It has been asked of me whether one person can learn how to "fix" a broken relationship. There is no black and white answer to that. It most likely depends on the degree of discord involved. If you are in the state of “I want to have a better relationship” and your partner is not or will not be working toward the same end, the chances of improvement will be decreased but don’t give up because you never know just when your partner might get enthusiastic as he or she notices your changes.
The tips below are for anyone trying to figure out how to fix a broken relationship. These are tips you can and should use in this very moment -- particularly if it is only you working to make changes in your relationship.
- Say “I love you” to your partner and yourself often – and mean it!
Help in the moment: Go into the bathroom. Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself one thing you like about yourself. Anything. Good feet. Nice smile. Good posture. Whatever. Just something and do it now.
- Use any and every tool in your toolbox to remind yourself where your commitment resides.
Help in the moment: You’ll need a bit of preparation for this one. Get a 3×5 card and write on it 5 reasons you want to make your relationship work. Don’t use a lot of words. Keep this card handy – in your purse or somewhere where you can read it quickly when you aren’t sure why you are doing this.
- If you can’t say it well, don’t speak – yet. But don’t sweep it under the rug.
Help in the moment: Shut your mouth. Say: “I’ll be back. I need a timeout.” Go to another room and calm down.
- To communicate well and be received well, remember: Timing, Place, Resolved emotions, No judgments, Respectful, thoughtful words and manner. If you have something particularly difficult to communicate, make sure you have processed your feelings and then warn your partner that they probably won’t like what you have to say.
Help in the moment: Shut your mouth. Say: “I’ll be back. I need a timeout.” Go to another room and calm down.|
- Think back to your moment of power – that time when you felt the most love and respect for your partner. Maybe it was a wedding ceremony or other special event to commemorate your love. Whatever it is, use memories of it as a way to easily rediscover your feelings of deep respect for your partner.
- Play the Gratitude Game often. If it doesn’t work to play with your partner, play with your friends or your kids.
- Remind yourself to appreciate what your partner does. It will help keep that “giving feeling” between you flowing because you’ll each feel valued.
- Keep maintaining the perspective of what’s truly important.
Help in the moment: Preparation needed. Write all the things you appreciate about your partner on a 3×5 card. Keep it handy. Use it when you want to quit or scream or some other unproductive thing that will not get you the relationship you want.
- Have a conversation about what sacredness means to each of you and together create a ritual, a date, an event – a way to bring this quality into your ongoing relationship life. How can you bring this quality into your life now?
As you are learning how to fix a broken relationship, if you can’t create the sense of the sacred in your relationship right now, create for yourself some time -- even 5 minutes a week -- where you acknowledge the things in your life that you see in that way. Maybe it’s your kids or your pet or another relationship you have in your life. Maybe there are places that feel holy to you – houses of worship or the beach or the forest. Whatever you consider sacred.