At this point, one of three things has happened. One, things have changed dramatically. Two, things have improved slightly. Three, everything is exactly the same, or worse. Of course I hope that you fall into one of the first two categories, but now it's time to examine your progress and decide whether to stick with your strategy or choose another one.
For this step, find a quiet, private place and answer the following questions. To make the next steps easier, I recommend that you record your answers in your journal.
- On a one-to-ten scale, where would you say your marriage was prior to starting the workshop?
- Where on the scale would you say you are right now?
- Are you satisfied?
- If not, given that things are never perfect in a marriage, where on the scale would you need to be in order to feel satisfied?
- What might be one or two things you could do or that could happen that would bring your marriage up a half step on that scale?
The questions you just answered should help you determine whether you've met your marriage goals, improved your marriage or remained stagnant. Now, find the category below that best describes your situation:
I've accomplished my goals
If you've accomplished your goals, congratulations! The time you've put into improving your relationship has clearly paid off, and undoubtedly your spouse and children (if you have them) are also much happier and more secure. Of course, the job isn't over.
More categories: I've improved my marriage, but still have more work to do AND I'm discouraged
I've improved my marriage, but still have more work to do
If you've made any progress toward improving your marriage
What might be one or two things you could do or that could happened that would bring your marriage up a half step (from a 7 to 7 1/2) on that scale?
For example, you might say, "my husband will have to tell me that he loves me again," or "my spouse will have to agree to spend more time in the evening away from the computer." Over the next few weeks, tell your spouse what you want him to do using a positively-stated, action-oriented and doable request. You also need to ask yourself this question:
What could I do that would make it more likely that he is going to want to make those changes?
For example, your answer might be, "I need to appreciate the small things he does," or "I have to be more patient when he's late."
Two other questions to keep in mind during this phase of your relationship repair are, "How much longer would these positive changes have to stick in order for you to feel that this improvement isn't a fluke?" On the other hand, "What would have to happen in order for you to feel that a bad day was just an isolated incident and not the beginning of a downward spiral?"
Reevaluate your progress weekly. Keep using your Solution Journal to learn more about your relationship and see how far you've come every week. Pat yourself on the back and be proud of your well-spent efforts!
If you've failed to see any progress so far, you probably feel very down. But there are many reasons why your strategy may not have given you the results you were hoping for. The following list includes the most common reasons why people's marriages remain stagnant. Read through it and try to determine whether one applies to your situation:
- You haven't given a method sufficient time to work before trying something else.
- The strategy chosen isn't different enough from your usual approach.
- You're overlooking the small signs of change.
- Your attempts at change were halfhearted.
- You reverted to your old ways.
- Your spouse is involved with someone else.
- Your spouse has decided your marriage is over.
Keep the positive changes going
Congratulations! You've come such a long way since you started this workshop. If you've gotten this far, you must have learned some effective ways for improving your marriage. Between steps one and five, you set new and personal goals for your marriage and you've learned about the methods that do
Now that you've finished: