35 Marriage Experts Share How to Save a Marriage

By David Small •  Updated: 05/08/19 •  25 min read

It is a question that many people, unfortunately, ask themselves at some point in their lives, How do I save a marriage that is falling apart?

35 Marriage Experts Share How to Save a Marriage

Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

Most marriages start off great and then little things that created that bond and link with your partner slowly ebb away.

This reduction of connection can be so subtle that you don’t really notice it until some years later, when it may be too late. But, it is important to note that a lot of marriages when they reach this stage, can be saved.

It takes a lot of time, effort and it may put you in situations that make you uncomfortable, but the love and connection that brought you together with your partner can be reignited. So sit back, take a deep breath and listen to some of the most respected experts on the subject of relationships and marriage.

1. Mort Fertel

Mort is all about transformation and reinvigoration when it comes to answering the question of how to save a broken marriage? He talks of marriage in the same terms as you would talk about going to the gym and concentrating on working on a particular muscle group.

Once you get your marriage in shape, then all of your other problems should dissipate and you can go about actually falling in love again. It is all about the present and the relationship you are in now, not about the negative aspects of previous relationships.

Relationships that you have had either romantically, with friends or other members of your family in the past do not matter, it is all about the present and the future relationships.

Mort Fertel, Author of Marriage Fitness,marriage coach and the creator of  FREE confidential marriage assessment, said that the use of “POSITIVE relationship exercises” will transformed your marriage.

2. Bruce Friedin Ph.D

Bruce has a great viewpoint on how to save a broken marriage, mainly by not letting the relationship get broken in the first place. The focus is on avoiding the areas or subject matter while married, that often leads to misery.

The topics are wide ranging but include having fun in your relationship, which is often overlooked when dealing with day to day life and just getting by.

Anger control is another subject that is very important, once you can control your anger, then you are halfway to resolving a conflict. Talking about something in a calm and concise manner is a key to conflict resolution.

3. Nan Silver

One of the main concepts to answer the question of how to save a marriage on the brink of divorce is to acknowledge that you will argue and fight as a couple. But, you will need to stay away from harmful activities if you do find yourself in the throws of an argument.

Nan Sliver lets us know that It is easy to become defensive and critical of your partner while arguing. You may avoid answering questions and will talk over your partner, which also leads to contempt on both sides. Therefore, it is important to try and change these habits, try and turn the argument into a conversation (even if it is heated).

Answer questions and let the other person know how you feel and take on board their feelings also. It is hard to do, but the animosity that can linger after an argument can linger on for days, weeks and years and will act as a cancer to your marriage.

4. Dr. Gary Chapman

How to save a broken marriage is something Gary embraces with his book 5 Love languages. It is all about how you understand your partner and this being the key to the successful growth of a relationship.

“Everyone gives and receives love differently, but with a little insight into these differences, we can be confidently equipped to communicate love well.” – www.5lovelanguages.com

So, it acknowledges that even though you have this strong connection with your partner, it doesn’t mean they are experiencing this love in the same way as you. Therefore, they will express their love for you in different ways, maybe not as apparent as you show your love, but they still love you very much.

5. Marcus and Ashley Kusi.

Marcus and Ashley Kusi can really help you move forward if you are thinking about how to save your marriage when only one is trying.

They focus on the mainstay of any relationship which is communication. Many people feel that they are putting in the time and effort into a relationship and they don’t get the same from their significant other.

That feeling of one-sidedness can be extremely harmful to a relationship. But, in saying this, you always have to remember to realign your expectations to fit with that of your partner. There is no point expecting something from your partner that you are never going to receive.

“..Having unrealistic expectations will increase the chances of your ideals being unmet. Remember, you cannot change your spouse, only yourself…”Marcus Kusi

It isn’t about settling, it is more about compromising and finding a way forward where you can both connect and move forward.

6. Alex and Stephen Kendrick

The Love Dare is a best selling book that challenges the reader to ‘Dare’ yourself to make changes in your relationship. These challenges may help you to understand how to save a marriage that is on the brink of divorce, by giving the relationship a shock to the system.

Scripture is used a lot in The Love Dare, but whether you are religious or not, the meaning is still relevant to anybody in a relationship.

“If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. —Mark 3:25” – Alex Kendrick

It is an obvious statement, but one that you need to keep reminding yourself about if you want your relationship to be successful. Dare and push yourself to understand and fix what is wrong in your relationship. Once you act on this, then you will start to reap the rewards and your relationship will start to blossom.

7. Kathleen Mates-Youngman

Kathleen approaches the subject of how to save your marriage by getting the couple to engage and talk by presenting 30 guided conversations. They must get through these conversations to understand each other and how they both feel in their relationship.

The process of making time to sit down and talk about certain subjects forces the couple to confront areas of their relationship that they may have wanted to avoid. Therefore, it presses on subject matter that absolutely needs to be resolved in order for there to be a healthy relationship.

8. Gary Thomas

Gary focuses on a Sacred Marriage and its connection with God and how this can help you save a marriage showing problems. When people are at their lowest they turn to God, and your connection with God can help you to resolve and understand your differences with each other.

“we must labor to comprehend another hurt. Just when we want to point out the fallacies and abusive behavior of someone else, we must ruthlessly evaluate our own offensive attitudes and behaviors.”  – Gary Thomas

It is a great quote from Gary, you have to understand something from your partner’s point of view, even if you are worked up and really don’t want to. This way of empathizing is key to having a healthy relationship and will help you grow from any conflict that you may have.

9. Dave and Ashley Willis

Dave and Ashley’s focus is on Nakedness’ and how it can be used to understand how to save a broken marriage.

Now, they are not only focusing on the literal meaning of the word but also figuratively speaking. How you need to lay your emotions bare to your partner and be metaphorically naked in front of them.

“…but it’s in those moments that we need to do our best to forgive one another as quickly as we can. This won’t be easy, but it is necessary to pursue healing and restoration”  – Ashley Willis

So, once you open up to your partner and they have opened up to you, it is very important to forgive the things you see as negatives and move forward as quickly as possible to resolve any conflict.

10. Emerson Eggerichs

Emerson pushes himself into the fray on the subject of how to save a marriage when only one is trying. He focuses on the love that a woman needs from her man and the respect a man needs in order to love his woman.

Emerson Eggerichs PhD is the author of the bestselling book, “Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs“.

“When a husband feels disrespected, it is especially hard to love his wife. When a wife feels unloved, it is especially hard to respect her husband.”Emerson Eggerichs

This quote highlights the differences between men and women when it comes to being in a relationship. These differences must be acknowledged and your partner’s basic desires need to be met before you can rectify your relationship.

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11. Cindy Beall

Cindy concentrates her efforts on how to save a marriage during separation. Focusing on marriages where trust is broken and then trying to find a way forward and rehabilitating the relationship.

After having her own trust broken by her husband, she finds a way forward through God to forgive her partner in life.

“Those who discover that their partner has been unfaithful should first make every effort to forgive, reconcile, and restore their relationship.”Cindy Beall

Therefore, however much it hurts, you need to work on it. However much you feel humiliated by the break of trust, you have to find a way to conquer those feelings and regain that trust with your partner.

It may take time and a lot of patience, but if the love is there, you can get through it.

12. Steven Stosny Ph.D. and Patricia Edd Love

Now, Steven and Patricia have a completely different view to most of the previous mentions above about how to save a marriage. They believe that actually, the best way to fix your marriage is to not talk about it!

It sounds completely far fetched, but they concentrate on not forcing the man to converse as you would do with your girlfriends. This method is based more on actions and their reactions to each other.

“Fix your partner firmly in your heart during four crucial times of the day. Hug your partner six times a day for six seconds. Hold positive thoughts about your relationship. Make a contract to hand out love with compassion and generosity.”Pat Love

So, in short, show your affection rather than talking about it. Accept the biological differences between men and women and don’t try and force things on one another that they will not naturally embrace.

13. Alicia Muñoz LPC

Alicia approaches the question of how to save a marriage that is falling apart by walking the couple through a 20 minute exercise each week. These exercises challenge the participants in many areas of their relationship, areas like self-care and intimacy.

The approach is based on making sure bad feelings and emotions do not escalate and all about speedy conflict resolution. One of the worst things in a relationship is to not open up and let things linger, it causes resentment and even more hostility over time.

14. John Driver

John Driver, along with Dave and Ann Wilson wrote about the Vertical Marriage and it’s connection to saving a marriage when only one is trying.

A vertical marriage is one which is directly related to Christ. They believe that the ‘Horizontal Marriage’ can’t succeed without that vertical connection with Christ being strong in the first place.

Once you take time to learn the scriptures and how they relate to your relationship, then you can really start to reflect and hone your relationship within these special ‘codes of practice’.

15. John Gottman Ph.D

John Gottman has all of the tools to help you answer the question of how to save a broken marriage. Gottman has worked with thousands of couples through therapy for many years and has coined The Gottman Method that many practitioners use today.

His book detailing a 5 step guide has been hailed as revolutionary by many and really gets to the basics of what to work on and improve in a relationship.

“…you create a new climate of praise and gratitude in your life. Instead of getting bogged down in people’s faults and mistakes, you get swept up in a fruitful search for reasons to say ‘thank you’.”John Gottman

As you can see, a big part of the approach is to change your outlook on life in general and not just on your partner. By doing this, you can cure most things that are troubling you about your relationship.

16. Jimmy Evans

Jimmy Evans tackles many subjects but he really helps to answer how to save a marriage during separation. He contributes to a great marriage website with many vlogs to help couples overcome any bad situation they find themselves in.

Anxiety and fear can be huge blocks to a relationship, it is about confronting those fears in oneself. Turning to God can help you overcome those fears and anxieties and improve your life and therefore your relationship.

17. Dr. Henry Cloud

Boundaries in marriage are extremely important to help you understand how to save a broken marriage. Dr. Cloud emphasizes on each person’s personal boundaries and how these must be respected and understood for a relationship to blossom.

“When you cease to blame your spouse and own the problem as yours, you are then empowered to make changes to solve your problem.”Henry Cloud

Henry’s perspective is all about understanding you as a person before you can move on to understand your partner. Own up to these problems and fix them, as in most cases, your problems are a huge part of the issues coming between you both.

18. Francis and Lisa Chan

Frances and Lisa Chan focus on how to save a marriage by also focusing on a couple’s relationship with God. It is about seeing marriage as more than just a connection between two people. These two people need to accept God and the role he has to play in the marriage.

“Many people will tell you to focus on your marriage, to focus on each other; but we discovered that focusing on God’s mission made our marriage amazing.”Francis Chan

So, when you start to focus on God and not the issues or problems you are facing, you can start to understand the bigger picture of why the two of you became connected. Then the trick is to focus on your relationship and understand how it ties in with God.

19. Michael S. Sorensen

Validation is the key to overcoming issues within your marriage. Once you understand this, you can start to figure out how to save a marriage when only one is trying. Michael focuses on this validation between couples as being key to fixing issues and creating stronger bonds between you both

“More often than not, people who vent or complain already know how to handle their current situation—they’re just looking for someone to see and appreciate their struggle.”Michael S. Sorensen

This hits ‘The nail on the head’, most people when they are projecting just want somebody to listen to them. Someone to validate what they are saying, to listen and understand. Understanding the frustrations of your partner can really help to calm them down and reassess where their problems are coming from.

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20. Jonathan Robinson

Jonathan also focuses on communication being key in working out how to save a marriage that is failing. Even if you think you have a great relationship, his advice on communication can really help you enhance your relationship.

“…a healthy relationship is where two people support each other in being happy together, as well as help each other to find happiness within themselves…” – Jonathan Robinson

A lot of people within a relationship focus on their own happiness first. Once their happiness is fulfilled then they are able to project that into the relationship as a whole.

This personal happiness is important, but you really need to focus on your combined happiness. There are two people in the relationship, making sure the relationship is happy will improve your personal happiness.

21. Bento C. Leal III

Bento gives couples actionable advice on how to save a marriage. These practical insights really help couples to move forward with any troubles they may be having. Nurture is a key aspect, you will need to cultivate the relationship for it to grow into a healthy one.

“Real Love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves.” –  Bento C. Leal III

This quote may seem obvious, but although a lot of people profess this, in reality, many people are really looking out for themselves. Focusing on the happiness of our partner is somewhat of an afterthought.

It is very hard to be extremely selfless in a relationship, but if you are, then you will get the rewards from this.

22. Matthew McKay PhD

Most people would just like to think that love is the key to helping you process how to save a marriage. But, in reality, it takes certain skills that need to be learned and developed for you to have a successful marriage.

“working together will almost always get faster results. You will both be focused on the same goal, and each of you will reinforce and support the other. You will each feel valued and cared for when you see the other trying”Matthew McKay

Supporting each other is the key to this approach, you need to be focused on the same outcome. You need to help each other to achieve that outcome before you can say that it has been successful. Approaching all relationship orientated obstacles together will help you overcome them.

23. Mira Kirshenbaum

Mira focuses on trust in a relationship to try and determine how to save a marriage on the brink of divorce. She not only talks about the monumental breaking of trust like an affair, but also about the smaller breaks of trust. These smaller trust issues can be created on a daily basis and they are just as important to overcome.

“Broken trust can heal more quickly than most of us have thought…”Mira Kirshenbaum

It is a reaffirming quote, a lot of people state that once the trust is gone, then the relationship is gone. But Mira gives all couples hope that there are certain steps you can take to heal, restore and grow from trust being broken in a relationship.

24. Dr. Bethany Marshall

Bethany’s focus is concentrated more on the man creating the ‘Deal breaking’ actions. So if the woman is trying to understand how to save the marriage when only one is trying? (That person being her) is to understand what elements over time need to be fixed in order for the relationship to move forward?

“..they are qualities that erode your most cherished aspirations for a satisfying love relationship..”Dr. Bethany Marshall (Talking about ‘Deal Breakers’)

So there are always things that you may have been aware of at the start of a relationship that you probably overlooked. These things get magnified over time and evolve to a point where they become make or break.

Basically, your husband’s actions in certain areas need to be resolved. If you can’t see that resolution happening, then you need to make the decision to stay or to go.

25. Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.

Miguel and HeatherAsh Amara identify Seven Secrets to answer how to save a failing marriage. You need to understand these secrets and add them into your daily routine. Once that is done, then you can really benefit from them and grow your relationship.

“When we become too attached to an ideal, the first thing that we lose is respect; first for the people around us, and eventually for ourselves.”Miguel Ruiz Jr

One of the key aspects when being in a relationship is dealing with expectations. Having unrealistic expectations of your partner will be detrimental to the relationship and in the long-term to yourself. Understanding your partner and their strengths and weaknesses is key to a healthy relationship and healing any rift between you.

26. Barrie Davenport

Barrie confronts couples with 201 relationship questions in order for them to find out how to save a marriage. Making couples ask these questions weeds out any pain points that may come up in the future.

Hitting these points head-on before they even become an issue is key. This free and open communication can create more trust and understanding within a relationship.

“By exercising some self-control, even when strong feelings make us want to say unspeakable things, we create a safe space for open communication, understanding, and deeper connection.”Barrie Davenport

Let’s face it, we have all said things we have regretted while in the heat of an argument. By stepping back and taking control of your emotions, you allow you and your partner to express themselves in a meaningful way. Therefore, you are in control of a situation that may otherwise have gotten out of control.

27. Emily Cook Ph.D

Emily brings marriage counseling right into your living room, by trying to answer the question of how to save a broken marriage.

The chances are whatever you are going through, many others have gone through the same thing before. Emily gives you real-life case-studies and outlines the main challenges that you might go through when in a marriage.

Identifying specific issues is key to growing and fixing your relationship. Once the issues have been identified, then you can start the process of healing and repairing these issues.

Many people get stuck trying to wade through multiple issues at once, taking a breath and identifying individual issues will let you both concentrate on how to overcome those issues more effectively.

28. Michele Weiner Davis

Michele focuses on what many people see as one of the main causes in trying to understand how to save a marriage. She looks at sex  within a relationship and the stigma about women with low sex drive. Men resenting Women for their low sex drive is only part of the story, men also can have little interest in sex.

“To be disinterested in sex is to feel less than a man. Just thinking about low libido, let alone talking about it, strikes terror in men because it threatens the very foundation on which their feelings of self-worth are based.”Michele Weiner Davis

This highlights that men too can be a main cause of lack of sex in a relationship. In order for a relationship to thrive, it needs this physical touch to be reignited within a relationship. Michele focuses on trying to realign mismatched sexual desires, so that both people feel satisfied and valued.

29.Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo

Bringing Intimacy to the forefront of a relationship can help you figure out how to save a marriage that is falling apart. Helping yourselves to get out of the rut you find yourself in is one of the keys to improving the physical connection between you and your partner.

Tony and Alisa bring a very business oriented approach to creating a successful marriage. They combine key steps that are methodical and clear for each couple to follow and adhere to.

Bringing back the intimacy within a relationship can be a struggle.  Knowing you have a problem and showing that you are willing to solve it is an important step. Bringing back intimacy into a relationship can be one of the most rewarding experiences, it can lift you and your partner back up from the doldrums.

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30. Sarah Mitchell

Sarah has literally written a book on How To Save Your Marriage and gives you 100 ways to turn a broken relationship into a thriving and successful marriage. Evidence from scientific studies and a whole lot of research go into the 100 ways Sarah suggests you can turn around your relationship.

Of course, Sarah goes into depth on communication and romance being some of the key areas. But she also tackles things like finances, conflict resolution and relationships with friends and family to give you an all-encompassing look into how to fix your marriage.

31. Matthew Kelly

Matthew approaches the question of how to save a broken marriage by looking into how couples express themselves to each other and how intimate they are. Many people are scared of being vulnerable and showing that side of themselves. If they finally expose themselves and experience rejection it can put a relationship back a whole lot.

“Withholding love is a bit like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Matthew Kelly

When you are not intimate, then you are withholding something from the relationship. Everybody desires intimacy but are only comfortable in showing affection at certain times or at certain levels. Understanding previous and current relationships with friends and family can help you on the road to opening up and bringing that intimacy into a relationship.

32. Dr. Bea M. Jaffrey

Dr. Jaffrey focuses on how to save a failing marriage by looking at the many mistakes people make in the bedroom. A big percentage of couples are unsatisfied with their sex lives, fixing this area of a relationship can be key to revitalizing any relationship.

Physical touch and closeness are what many people crave when they are with their partner. For a whole host of reasons, people are unwilling to vocalize this want and instead keep their feelings pent up. This is of course, no good for anybody and needs to be rectified.

If you still have a sex life but are not satisfied by it, then you need to look into the problem areas that might be causing you to not enjoy it. Once the issue has been identified you can work together on learning what each other needs when in the bedroom.

33. David Schnarch and James Maddock

David and James take a fearless look at solving sexual problems within a relationship and it’s key to understanding how to save a marriage that is falling apart.

They tackle the subject head-on by highlighting the bad areas of a couples sex lives and using these to enrich and grow from. This, in turn, focuses the couple on what they need to improve and work on as a couple.

A couple needs to explore their relationship through sex and piece together the overall puzzle. Once they do this, it will trickle into other areas of the relationship creating an even stronger bond.

It will be a bond that is built around showcasing each other’s vulnerabilities and accepting your partner’s strengths and weaknesses. Focusing on each other’s strengths especially in the bedroom will improve a relationship exponentially.

34. Lee Baucom

Lee Baucom takes the age old question of ‘how to save a marriage?’ and simplifies it in 3 easy steps. It is not simply about saving a marriage, he asks you to transform your life in general and then subsequently the relationship you are in.

“…more and more couples (especially young couples) are becoming less committed to their marriage. That explains why divorce rates are on the rise…” – Lee Baucom

This highlights that modern marriages are much more built on high expectations and here and now gratification. Therefore, when things change it doesn’t meet their needs and there is no motivation to fix things. This can be the basis of so many relationships, you need to have the love and desire to invest into your relationship, if it has any chance of surviving.

35. Gary Smalley.

Gary has written a multitude of books on relationships that will help answer how to save a failing marriage. His focus on forgiveness can be so poignant as it is a very important part of fixing a relationship that has hit the rocks.

Whether you have broken your partner’s trust or they have broken yours, the only way back is to forgive the other person. You may not forget, and it will always be there in the back of your mind, but you have to let it go at some point. This ‘letting go’ is part of the forgiving process and is essential if you are serious about picking up the pieces of a broken marriage and putting it back together.

So, how do you actually save a marriage?

You have read differing theories from some of the greatest minds on the subject of relationships and how to save a marriage.

Most of the advice focuses on talking and communicating. But putting yourself in situations that might make you uncomfortable and empathizing with each other is also extremely important.

Identifying problem areas in your relationship and working together to resolve them must also be high on the priority list.

Be intimate with each other both physically and emotionally. If this is an area that is lacking, then you need to act on the reasons why and overcome them as soon as possible.

Finally, a connection with God seems to have a great bearing on how you grow as a couple and how you can resolve conflict in your lives. Once you take on board what God has to say, you can benefit from this wisdom and grow together.

David Small

is the founder and editor of relationshiptips4u. He is a dating, marriage & relationship coach, speaker, and author. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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