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Are you starting to have doubts about your marriage? You may have once been incredibly happy with your spouse, and felt truly fulfilled in the relationship. As time has gone on, you may begin thinking that your marriage isn’t as great as you once though it was. Your doubts can fester, and without corrective action you may begin to think it’s time for a divorce.

Before making such a huge life decision, it’s important to ask yourself if you actually put in your best foot forward. Have you just gotten stuck in a rut where you are bored? Do you simply want your spouse to be more affectionate? It’s important to get to the source of your doubts, so that you can communicate your concerns with your partner.

The marriage you keep dreaming about might be the one you already have, but you aren’t giving it a true shot. Before you let your doubts take over, try some of these steps.

Ask Yourself What You Want

The marriage you want to have so desperately, is it really what you want? Is it truly what you need? For example, you might want a marriage where your spouse works in a high executive position of power. However, that would mean you spend less time with your partner because they will be at work more. Is that really what you want, or do you just wish you had a better financial situation? Really identifying the key reasons why you are feeling unsatisfied with your current marriage, and what about a new one seems appealing to you, will help to give you a better perspective.

Set Realistic Expectations

You might be ruining your own relationship by placing unrealistic expectations on it. While we watched Disney movies growing up where the princess found the perfect man that never screwed up, that simply isn’t reality. You are absolutely not going to be absolutely gaga over each other every single day for the rest of your lives, and this perfect “happily ever after” ideal is just setting you up for failure. There is no such thing as a perfect spouse or marriage. Marriage requires a ton of work, sacrifice, and compromise. If you are not willing to put in the due diligence to make your marriage successful, then you have already given up. You can’t expect your partner to be perfect or to read your mind. Communication is key so that everyone is on the same page.

Write a Gratitude List

You might be getting more from your spouse than you even realize, because you are choosing to ignore the positives and harp on the negatives. They might already be meeting some of your needs, but you aren’t appreciating it. Writing a gratitude list of all the things you love about your spouse, and specific moments where they have shown you affection, helped you when you were in need, and the like will help you see exactly how great your marriage already is. For example, are you ignoring the texts they send you throughout the day to tell you they love you, because you are too busy focusing on the fact they didn’t finish the dishes this morning? Thank them for what they have done, and the efforts they make to really show you care.

Share Your Feelings With Your Partner

As stated before, communication is key. Your partner may have no idea that you are even having doubts about your marriage. You can’t expect them to change their behavior if they don’t even know that what they are doing is wrong or hurting you. No one else can fix your relationship for you. If something bothers you in the relationship, you must be willing to say it. Have an intimate, open communication with your spouse about how you are feeling. Share with them the things you wish you were getting out of your marriage, and steps you hope they can take to make you feel happier and secure. Your spouse can bring ideas to the table as well, and if approached correctly it can be a very proactive exercise.

Get Out of the Daily Rut

One reason you may be feeling your marriage isn’t right anymore is because you both have gotten stuck in the day to day rut. Have you guys stopped going on dates because you think you are too busy with the kid’s soccer and school schedules? Have you both stopped displaying affection because you are too busy thinking about your to do list? Whatever it is, it’s time to shake things up. Take that vacation you both have always dreamed of, or promise to have a movie night just the two of you every Tuesday. Don’t get stuck in the feeling of complacency. Create a list of action items you and your spouse can do in order to make your marriage fun and exciting again.

Stop Comparing Your Marriage to Others

Envy is a terrible emotion. You might see your neighbor and think “wow, they sure do have it all”. When behind closed doors, though, your neighbor’s marriage could be battling infidelity, money troubles, or worse. Their grass may look greener from your perspective, but the truth is you do not know the whole situation. When you compare your marriage to others, you will always find ways where your marriage doesn’t live up to your expectations. Stop paying attention to what others are doing in their homes, and start focusing on your own and how to make it successful.

If you want your marriage to work, you have to get rid of these unrealistic dreams and expectations. Change up your thinking and identify the great things your marriage already offers you. It could be one that is fun, successful, and fulfilling but that will only happen if you do the work necessary to make it so.

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