Stella Belmar
No relationship is perfect. It may seem so on the outside, but you just never know what happens behind closed doors. A couple can be faced with many challenges and it takes two to tango. There may be love, but practical matters can get in the way. Or some external issue may be challenging the connection between the two people. Whatever the issue, below are some tips on how to save a relationship that’s on the brink of collapse.

A first step is to decide whether the relationship is worth saving.  While almost every relationship can be saved with hard work, both parties must decide that they want to work at it.  If one partner has opted out and doesn’t want to make that effort, not much can be done.

Often, people stay in a relationship because it is convenient or because they are used to it. But that is not enough to call your relationship healthy.  Both parties need to be committed to the idea that their relationship is worth saving.

Communication is key and both parties need to discuss and determine what the problem or problems are in their relationship.  One of the biggest problems with trying to save a relationship is that people believe the symptoms of the problem are the problem itself. 

For example, many people think an affair absolutely needs to lead to a break up.  In truth, the affair is often just symptom of a deeper problem.  For instance, a spouse can stray due to a lack of true intimacy within the relationship.  While most people look at the affair as the problem, the underlying cause of the affair was the lack of intimacy at home.  If you do not deal with this issue, you might be able to keep another affair from starting by making your partner feel guilty, but that doesn’t preclude another problem popping up (such as pornography) because you haven’t dealt with the core issue.

When you start to deal with the deeper problems rather than symptoms, you can save the relationship. 

Once you have identified those core issues, you can begin the conversation with your partner.  This means both verbalizing your own feelings and listening to your partner’s concerns.  Be gentle with your partner and use body language such as holding his or her hand or introducing the conversation with a compliment and in a loving way so that you show you care despite the swirling emotions. If your partner is mentioning hurtful things or issues to you, remember that it is not done to hurt you but rather to share with you honestly what the problem is so that both can work on it.

Once you have agreed upon the problems that are plaguing your relationship, work on an action plan to solve them.  Then, take concrete steps in that direction. Both need to stick to the agreed side of the deal so that the behavior becomes a habit and a natural way of being. If you don’t spend time together like you used to, plan a date night every week.  Take turns coming up with creative ways to spend an evening together.  If not communicating is the problem, commit to spending 20 minutes before going to bed just talking to one another.  And, then do it.


Finally, you should realize that saving a relationship is an ongoing process.  You are going to take two steps forward only to take one step back.  There is going to be both laughter and tears going forward.  Be quick to apologize and slow to blame. 


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