When two people vow to love each other and to take good care of each other no matter what the cost, in sickness and in health, richer or poorer till death do they part; they form a life-long commitment that should not be taken lightly. When the going gets too rough to handle, how can two people save their marriage? Better yet, can a broken marriage still be saved? It is a wonder how a beautiful and ideal marriage can turn sour in a matter of years, some even just a matter of months. It could be that these two people got married hurriedly without getting to know each other well. For some, there is just no way for them to be together in marriage. Most marriages experience difficulty because of lack of communication between spouses. Sometimes, spouses have become too familiar with each other that they live together without taking the time to know the other’s feelings. Sometimes, marital obligations become so heavy and time-consuming that a day goes by without the spouses talking to each other. There are spouses who have become so familiar with each other that they have forgotten that they are still two different people who need to respect the other for their individual qualities. Sometimes, the basic niceties like thank you and please or excuse me are forgotten as couples live their lives together. Too much familiarity with each other can sometimes ruin a marriage. Some married people disregard their spouses just because they are already married and they think that there is no need to woo the other. This is a wrong notion of marriage because the wooing should not stop at the altar. It is important to know when a marriage needs fixing. Most often, couples have become used to ignoring each other and living with each other physically without the emotional connection that it is already difficult to see the signs of a problematic marriage. So how do couples know that they are falling apart and their marriage needs to be looked into? When two people who used to have fun together stop laughing at and with each other, then they should stop and look at what they have. Do they still have a relationship or has it been ruined by the challenges faced by married couples as they go through the trials of life? The first sign of an ailing marriage is when the spouses no longer have fun with each other. It is understandable for spouses to go about their daily tasks especially when they have children to feed and take care of. However, when weeks pass and you are no longer aware of how the other is doing and you no longer exchange knowing glances, then you have a troubled marriage that needs to be saved. One way of dealing with an ailing marriage is to open your communication lines. No matter what the problem is, you can still solve your marriage if you talk and listen to each other. However, the spouses have to decide for themselves first whether they want to save the marriage or to just let it go. Saving a marriage is not easy. In fact, it is easier said than done. This is particularly true if the spouses have already caused so much damage to the marriage and they have hurt each other’s feelings beyond repair. This is why it is important that both parties be willing to address the problem and to sacrifice and solve the cause of the problem. Dr. Joan Butler and the entire staff of Family-Centered Programs, invite the residents of Winston, Choctaw and Oktibbeha Counties to take advantage of the many workshops being offered through the Building Strong Families project. Family-Centered Programs is division of the Starkville School District, located at 410 Green Street in Starkville, Mississippi. For more information regarding the programs call 662-615-0033. Submitted by: Dr. George Miller, Project Manager for Building Strong Families Healthy Marriage Project a U.S. Health and Human Services initiative.