Are you and your partner locked in an endless cycle of discussions, fighting, and power struggles?
Do you love each other but seem to keep hurting each other?
If you’re trying to save your relationship, you’re in the right place. Today, I’ll share my 31 best strategies for salvaging a relationship on the rocks.
Let’s get started.
How to Salvage a Relationship on the Rocks — 31 Strategies
1. Accept Each Other’s Differences
We’re all different — it’s what makes life interesting and is often what attracts us to our partners. There’s a reason they say “opposites attract.”
But over time, those little quirks that you once found endearing might transform into some of your partner’s most annoying habits.
But it would be a mistake to try and change them. This will only lead to arguments and resentment in your relationship. Instead, work on accepting one another’s differences.
2. Hug Every Day
Hugging releases oxytocin — also known as “the love hormone.” It’s the hormone responsible for bonding between humans, so it can help restore harmony to a relationship on the rocks.
Oxytocin also relieves stress, relaxes muscle tension, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, or “rest and digest” response. This means you can both approach the situation more calmly.
3. Try Something New Together
When you first started dating your partner, chances are you did a lot of things together as you got to know each other.
But it can be too easy for long-term couples to stop making an effort and get stuck in a rut.
Trying something new together could help bring the spark back to a relationship on the rocks by reminding you why you liked each other in the first place.
In a similar vein, sharing one another’s interests can help strengthen the bond between you and your partner and show each other you care.
This is easy if you already have the same interests, but others may need to put in more effort. Maybe you could agree to pick one activity or event each per week and commit to going together. Also, try to split your time evenly between your friends and theirs.
5. Be Vulnerable With Each Other
Sometimes couples lash out at one another because they are hurting underneath it all. They may be afraid to be vulnerable and express what they really feel.
This can lead to a vicious cycle of arguments and more pain. But when you open up to each other with vulnerability, you can empathize with each other and create a space for healing.
6. Never Go to Bed Angry
This is an oldie, but a goodie. Don’t let your resentment stew overnight, as you will carry it into the next day. Try to find a solution and calm yourself down before hitting the pillow.
Even if you still feel disgruntled, at the very least, give each other a hug and a kiss before bed.
7. Empathize With Your Partner
If your relationship is on the rocks, it might be a sign of a lack of empathy between you.
Sometimes we become so entrenched in our righteous anger that we become blind to our partner’s point of view.
Setting aside your perspective and looking at it from theirs can help you empathize with them. It will also make your partner feel safe to open up and talk about what’s really going on.
8. Make Time for Each Other Every Day
We get so used to seeing our partners every day that we sometimes look straight through them.
The daily routine, the stressors of life, and buying toilet paper together are among the things that contribute to our partner’s now-found powers of invisibility.
Setting aside some time each day to connect in an intentional way can reduce tension and increase intimacy in a relationship on the rocks.
9. Get Professional Help
It’s always a good idea to talk to a couple’s therapist or relationship coach. The perspective of another person can help bridge misunderstandings and mediate between you and your partner.
10. Date Your Partner
No matter how old you get or how many kids you have — never stop dating your partner. It’s the secret to keeping the magic alive in a long-term relationship.
Make dating your partner a weekly priority, and you might be surprised at what happens.
11. Discuss, Don’t Fight
When issues come up, as they always do, avoid jumping immediately to the defensive. This is a guaranteed way to start a fight.
Try to keep the conversation short. If you can’t find a solution immediately (which is often the case), agree to take a break and come back to it later.
Don’t play games, such as giving them the silent treatment.
12. Learn to Listen
One of the biggest problems with communication is that very few of us actually listen to what the other person is saying.
Effective listening is the key to understanding your partner. Yet, most of us stay focused on our own inner dialog rather than what they’re saying.
Practice active listening the next time you have a disagreement. Listen with the intent to understand, not respond.
13. Improve Your Communication Skills
But listening is only half of the equation. A relationship on the rocks is typically characterized by fights. And when you’re fighting, you’re not communicating.
Once a person raises their voice or starts hurling insults, the other one stops listening, and communication breaks down.
Learning nonviolent communication can help you learn to talk instead of fighting.
14. Eat Together
In these busy times, many of us have neglected the simple act of eating with our loved ones. We grab breakfast on the go as we run out the door, guzzle lunch hunched over desks, and slouch on the sofa over dinner.
Sharing food is a key bonding experience that can help rocky relationships become more stable. Plus, preparing food for one another is a pure act of love and devotion.
15. Work Out Together
There’s a popular saying in fitness circles that “the couple that trains together stays together.” And it’s easy to see why.
Exercise increases our feel-good hormones, such as endorphins, which boost our mood. Other hormones released during exercise actually make people feel more attracted to one another, which is good news for couples.
Plus, it means helping each other grow by setting goals and reaching them, which can bring you closer together.
16. Make Future Plans
It’s essential to make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to what you want your future to look like.
Some differences are too big to overcome — such as one partner wanting children while the other doesn’t.
Making future plans and working toward them together can keep your relationship on track and prevent you from drifting apart.
17. Train Your Mind
When a relationship is on the rocks, it can be easy to fall into the habit of focusing on your partner’s negative aspects.
Remind yourself of the things you love about them and train your mind to focus on them by writing a list of their positive qualities and reading it every day. This can remind you why you got together in the first place and help you fall in love with them all over again.
18. Show Your Appreciation
But don’t just keep your list to yourself. Let your partner know how much you appreciate them.
Give them compliments based on the things on your list. This will make a change from the usual criticisms and accusations and make your partner feel loved.
19. Practice Forgiveness
Forgiveness is the cornerstone of any relationship. We are all only human, and we all make mistakes sometimes.
Recognizing this and being able to forgive your partner for past mistakes is essential for saving a relationship on the rocks.
20. Say “Thank You”
Your mama might have taught you to mind your “Ps” and “Qs,” but we sometimes forget to extend that same courtesy to our partners.
But thanking them for the little things — whether it’s doing the washing up or changing a lightbulb — will make them feel seen and appreciated, which will help reduce any resentment between you.
21. Learn to Compromise
Being in a relationship is all about compromise. By accepting to share our lives with another person, we accept that we will sometimes have to be flexible to accommodate one another.
This doesn’t mean becoming a doormat. Compromise goes both ways — you do it for them, and they do it for you.
22. Laugh Together
Laughter is the best medicine, and that is certainly true in a relationship that’s on the rocks. Try staying angry while you’re laughing — it’s pretty much impossible!
Sometimes something as simple as pulling a silly face can be enough to defuse a tense situation.
But look for ways to laugh together on a daily basis, and it could transform your relationship.
23. Admit When You’re Wrong
No one is ever right all the time, so stop acting like you are. It takes maturity to admit when you’re wrong, and there’s no shame in it — we all mess up from time to time, so it’s best to own it and move on.
24. Say “I Love You”
Don’t say it so much that it becomes meaningless, but say it often enough that your partner knows it.
They say actions speak louder than words, and in many ways, it’s true. But don’t underestimate the power of expressing your love in words.
25. Make Time for Intimacy
In most relationships, sex is an intimate bonding experience that helps maintain a sense of closeness in a couple. But we can get so busy with the daily grind that we don’t make time for the bump ‘n’ grind.
It might not sound very sexy, but scheduling a time for sex is a good way of making sure it actually happens. Plus, clearing your schedule for it means your mind won’t be elsewhere.
26. Give Each Other Compliments
A few words of affirmation and encouragement can go a long way. Don’t let your partner feel like you don’t notice them. If you have something positive to say about them, let it rip.
27. Daily Check-In
This is an exercise I’ve found to be highly effective, both in my coaching practice and my personal life.
Each day (ideally in the morning), set aside ten minutes to talk to each other. Take turns in speaking without interrupting one another. Use active listening, and don’t give your opinion or feedback unless they ask for it.
28. Be Honest
Honesty is another cornerstone of every successful relationship. Without it, you can’t have trust, and without trust, the relationship is doomed.
So if one of you has been lying about something, it’s time to confess. It might be uncomfortable, but at least getting things out in the open will help you deal with the issue.
29. Spend Time Together — and Apart
Spending time away from your partner is just as important as spending time with them. It allows you to reconnect to yourself and remember who you are as an individual — not just one half of a whole.
This also gives you the opportunity to miss one another, which will make you appreciate each other more when you reunite.
30. Shake Up Your Routine
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, especially for couples who have been together for a long time.
Shaking up your routine might look like anything from a weekend away to swapping roles when it comes to housework. Do whatever works for you to prevent your relationship from getting stale.
31. Know When It’s Time to Say Goodbye
Sometimes you have to accept that a relationship just isn’t working, no matter how much you want it to.
If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, it might be time to lovingly say goodbye to prevent you from inflicting further pain on one another.
What are the 5 stages of relationships?
According to couple’s therapist Linda Carroll, there are five stages that all relationships go through.
However, Carroll insists that these stages are cyclical, not linear. That love is a journey without a destination, full of as many ups and downs as any other aspect of our lives.
We tend to think of love as a process that leads to a happily-ever-after, but Carroll says this is a fantasy. Even couples who reach the final stage, Wholehearted Love, eventually cycle back to the beginning, and the process begins again.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the five stages.
This stage is commonly known as the honeymoon period. This is the falling in love stage when your brain is flooded with chemicals that cause an infatuation with the object of your desire.
2. Doubt and Denial
When the infatuation begins to fade, you start to notice the less desirable or less compatible aspects of your partner.
Disappointment creeps in, and you may realize they’re not as perfect as you thought they were.
This is the stage when fights and power struggles come to a head, and the relationship could appear to be on the rocks.
4. The Decision
The relationship becomes characterized by emotional outbursts at this stage, and both partners are ready to fly into attack mode. The situation is at breaking point, and it’s time to make a decision.
5. Wholehearted Love
Couples who make it through the first four stages are rewarded with wholehearted love. The couple becomes closer and better at navigating difficult conversations. Some of the passion of the Merge stage may return.
What Are 4 Signs of a Healthy Relationship?
The definition of a healthy relationship is subjective. What’s healthy for one couple might not be for the next.
However, there are some factors that must be present in every relationship if it is to succeed. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are four of what I consider to be the universal signs of a healthy relationship.
We talked about trust and honesty earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again. Trust goes way beyond believing your partner won’t cheat on you.
It’s also feeling safe to be yourself around them and trusting them not to hurt you, either physically or emotionally.
Good communication in a relationship means talking about everything that’s going on in your lives.
You should both feel free to express your feelings and opinions, trusting that the other person will accept them, even if they don’t agree.
3. Physical Intimacy
For most people, sex is important in a relationship. And there’s no right or wrong when it comes to how often to do it.
But you should feel comfortable talking about sex and asking each other for what you want while also respecting each other’s boundaries and preferences.
Ultimately, being in a relationship is about being on the same team. Your partner should feel like you have their back and vice versa.
How Do You Fix a Rocky Relationship?
If you’ve tried all of the tips suggested above and your relationship is still on the rocks, it might be time to make a decision about whether to stay together or not.
This is a tough decision and one not to be taken lightly. Check out this video from the School of Life to help you decide.
What Does Fighting in a Relationship Mean?
All couples fight from time to time, so fighting in a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
However, if you and your partner are constantly fighting, it may be a sign of a deeper underlying cause. This could be a lot of different things, from the past behavior of one partner to the unsolved childhood trauma of the other.
If you can’t get to the root of the problem between you and always end up fighting instead, consider working with a couple’s coach or therapist to help you resolve your differences.
I hope these 31 strategies will help you get your relationship off the rocks and find the love and bliss you and your partner both deserve. Let me know how it goes.