Do you treat each other like polite (or not so polite) strangers? Does it feel as if there is a wall between you? Are you wondering if it’s even possible to reconnect with the person you once loved so much?  Well, according to Dr. Dana it absolutely is possible!

Dr. Dana’s Ground Rules

Let’s cover some ground rules.  These will help you and your spouse work together to create positive change:

1.     Don’t blame! In fact, blaming is one of the most common mistakes that couples make when “working” on their marriage.  They focus primarily on what the other person is doing wrong and take little to no responsibility for their part in the couples’ problems or issues.  Focusing on blame only drives you and your spouse further apart.  Instead, look for solutions: new behaviors and positive choices.

2.     Don’t “nag” each other! While making new choices and learning new behaviors, if you note something you believe applies to your partner – do not say, “See! (Implied here is, ‘You idiot!’) That’s exactly what I’ve been saying all along!  Why haven’t you listened to me?”  Instead, focus on yourself and your own choices.   Are those choices helping the situation move in a positive direction or simply contributing to the overall problem?

3.     Do have loving discussions - and by that I do not mean, holding hands and singing “Kum-by- yah” together – instead, I mean: be honest, open and (gulp), vulnerable.  Understanding that this may be incredibly difficult for couples that are hurting, we spend a considerable amount of time in our System teaching couples how to have loving, productive discussions.

4.     Do have the courage to talk about what’s really going on with you in your marriage. For example:  When you are frustrated and hurt that your partner is working long hours and paying very little time and attention to you and the kids, he or she won’t understand what is really going on with you if, rather than being gently straightforward about your real fears, concerns etc., you instead, criticize him for never making dinner, disapprove of her “improper” technique when putting the kids to bed or complain about the lack of sex.  These complaints won’t let them know what’s really going on.  Instead, take the time to self-reflect and determine what you are really feeling and what is really causing it.  Then kindly, lovingly and without blame, discuss your feelings with your spouse.

Following these ground rules will make the experience of working on your relationship go much more smoothly.

To learn more about using Dr. Dana’s ground rules to help your relationship using our online videos and downloadable exercises, check out our StrongMarriageNow System.

Have you used these kinds of “ground rules” in your relationship before?  Did it help?  Please comment below.

If you feel like you need more than these "ground rules" to motivate your spouse to work on the relationship, check out our solution "How to Get Your Partner Checked Back In."

Check Out Our Video: How To Regain the Love, Rekindle Passion and Save Your Marriage

Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com