How to Avoid Divorce: 20 Ways to Save a Struggling Marriage

Updated October 1, 2023  

At the start of any marriage, love is in the air.

The honeymoon period may be over, but the passion, the spark is still there.

It's fantastic. It's everything you dreamed it would be.

Fast forward a few years later.

Things have calmed down, perhaps slowed to a crawl.

The passion has leaked into the street, and you wonder what happened to those spontaneous and skin-tingling moments.

What happened to your spouse? You two used to be so happy, so excited.

Where did it all go wrong?

If you're wondering how to revive a marriage, you're not alone.

In most marriages, couples face this challenge and seek the help of a marriage counselor or other resources to build a healthy marriage.

Let's get started.

How To Save Your Marriage: 20 Tips You Need To Know

A lot of people think marriage is easy when you love your spouse.

The opposite is true.

The truth is a successful marriage takes work.

If you want to avoid divorce and save your marriage, keep these tips in mind. 

1. Be Grateful For What is Good In Your Marriage

We're starting with the happiest one.

What is good about your marriage?

Take some time to write down what your spouse does that you love.

What do they do that makes you smile?

Forget about the annoying or horrible habits; focus on the good.

This is about getting you out of that depressing mindset you're currently in.

You've come looking for this article with an “everything is falling apart!” attitude.

I want you to think about what is good in your marriage.

As bleak as things seem, I'm sure you'll find something that will put a smile on your face.

2. Introduce A Monthly Coddle Night

What's a coddle night?

Have you ever set time aside for someone specifically because they needed your full and undivided attention?

Well, that's the night you'll spend with your spouse.

Arrange at the very least one night a month where you and your spouse will spend the night together.

Whether that's curled up on the sofa with chocolate and a great film or going out for a romantic dinner and a glass of wine.

It can be anything you and your spouse enjoy doing as a couple.

It doesn't matter too much what you two do, but rather the attention spent on each other.

Reviving love in a marriage involves paying attention and focusing on your spouse and vice versa.

You may have fallen into the habit of both of you doing your own thing.

You or your spouse may feel neglected and unwanted because either of you may be spending all your time on other pursuits.

Take time to reconnect with each other, even if it's only once a month.

It'll do wonders.

3. Have You And Your Spouse Stopped Trying To Chase Each Other?

Physical affection is essential in a healthy marriage.

Whether it's hugging, holding hands, or cuddling, these gestures can help maintain a strong bond between you and your spouse.

Make a conscious effort to show physical affection daily, and you'll notice a positive change in your relationship.

As a marriage develops, we think we don't have to try anymore.

We've got the girl or the guy. We can let out hair down and relax now. Not so.

Your partner fancied you for one reason or another.

It might be that you worked out and kept yourself in shape or dressed up nicely more than you do now.

Show your spouse you've still got it by getting in shape and making yourself as attractive as you used to be!

That's not a one-way street, either.

Motivate your partner to get back to their original state.

This isn't meant to be taken as 'you're ugly now! You used to look so much better!'

It's about taking care of yourself, for yourself and your partner.

It's about respect – self-respect and respect for your partner.

Related: 20+ Intimacy Ideas for Married Couples

4. Plan A Romantic Weekend (Without The Kids)

Get out. Go somewhere.

Travel to Rome or wherever it is you two said you'd always go one day.

Lose yourselves in an adventure.

Find that spark and interest.

Go on an adventure together and discover sides of your partner (and yourself!) you never knew existed.

5. Find A Hobby That Both Of You Enjoy

Get out and do something new.

You just need an excuse to spend time together.

Often we become involved in work and our hobbies; we forget to invest time in our partners.

Find something you both would be interested in and dive into it!

Spending quality time together is crucial for keeping the connection alive in a marriage. P

lan regular date nights or other activities that you both enjoy.

These moments will help you rediscover each other, have fun together, and build lasting memories.

Related: 14 Scientific Ways to Keep Your Man Interested

6. Discuss Your Doubts And Concerns With Your Partner

Resentments can lead to a failing marriage.

Revive your marriage by discussing and sharing your problems and previous hurts with your partner.

Discuss how things made you feel and why you reacted the way you did.

There are bound to be quite a few unresolved issues you're both holding onto.

Let go of them all by talking through them with your partner.

If possible, discuss how you can avoid these issues in the future.

7. Get Some Me-Time

This one seemingly goes against everything we've discussed so far.


Well, not all marriages fail due to lack of attention.

Sometimes it can be because you aren't taking care of yourself enough.

You might be the loving, doting partner who always spends their time taking care of their partner's problems.

You seemingly have no time for yourself because you have so many things to help your partner or children.

It's quite easy to neglect your own needs in the process.

This can make all the difference.

Arrange to take some time out for yourself.

Go out with friends, do one of your hobbies.

Whatever makes you happy and fulfilled, go and do it.

Giving yourself that space will provide you and your partner the room to appreciate each other when you spend time together.

8. Strengthen Your Relationship Through Gifts

What happens if you don't water your plants (the ones in pots, at least)?

They die.

If you need to revive your marriage, it might be because you or your partner are feeling underappreciated.

Get them a gift.

It doesn't have to be expensive – it could even be free!

The point is:

You're showing your partner you DO care and are thinking of them more than they might know.

9. Respect each other's space

One of the most crucial things you need to balance in your marriage is the time you spend together and the time you spend with yourself.

When you hang out too much with your partner, it can feel too smothering.

On the other hand, spending too much time apart feels like you don't care about each other.

The truth is you and your partner need space.

When your needs are only fulfilled when the other one is around, you will only set yourself up for disappointment.

Having time apart is healthy because it makes your relationship fresher.

More than that, it fosters strength.

When you encourage each other to maintain your own sense of identity while still being a married couple, you will improve your independence.

10. Be kind, intentionally (I'm not talking about "being nice")

According to relationship researcher and expert John Gottman, the magic ratio for a healthy relationship is 5:1.

This means there must be five positive interactions and feelings for one negative interaction or feeling between a couple.

Often, couples become cruel to each other whenever they argue and get personal every time.

The way you start a discussion can easily trigger issues in your spouse, some of which you may not even know.

Then, they will quickly feel attacked and unloved.

If you want your marriage to work, think about how you can make each statement kind, especially when approaching conflict.

If you don't agree about something, fight fair and don't belittle your spouse.

11. Work on your marriage daily

This may seem cliché, but marriage can be likened to a marathon.

It is a very long journey, so if you don't pace yourself well, you are bound to experience burnout.

Like a marathon, you have to jog through the happy times and walk carefully over the bad times.

Marriage is like a marathon because you need to work for it every day.

It would be unrealistic to expect things to immediately improve if you don't invest time and effort into your marriage.

Check out this post to become a better spouse: 20 Super Practical Ways To Become A Better Spouse (Right Now)

12. Stop assuming

Assuming can cause more marital problems than you think.

If your spouse asks you, “Have you fed the dog?” and you think – why is this person always implying that you never do your chores?

Is it impossible for them to see that you also have to worry about work?

When couples have been together for years, they think they already know each other perfectly.

So they tend to assume what the other person is thinking, and they react according to what they believe.

However, your anger may simply come from an assumption you have. But that is not reality.

As much as you can, be intentional in stopping your assumptions.

If you think your husband or wife implies something negative, be straightforward and ask them about it.

This will steer you on a better path to better communication.

13. Learn to listen

One of the best gifts you can give your partner is your attunement to their feelings.

When your spouse communicates with you, they don't expect you to solve their problem.

They just want someone to listen to them.

While listening may seem like a very straightforward thing to do, you'll be surprised at how many couples fail at it.

Listening entails offering your presence 100% to your spouse.

During your conversation, the only goal you have is to hear them and understand what they are saying.

This means not being distracted by phones, televisions, or your kids (<- if possible).

It also helps to mirror your partner's body language.

After your mate has said what they want to say, you can repeat what they said to assure them that you understand them.

Validation is an essential part of listening because it means you empathize with your spouse.

This doesn't always mean agreeing with what they said but entering their perspective.

14. Consider who you hang out with

Think about the people around you.

You may not realize it, but the people you hang out with can impact your life.

If you and your spouse hang out with married couples who are fighting all the time, you will be constantly bombarded with toxic problems, intentionally or unintentionally.

On the other hand, hanging out with happily married friends and family will do the opposite.

These people will lift you up and serve as your inspiration in modeling your married life to be the best it can be.

Whenever you hang out with friends who have a healthy relationship, you are less likely to feel bad and burdened by their problems.

15. Make your partner a top priority

If your main goal is to learn how to avoid divorce, you need to make your spouse a priority in your marriage.

This means putting them above your job, hobbies, children, friends, and anything else that has your attention.

Of course, this doesn't mean you need to forget all aspects of your life outside your marriage.

This will only make way for resentment.

Instead, think about your marriage first.

Have a free Saturday?

Instead of meeting up with your college friends or running errands, spend time with your partner.

There is no need to go overboard in planning dates or quality time.

You just need to make your partner realize that they are one of your top priorities.

Related: 24 Ways To Show Commitment In Your Relationship

16. Learn to compromise

When it comes to marriages, communication is key.

But what if you don't agree about something?

Compromise (easier said than done, right?)

When you marry the person you love, you are mixing what you both want in life.

Then, meet in the middle and find out how to make your desires work as one because that's what's important for both of you.

Find a solution that both of you agree on.

This implies that your marriage is more important than getting what you want.

It also proves that you are going through life as a married couple who makes decisions together.

17. Stay faithful

Finding out your partner has been unfaithful to you is one of the worst things a person can go through.

But how can you do this, especially when your marriage is rocky?

First, be open with each other.

This will help you create a more secure environment for communicating your desires.

Most importantly, limit your opportunity to cheat.

Cheating and infidelity are usually caused by opportunities that open up.

This may involve spending more time with a co-worker of the opposite sex, following random people on social media, or being at a late gathering without your partner.

So what should you do?

Always be critical of these types of situations.

Stay in touch with your partner and put energy back into your relationship. 

18. Take care of how you look

Do you remember what attracted you to your spouse?

Chances are, both of you tried to look your best when you first started dating.

You dress well, take care of your hygiene, and invest time in making yourself look good.

These can be put to the wayside when you have so many things to take care of – your job, your kids, house chores.

However, never forget about yourself.

When you look good, you will also improve your self-confidence and self-worth.

If you think you don't have time to take care of yourself, get rid of your unimportant tasks. 

19. Don't threaten your partner

Conflict is inevitable in relationships.

But both of you need to have a collective understanding that your goal is to make your relationship work if you want to learn how to save your marriage.

Never be tempted to consider cutting ties or threatening your partner with divorce, even when you are hurt or angry.

It's easy to say potent words to your partner that you don't mean when you're in the heat of the moment

This will only make room for more issues that are even harder to solve.

Thinking about divorce is normal.

Over half of married couples between the ages of 25 and 50 have had thoughts about it in the past.

But thinking about divorce is not the same as saying it out loud.

When you threaten your spouse with divorce, it will make your partner think that you do want to abandon your relationship.

20. Don't be afraid to seek help

Laying out all your dirty laundry to someone you don't know may sound immensely daunting for many couples, especially if your marriage is rocky.

However, marriage counseling is there for a reason – because it works.

Sometimes, it can be helpful to have a neutral third party, like a licensed therapist, to help navigate the challenges in your relationship.

Marriage counselors can provide guidance and tools to help you communicate better, address unresolved issues, and work together to build a stronger, healthier marriage.

If you want to know how to avoid divorce, a couples therapist can help you because it enables you to break down all the emotional baggage in your marriage, even those you may not even be aware of.

While counseling can make you realize all the negative things in your marriage, it can also equip you with strategies to work on your relationship. 

If what's stopping you from going to counseling is the cost, think about how much more expensive divorce is. 

If you're experiencing marital problems, and feel like it needs reviving, try one or several of these tips. It might just take one of the above tips to rekindle the fire in your marriage!

  • These are fantastic ideas. I especially love the “coddle night” idea. Number three is probably the key stone principle – pursuit. It is so common for people to take their foot off the gas so to speak once we are married. Each of these ideas is a way we can get things going again. Great article! Steve

      • I’mMatthews .Your article has enlightened and reminded me of some factors that affect the marriage in a negative with even realizing and how to even I overcome

        • Hi Matthews,

          I’m glad that you liked my article 🙂

          It’s easier to concentrate on the negative than actually do something positive for your marriage. Little things can make such a huge difference.

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    About the author 


    Sebastian loves analyzing statistics about anything that has to do with the dynamics in a love relationship. He enjoys researching why people behave the way they do (and drinks horrendous amounts of coffee when he's in the zone).

    He uses his knowledge to help couples in troubled relationships reconnect with their partners and create a perfectly imperfect relationship.

    Dowload my free 14 mistakes ebook 

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