to re-engage in the marriage. We call it the “if anything works, this will” method. Thousands of people have used it, and it’s brought thousands of marriages back together. But be warned: by doing this, you are preparing for war.
Here are the 5 ways to prepare yourself for the war of saving your marriage
1. Arm yourself with the best tools
Like I mentioned above, too many people get caught up in gimmicks and false guarantees from people on the internet making empty promises about saving marriages…even though they have no idea how to save marriages.
I’m not saying that we at Marriage Helper are the end all, be all (although, I’m not going to lie, I do think we are the best at what we do). I am saying that every person on our team that works with marriages knows how to fight to save a marriage. Every person on our team that is married has fought to save their marriage at one time or another. We have been where you are. We know how it feels. We understand what works.
You can’t do this alone. Just like a soldier does not go into battle without the best tools available, neither should you go into the battle of trying to save your marriage alone.
2. Get the warrior mindset
If you are going to fight in a war, then you have to change your mindset. You have to be a warrior. Warriors can’t get distracted – it could cost them their lives. They are laser-focused on the end goal, the main mission – to win the war. Nothing else matters to them.
How does this apply to your life? Think of your daily life. How many times do you get distracted by the little things? How many times do you allow yourself to become upset over things that are not going to help you win the war on saving your marriage? How many times do you let self-talk inhibit your success?
If you constantly tell yourself that you aren’t good enough, then you will get off track. If you allow yourself to be drawn into following your spouse’s behaviors and actions on Facebook (only to see your spouse and the affair partner together…) then you will get upset, and it will take away your laser-focus.
You have to make a plan. Without a plan, you won’t succeed.
3. Change the way you train
Soldiers train for the battlefield. Soldiers have the luxury of creating mock situations so they will know how to conduct themselves during the real battles.
You and I do not have that luxury. Your battlefield is in your home. You do not get the opportunity for mock battles. Instead, you have to train yourself so that when the battles do occur, you know how to handle them the first time.
And train you must.
The difference between winning and losing these battles lies within spending hours and hours focusing on yourself and the way you interact with your spouse. You can’t only listen to it, you have to apply these principles. Focus on yourself first. Start with making yourself the healthiest that you can be Physically, Intellectually, Emotionally, and Spiritually. Learn to become non-reactive during conflict. Understand how and when to use boundaries and instill consequences. There are too many things to mention here. Understand that it takes hours of training to be able to react correctly during battle. That’s where the importance of tuning in to the podcast on iTunes comes in.
4. Understand the mindset of your enemy
Your spouse is not the enemy. I repeat, your spouse is NOT the enemy. The mindset of your spouse is the enemy.
If your spouse is involved in an affair, then your spouse is probably experiencing limerence. Your spouse is not the enemy, limerence is the enemy.
If your spouse is controlling you, then your spouse has fallen victim to a deeper pain or issue in his or her life that compels them to feel the need to control. Your spouse is not the enemy, control is the enemy.
If your spouse is an addict, then your spouse is trying to cover up his or her pain from something deeper. Your spouse is not the enemy, the addiction is the enemy.
If your spouse is done with you because of the hurt or pain that you caused, then your spouse fears getting hurt again and is scared to trust. Your spouse is not the enemy, fear is the enemy.
Maybe your greatest enemy is you. Maybe your mindset prevents you from experiencing life to the fullest due to guilt, fear, shame, and hurt. Maybe it’s not your spouse that is the enemy, maybe it is your mindset that needs to be rescued.
When you understand the mindset of your enemy, you can understand how to tackle it.
5. One Battle at a Time
Take each battle at a time, you may win some, you may lose some, but keep the big picture of the war in mind.
Your marriage didn’t fall apart overnight, and saving your marriage is not going to happen overnight.
Prepare for a long war. Prepare to fight until the bloody end if needed. Understand that there will be setbacks. There will be battles that you win, and there will be battles that you lose. And there’s some battles that aren’t even worth your energy to engage in, so pick your battles wisely.
Keep the overall goal of the war in mind: to save your marriage. Don’t lose heart over a few setbacks. Keep pressing on towards the goal.