How to save your relationship

Can your relationship be saved?

Spitting venomous insults, being unfaithful and the general sense that there are cracks emerging in the foundation of your relationship are clear signs that intervention needs to take place.

‘How to save my relationship’ – is a term highly Googled by people worldwide in a desperate attempt to find solutions to their problems. But, when two people have been through so much trauma and hurt together, is there really anything left to revive?

According to Rakhi Beekrum, a Counselling Psychologist based in Durban, relationships can certainly be saved, however, this often requires consistent effort from both parties.

In order to act, one first needs to identify the state that their relationship is currently in. 

Here are Beekrum’s key signs that a relationship is not thriving and intervention needs to take place:

  • Constant arguing with no resolution

  • Emotional disconnection

  • Infidelity

  • Dishonesty

  • Feeling resentful

  • Feeling that you cannot trust your partner

  • Name-calling and using hurtful words and a hurtful tone

  • Secrecy from one’s partner.

  • Decreased quality time

With effort from both parties, trust, love and communication can be rebuilt, paving the way towards a healthy and thriving relationship. 

To achieve this, Beekrum suggests implementing the following tips for  ‘saving’ a relationship:

  • Both partners showing a willingness to work towards a healthier marriage.

  • Listening to your partner, understanding their needs and meeting their expectations of you as a spouse. When you listen, you know what your partner expects of you. Meeting each other’s expectations strengthens relationships and leads to fulfilment.

  • Prioritising each other by considering them when making decisions and valuing your time together over time with anyone else.

  • Resolving conflict without hurting the other. Communicating in ways that are constructive (expressing feelings and needs) instead of destructive (shouting, using hurtful words or the ‘silent treatment’)

  • Building trust by keeping your word, always having your partners back and being there for them.

  • Know your partner’s love language and express your love to them accordingly (Whether it’s through quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation or gifts).

  • Show commitment to changing behaviour that threatens the marriage. This may entail giving up a substance, ending friendships that your spouse is uncomfortable with, being more open about finances, etc.

Not everyone can do it alone and the intervention of a professional is sometimes necessary. 

Beekrum explained when a couple should seek assistance:

  • When arguments are getting worse and leave you feeling worse.

  • When there is infidelity, it is also much harder to know how to heal the marriage, so professional help is strongly recommended.

  • When one or both feels hopeless and that they cannot continue in the marriage.

  • If you feel unhappy in your marriage. It does not have to get to a stage of complete distress. Remember, the worse the problems get, the longer it takes to heal and strengthen the marriage again.

Sometimes the healthiest option is to walk away, especially in cases of domestic violence, emotional abuse and gaslighting.

Beekrum’s advice for deciding when to call it quits:

  • When either party is disrespectful of the other, especially if there is no willingness to change hurtful behaviour, it’s a sign that only one of you is trying.

  • When there is no remorse after a betrayal. When the person who has betrayed the other does not take steps to change their behaviour and regain trust.

  • When there is obvious dishonesty which is denied, despite evidence to the contrary.

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