Repair Your Relationship

Step 4: Choose a strategy

Let's review the steps you've taken so far. You've learned about realistic expectations for marriage. You've determined exactly what you want to change about your marriage. You've asked your partner for what you want. Now, you'll learn new techniques for changing the nature of your relationship. These strategies will help you get your spouse's attention quickly and lay the groundwork for more positive interactions. As you've learned so far, every marriage has its share of arguments and issues. But the key to this step is learning new ways to get through these difficult times. Chances are, the methods that you've been using so far are either ineffective or could at least use some fine-tuning. If you want to learn new ways to resolve disputes within your marriage, it's time to get strategic. Rather than guessing about what works best -- and what doesn't -- you're going to develop your own system for creating subtle changes in your relationship.

The first step in this process is creating a Solution Journal. For this exercise, you can use the free online [journal tool] here, or simply use a regular journal, such as a notebook or diary. Its purpose, of course, is to keep track of what you do that works. You can do this in the freestyle version of your choice, or you can follow the guidelines below. Either way, you should pay close attention to what you do that prompts even a small positive response in your spouse. Here are some things that you might want to include:

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