I’ve always believed that inaction is actually a form of action. When you know a problem exists and you do nothing to help change things, you are making a strong statement about where you stand.

If you know your marriage is not what you want it to be—what you hoped it would be—doing nothing to change things says a lot about where you stand. And sure, the lack of action doesn’t necessarily mean you are giving up on your union, but it does mean that you are so tired and discouraged you feel like doing nothing is the only option you can manage at the moment.

I get it. When something you’ve given your all to seems to be going south, sometimes you don’t know what to do next. And that feeling of confusion can lead you to do nothing.

But doing nothing will only cause more damage. It would be nice if a damaged marriage could repair itself with time and silence, but we all know that isn’t true. We all know that nothing worth having gets “fixed” on its own. We have to make tough decisions. We have to be willing to put in the work.

As we prepare for a new year, we have to think about what we want our marriages to look like. Where do you want your marriage to be on December 31, 2016? Do you want an entire year to fly by only to find yourself in the exact same place?

When you feel like your marriage is in a bad place, there are only two options. Both people need to actively work at building the marriage up, or the marriage will inevitably get torn down. Even if there isn’t fighting or serious drama going on, the silence between partners can be just as damaging. Unresolved pain and resentment can destroy a marriage.

So what are some signs that your marriage is being torn down? A few signs are:

  • Silence feeling like the norm
  • Avoiding intimacy
  • Disrespecting your spouse
  • Failing to communicate
  • Constant arguing
  • Looking for an emotional connection elsewhere
  • Making important decisions without consulting with your spouse

These are just a few examples of things people do that can tear their marriages down. Although this is just the tip of the iceberg, it shows how some of the day-to-day things we do may contribute to the destruction of a marriage.

But a damaged marriage can be saved. Of course every marriage is different, and some marriages may be beyond repair, but that isn’t the case for most people. Most people can work on building a stronger marriage if they had the right help and could take the right steps towards repairing the damage.

So what can you do to build your marriage up in the new year? Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Go to counseling or therapy
  • Do research to select a counselor or therapist that will make you and your spouse feel comfortable
  • Show more gratitude
  • Stop pointing fingers
  • Make time to connect
  • Share your dreams and plans
  • Become more involved with your church (as a couple)
  • Own your part
  • Be kind
  • See the good in your spouse
  • Make dating a priority

These tips won’t fix anything overnight. Frankly, nothing will fix your marriage overnight. Regardless of what you do to make your marriage stronger, it requires attention, time, and patience. It also requires consistency. Going on one date or helping your spouse out by doing one load of laundry doesn’t change much. You have to consistently change how you interact with your spouse if you want things to improve.

Don’t walk into 2016 just saying that this is the year you will make your marriage work. That isn’t enough. Walk into the new year thinking about all of your feelings, thoughts, and habits related to your marriage, and develop an action plan that will help you and your spouse focus on building. If you put all your focus on that, you will find that you have very little time for tearing down.

So what are you planning to do to build your marriage up in the new year? I’d love to hear from you,