Deciding to end a marriage is a major decision that most couples don’t take lightly. Child custody, extended family relationships, property division, and lifestyle changes related to spousal support are delicate issues that make the choice to divorce a significant one. Many couples will choose to try to salvage the marriage before making the final decision to divorce. Here are a few steps couples can take toward the process of rescuing a troubled marriage.

Couples counseling and communication

If you’re thinking about divorce, seeking marriage counseling is a good first step toward determining if the marriage can be saved. This requires cooperation from both spouses; if one or both are unwilling to consider counseling, this is not a viable option. If there is a mutual willingness to learn how to mend the marriage, a counselor can provide support and be an objective mediator while each person explains his or her side of things. Often counseling can provide the scaffolding couples need to work through the hurt feelings and misunderstandings that are often a result of poor communication skills.

Practice praise

Praising your partner is often difficult if you’re headed toward divorce. You may find yourself focusing on the negative aspects of your relationship while completely ignoring anything positive. If you practice praise, you will challenge yourself to find some good in your spouse and his actions. Training your mind to notice positive aspects of your partner and marriage can rewire your thinking and increase your positive feelings toward your partner. He may in turn reciprocate based on your good example. This can go a long way toward creating goodwill between you, which changes the general feeling regarding the marriage. This could lay the groundwork for much-needed healing.

Turn toward your spouse

Studies have shown that partners often make ‘bids’ for each other’s attention, and the way the other partner responds has a significant effect on marriage happiness and divorce rate. The decision to positively engage with your partner when he or she makes a bid for your attention is a decision to turn toward your spouse instead of away from them. This can be particularly difficult for people who are contemplating divorce as they are often in self-preservation mode. They may be avoiding the other spouse, who is often the object of blame. There are also often strong feelings of anger that have caused partners to disengage. Difficult as it may be, attempting to connect when a partner makes a bid for communication can begin to alter the tone of the marriage. These efforts can slowly and steadily build enough positive goodwill to allow mending of the relationship.

Sometimes it only takes a few key efforts to turn a marriage around. Couples who truly want to make things work will make it a priority to connect with and understand a hurt spouse, even when they themselves may be hurting. There are some cases when a marriage is not salvageable, particularly when anger, addiction, or adultery issues are unwilling to be addressed by the offending party. In these cases, click here for some information that will help you choose the right attorney to make the divorce process as easy as possible.