Is your marriage on life support? You keep watching as the life slowly leaks away from your relationship. Maybe you feel powerless to turn it around. But is it too late?
When a marriage gets into trouble, there are 4 distinct levels to the crisis (this is not the same as the Stages I note in the Quick Start Guide in the System).
Here are the 4 levels:
1) Marriage Issues: This comes along early in the relationship, when the fundamentals aren’t addressed. Beliefs and expectations keep tripping up the couple.
2) Marriage Problems: Issues aren’t solved. So, now there is hurt. Then fundamentals were never solved, and issues were never solved. This leads to the hurt.
3) Marriage Crisis: The hurt from unresolved problems has led to anger and resentment. Both are feeling less motivated to do anything. Both resort to finger-pointing and blame.
4) Marriage Disaster: One or both have given up, and apathy is replacing the anger. Blame is the predominate interaction.
Sometimes, people believe that things are improving, but they are really falling into disaster. Learn the 3 reasons for this, along with what to do at each level in this week’s podcast below.
And yes, these are the problems that MANY people report. Yes, they are painful and hurtful.
BUT, they are not really the problems. They are the symptoms of the problem.
Let’s call these problems the 5 C’s of marital problems, and then lets discuss how you can USE the symptomatic problem to move toward healing the REAL problem.
If you don’t deal with the underlying issue, you will be playing a long game of “Whack-A-Mole,” with problems reemerging under a different guise, but still the same issue.
Ready to learn about the problems — and what the REAL problem is? Listen below.
When you are in the midst of the struggle, it can feel horrible. You can get frustrated and discouraged, forget the reasons why you are doing it, and be ready to throw your hands up in the air in defeat.
Before you do that, let me tell you: What you are doing, IT MATTERS!
Every single day, I watch as people fight through the hurt and pain, the emotions and discouragement, to keep on working on a hurting relationship. I am in awe of that effort. It is truly courageous.
We live in a world of “disposables.” People easily discard anything. Including marriages. They fail to see the hurt, the harm that is caused by pushing it aside. They think they are taking the better, easier way. Instead, they are buying into the disposable culture — only to see the destruction in hindsight.
But you. You have chosen to stand up to that and say, “I want to save this.” It won’t be easy, but it is noble.
Let me tell you why it matters, why this is so important, in this week’s podcast.
I ask, because I have had that experience MANY times in my life, both with my wife and with others.
It is tragic that those arguments erupt in all our lives. They are not the big things, but the small things. And that is the tragic part: many marriages die from a thousand nicks. It is often not the big deals, but the tiny things. In fact, many times, the big deals are a result of the lifeblood lost on the tiny things.
Which raises the question: WHY do we have these arguments? Why do we bicker? (Check out the podcast below)
And then, the second question: HOW to change this pattern? (Check out the podcast below)
And then, your spouse says, “Too little, too late.”
The bubble is burst, the sail’s deflated. Another kick in the gut.
And you feel like giving up. If it is hopeless, why even try?
Because I don’t think it is hopeless. I have seen MANY situations where a spouse says this, and the marriage is saved. (And yes, I have seen times when a spouse says this, and it turns out to be accurate.) There is one problem: you can’t know on this side of the crisis.
Sometimes, it is not “too little,” and it is not “too late.” It just isn’t over yet. The work is only underway, not completed.
I give 5 steps to moving beyond “too little, too late” in this podcast training. Listen below.
I’ve noticed that as a rule, when I am driving my car, I am better served by looking out the windshield than looking in my rear-view mirror or turning around and staring out the back window.
Turns out that is pretty much true in life, too. When we get focused on looking backward, at where we have been, we rarely get to where we want.
Many people, and many couples, stay focused on what is behind them. Nothing can change, nothing will shift, but there they watch. The history becomes the focus.
If that is the case for you, let me suggest you shift your focus. Face forward and lets decide where to go, not be caught in where you’ve been.
Listen to the training below.
It is not about “communication,” no matter what you hear (from friends or a therapist). Most people communicate just fine. They have another issue: perception. How they perceive each other, that is the bigger issue.
And then the trap is laid.
Perception and connection. They create a downward spiral (unless you escape it) that traps you into a fall into disconnection.
I call it the Perception/Connection Trap. You have perceptions of each other (that are always at least partly fictional), and you have some level of connection. When your perceptions of each other are poor (negative), your connection begins to falter. When you are feeling disconnection, your perceptions grow more negative. Which leads to further disconnection. Which leads to further negative perceptions.
The spiral downward.
The bad news is this pattern traps many couples into a painful marriage crisis.
The good news is that you can escape the Perception/Connection Trap. And the great news is that you can use the reverse of the cycle to re-grow the connection and the relationship.
Learn how in this week’s podcast trying (and if you find it helpful, please use the SHARE buttons below).
Connection Tools & Resources
Happy Couples Do Differently: Connection
7 Stages of Disconnection
5 Communication Errors You May Be Making
Why We Don’t Change (And How To)
Save The Marriage System
I know, because I have seen it happen. Someone will say to me, “I’ll try anything to save my marriage.” And they try everything.
Book after book, resource after resource, and unfortunately, trick after trick. They leave themselves exhausted and their spouse confused.
Doing “anything” often ends up being “everything,” which ends up doing “nothing.”
What a difference, though, when someone finds an approach that agrees with their ethics and worldview, from someone who is qualified to help, that matches their situation, and passes the “smell and taste test,” as well as the “mirror test.”
The marriage has a chance. The relationship can get some traction.
We live in a world full of information. That information is not the same as knowledge, and often far from wisdom. It’s just information.
Learn why “doing anything” is dangerous, and the 5 steps to assessing everything you see. You CAN create a plan that works, with an approach that fits, when you know how to assess the information.
Just the other day, I received a message from someone who said she wanted to save her marriage BUT she was afraid. She told me about the fear that gripped her, SO she couldn’t work on saving her marriage. I tried to have a discussion with her, but she had a mistaken belief that her fear was keeping her from saving her marriage.
It was not her fear. It was her. She was keeping herself from working on saving her marriage. Fear = background noise, at least in the process of saving your marriage.
Fear should never choose your actions. Fear should never dictate what you do (or don’t do). But many times, it does.
You probably already know that EVERYONE feels fear. And many of us forget that fear is just that — a feeling. We make it real. We make it some determining factor in what we can do. Fear can keep you stuck. But it doesn’t have to. That choice is up to you.
Discover how to keep your fear from keeping you stuck (notice I did NOT say “how to not feel fear”) and how to move forward.
Recently, I had a series of trainings and podcasts on myths you need to know (and avoid). I wanted to pull those resources together for you, so you could quickly digest and use the information.
Here are the Top 10 Myths trainings (just click the headline):
(. . . and some bonus information on saving your marriage. Just click the headline.)