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  • Writer's pictureJoan M Sotelo LMFT, LPC

How can we start the journey to a better marriage?

Updated: Apr 1

I wanted to write this blog to talk about one of the most important aspects of getting from a place of feeling stuck and hopeless to actually beginning to move forward in a positive direction towards healing and repairing your marriage. I have seen this time and time again in my work with couples, and this is what I have learned: Those who choose to shift their perspective from focusing on all that has been and currently is wrong, to now focusing on all that is possible, have a greater advantage at creating a successful marriage. It’s a critically important part towards moving forward, but it is also something that will continue to keep a couple stuck if it doesn’t change.


Most of the time we hope and wish we will get in life what we want. But, for the most part, life tends to bring to us the things that we expect to get. That being the things that our mind constantly dwells on, be it negative or positive. Sometimes we hope for wonderful things (like a love filled marriage), but deep inside we expect negative (that the marriage is not going to work out and things won't improve). This is why it is extremely important that we use our thinking to focus only on that which we truly desire and on the action steps we can take to get there.


  • Sometimes it is very challenging to see past the current circumstances of where we are. We are overwhelmed by the unresolved hurts from the past, the pain of disappointment, and negative tension within our relationships. We lose sight of what is possible because we have gotten accustomed to the negative and we fear to hope for positive change because “what if it doesn’t happen?”  But, as David J. Schwartz so eloquently states:

“The important thing is not where you were or where you are, but where you want to get.” - David J. Schwartz in Magic of thinking Big

If you think nothing will change in your marriage, nothing will. If you think of how things can change and put your focus on that positive thought pattern, then… and only then will things begin to shift.


So what is it that you really want?


In couple’s therapy, I ask partners to set a clear vision for what they would want their marriage to look like ideally. As I tell them, you won’t be able to achieve the relationship you want, or the life you desire, unless you can first clearly define what you want. So the first step is to set a clear goal and define a clear vision for what you want to achieve.


In the book Magic of thinking Big, David J. Schwartz gives this great description for what a goal is. “A goal is an objective, a purpose. A goal is more than a dream; it’s a dream being acted upon. A goal is more than a hazy “oh, I wish I could.” A goal is a clear “this is what I’m working toward.”


Start by setting a clear goal for your marriage. What do you want to actively, intentionally create in your relationship dynamic? Do you want a stronger friendship or more intimacy? Do you want more trust, connection, and better communication? Spend a few minutes visualizing in your imagination what it will be like and how you will feel when you finally have that ideal relationship you desire. Then, make it a goal with action steps so that you may conquer that.


For example: a couple may make this their goal “we desire a strong friendship where we have fun and feel free to talk about anything”. So then, the action steps that follow should be making joint commitments of what you can do to work towards that goal. The husband may say: “I will plan a date night on the 2nd Friday night of every month to prioritize quality time with you”; while the wife may say: “I will make space to give you undivided attention for us to talk about our day after the kids go to sleep”.


Don’t stay stuck in the mere wishful thinking for a relationship to hopefully be better someday somehow… Describe what you want in your relationship and make it a joint goal that you both work toward accomplishing together. Having unity in conquering a goal together helps you feel much closer to one another.


You may need the help of a counselor to help you navigate your goals and figure out how you can come together and join in fighting the good fight of winning your relationship back!


Every couple and every relationship may need to have different goals and different areas that they need to improve on and heal. But even though everyone may need different goals, everyone needs to start that journey of change by first knowing exactly what they want. A clear vision for where your marriage is going sets the environment for hope and for growth.


Expect good things to happen in your marriage, focus on the possibility for healing and change, visualize a relationship full of love, connection, security, friendship, laughter, companionship, and unity. Stop the negative thinking that tells you things won’t change or your spouse doesn’t care or can’t understand you… There is a solution, there is a way to heal; you may just need a little guidance and help to get there.


If you don’t know where to start that’s what we are here for at Roots of Hope.


We are passionate about helping restore relationships and we would love the opportunity to work with you in your journey towards healing and improving your marriage.


From your Roots Of Hope Team!

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