Anybody who has ever exchanged vows at the altar did so with the full belief and intention that their words will last forever. But the pressures and stresses of life can affect even the most robust of marriages, and there have been many unions that have buckled under the strain of demanding work schedules, irreconcilable personalities, perspectives and lifestyles, overbearing in-laws, and even infidelity. However, there are many different ways to try and repair a situation that has seemingly gone off the rails. Here’s a basic guide to getting a marriage back on track.

Heal Yourself

It’s important to take care of yourself in a marriage, and if you feel like you’ve been giving and contributing with no appreciation or gratitude, then you should take some time for yourself before working with your partner on putting your relationship back together. It’s vital for all parties in the marriage to completely bring themselves to the table, and you can’t do that if you’re emotionally exhausted. Spend some time on yourself before trying to resuscitate your marriage.

What’s Stopping You From Being Happy?

It’s hard to fix a problem (or problems) if you can’t identify precisely what is wrong. One method is to think backwards. Couples looking to reignite the spark between them should try and imagine what their perfect relationship would be like, and then see what it is that’s preventing this from happening. Once these factors are crystallized, think of ways to overcome them, work through them, or get around them. But you won’t know what to do unless you figure out what’s stopping you from being happy with your partner in the first place.

Get Advice

Every couple, without exception, has gone through trouble. And while some relationships have ended, there are many more that have survived. Talk to people who know what it’s like for a marriage to hit a roadblock. Talk to people who know you, and you can offer insights into your personality. Talk to counselors, religious advisors, and others who have professionally dealt with struggling couples. However, be careful about telling other people, no matter who they are or what their involvement is, about the problems in your marriage without your spouse knowing.

Burn the Past

Being married to someone means acknowledging, dealing with and forgiving their habits, mistakes and imperfections. It’s easy to vow that at the wedding, but when the seams start to show after many years of wedlock, it’s tempting to use your grievances as ammunition. And that has to stop. A marriage is not about keeping track of the things that irritate you about your significant other. Take the time to write down what annoys you about your partner. When you’re done with the list, burn it. It’s a symbolic nature, at best, but it represents that your marriage should be stronger than remembering what your spouse does that drives you crazy. If they are serious, threatening problem, then they should be dealt with by actual relationship counsellors, therapists, or lawyers. But if you want to refocus your marriage, let go of what bugs you about your partner.