Two Simple Steps to Mend a Marriage


If your marriage is broken you need to take action. A failing marriage can be saved.

Marriages and relationships are easy enough to get into, but it is challenging to make a marriage work when communication breaks down; a challenge well worth your effort in most cases. But what caused your marriage to become distant in the first place? You have to know that before you can mend your marriage.

In one moment you are crazy in love with this gorgeous person and in the next, you cringe every time he crosses your path. What changed between these extremes of love and annoyance?

A good permanent relationship is hard to find isn’t it? Casual hookups in the past soured so quickly they convinced you that relationship struggles are normal. You began to accept that any relationship will be a struggle, and because you don’t want to be alone, you go for it. But in acquiescing to struggle you have set yourself up for marital problems. You cannot build a marriage on this foundation. Of course you are not alone in this, right? It seems that everyone you know has some disconnect in their marriage.

Shouldn’t there be a universal law governing all of this? Shouldn’t forming good relationships be a natural human ability like eating and breathing? Isn’t relationship a central aspect of the propagation of the species theory? We should have a good-relationship gene for heaven’s sake. Instead, we vacillate between the possible but improbable dream relationship, and the probable relationship nightmares that are almost impossible to live with.

Somewhere in that muddled mix of emotions and expectations, there has to be a simple way of nudging our relationships into the dream and out of the nightmare.

Foundations for Marriage

If you really want to simplify this, you could say that you nourish your marriage or romantic relationship by two basic activities. The first is doing things together (things other than sex), and the other is talking to each other. Simple stuff.

So simple that it is easy to forget about them. Have you and your partner stopped talking to each other and doing things together? Life is busy. It’s understandable, but physical and verbal communications are the basis for a good marriage.

If you make time to talk and do things together, your connection will deepen in understanding, joy, and mutual support. Your reality will grow wherever you place your attention, and it will whither in whatever area of your life you withdraw your attention from.

How to Mess up a Relationship

You can do it in a heartbeat. Just remove your attention and focus from spending time together and talking with each other. And if your marriage manages to survive this, you will set yourself up for an even worse fate — you will dumb your relationship down into a numb acceptance of bland cohabitation.

Instead of truly connecting with your husband, wife, or partner, you notice only their small but irritating habits magnified by a focus that is now compulsive; you find more and more to complain about. Soon you lose sight of why it happened — and how simple it would have been to heal your relationship before it got this bad.

Healing a Marriage

Irreconcilable differences prevail in many relationships, but most marriages and relationships are worth saving. That doesn’t mean that mending your marriage will be easy — but it can be.

If you and your lover are no longer loving; if irritation outweighs fascination in your togetherness, then take these two simple steps to heal your relationship:

Plan some projects and do them together. Even if you are at that point in your relationship where you barely talk to each other, decide on something that you will do together. Whatever you do, just make sure it doesn’t include hanging wallpaper.

You know what I mean don’t you? Pick something that you are both comfortable with that won’t cause unnecessary tension. Do some digging in the garden, go for a camping trip, or take a drive to the coast if you happen to live near one. Even if it’s uncomfortable at first — just do it.

Don’t try to fix everything all at once. In fact, don’t try to fix anything except maybe the porch swing. Think of the activity as white noise that calms your mind and absorbs your focus. Simply be there doing whatever it is you are doing together. Nothing more is required.

Finding some problem to fix or home improvement to tackle together is the best way to do this. Maybe there is something broken around the house that you can both fix. Does the garage need a coat of paint? Would a new ornamental tree look perfect in the back garden? Working together to improve your external environment sets you up mentally to improve your love relationship. The analogy will not be lost on your psyche.

Take the Coffee Conversation Challenge to bring those good vibrations back into your conversation. This technique is ridiculously simple.

That is not to say that it is easy. It will be a genuine challenge, especially if the two of you have lost your fascination and closeness in really talking with each other, every day.

It is simple only because: you don’t have to be in your head analysing, and making lists, and learning complex confrontational intellectual strategies for assessing blame and laying claim — that in the end leave you dry, empty, and full of reasons why you should end your marriage.

Here is how the coffee conversation challenge works: You and your lover — who you may have demoted to room-mate by now — will meet once a day, five days a week, at a coffee shop.

Schedule a time each day, perhaps right after work, and pick a location that has a good ambiance. It is important that the time and location remain as constant as possible, and it is vital that you never have this meeting at your home. You must meet in a coffee shop for this to work.

If you try to share this time at home, you will set yourselves up for failure. You will sabotage your intent to communicate by employing all the usual strategies. The phone will ring; you have to answer it; your children want something; the cat is clawing the furniture again.

Don’t give in to the temptation to do this at home. Meet where your distractions and avoidance strategies won’t know where to find you.

So there you both are, in the coffee shop. Perhaps you have just gotten off work. You are tired. You are not sure what the point of all this is. You order a couple coffees. You sit down at the table, and you face each other — now what? This is awkward. You have nothing to say. You stare at each other briefly. You sip on your coffee. You look around at the people on other tables. You wonder if they can see how damaged your relationship is, and you silently feel guilty and inadequate because of it.

All this awkward feeling is exactly the point. You must break through this barrier you have erected between the two of you. If this means staring blankly across the table at each other for the first few weeks, then so be it. Get through it. Do it. Persevere. It is worth it.

You can substitute tea of course, but if you happen to like coffee, it has the advantage of stimulating conversation by activating your mind. You can sit opposite one another in silence for only so long. Soon enough, the coffee will have you talking. Maybe it will be mundane at first. After a while though, you will find yourselves becoming enthused with each other again, despite yourselves. There is no need at this point to discuss issues you have with one another. What you think is important now, may be inconsequential next week. Let things resolve themselves as you pull together again.

Do the time, play the game, be consistent, and you will see the results. I guarantee that if you take this challenge seriously and keep to this simple discipline for a few months, you will re-establish your communications. After a while, you will look forward to these meetings.

Work with those two simple steps of doing together and talking together, and you will absolutely succeed in improving your marriage or relationship.

Can you see the power and simplicity of this?

Over to you now…

2 thoughts on “Two Simple Steps to Mend a Marriage

  1. Ron@TheWisdomJournal

    Some of the best conversations my wife and I have ever had is at a coffee shop, just sitting and discussing things. We have a lot to discuss with three kids, a dog, a cat, a home, my job, her homeschooling activities, church, friends, etc. People who are having problems in their relationships should take your advice and just try to have a decent conversation over a great cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain! Forget your agenda and just talk…

  2. John R. Post author

    Hey thanks Ron,

    Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee Huh? Obviously there are no financial issues getting in your way 🙂

    It’s sad to watch couples lose their ability to talk and be each other’s best friend. I am glad that you and your wife keep that alive and well.

    You said “Forget your agenda and just talk…” I totally agree.

    PS: I just put some freshly ground espresso roast on for a coffee in the garden with my Wife. We really look forward to our twice a day connect time to talk.

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