Posts Tagged :

I can\’t save marriage

Fooling Ourselves. . .
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

FoolingOurselvesWe don’t mean to, but we do.  We fool ourselves.  Yep, humans can be dishonest with others, but we can also be dishonest with ourselves.  In fact, we do it every day.

It’s bad enough we can be dishonest with others.  But ourselves?  Yep.  And it can sure get in the way of saving your marriage.

Usually, when we are fooling ourselves, we relieve ourselves of responsibility.  And if it isn’t our responsibility, what can we do?  (Or so we tell ourselves.)

Let’s talk about several ways we are dishonest with ourselves. . . and how to change that!

HELPFUL RESOURCES:
Why to Save a Marriage
You Need a Plan
Save The Marriage System

Save The Marriage Video: I Keep Messing Up. What Do I Do?
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Do you find yourself in a panic, making a crisis even worse?  Does that mean you can’t save your marriage?

Time to discover what you need to do if you want to save your marriage, even if you are making mistakes.  Let’s face it:  you are in the midst of a crisis, and most of us do not do well with fear.  But that doesn’t mean there is no hope.  We just need to get you back on track!  Learn how to save your marriage, even if you keep messing up!

Video: What If My Spouse Wants A Divorce?
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Has your spouse asked for a divorce?  Are you wanting to stop the divorce.  Can you save your marriage, or is it too late?  We look at these questions in this video.

My belief is that you can STILL save your marriage, but let me tell you more about that in this video.

Video: Why Should I Save My Marriage?
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Another video to answer another common question:  “why should I save my marriage?”  Sometimes, we get discouraged, see no way to get things to change, and are ready to give up on saving a marriage.  But is that the right choice?  Are we making a wise choice when there are so many swirling emotions?

Explore the answer to the question of why you should (or should not) save your marriage!

Saving A Marriage Requires Reaching Outside of Yourself
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

At its best, marriage calls us to reach beyond ourselves, to love and show love to another. Two people doing that is magic! Both people are meeting the other person’s needs, and getting their own needs met. But what happens when that process begins to fail? The process is like a whirlpool, sucking the relationship down.

John and Susan were caught in that process.  In day-to-day life, a wonderful marriage slowly decays when energy isn’t added in.  That was true for these two.  John was running after a successful career.  Susan was working, but had eyes on a family.  While both felt the stress, they decided “now or never,” and launched into parenthood.

Time was eaten up by children’s events and work demands. . . or at least that is what Susan and John kept telling themselves.  But in reality, every day, they chose to NOT spend time connecting, NOT spend time together, NOT nurturing their relationship.  And like any neglected muscle, their love began to atrophy.

For a while, life can pull you through this.  But eventually, the relationship finally rises to consciousness.  Unfortunately, neither John nor Susan thought “Wow, I am really not putting into this relationship.”  Instead, both began to ask themselves, “what am I getting out of this?  Where is the love coming toward me?”  Unfortunately, right after asking themselves that question, each answered with “if I am not being loved, I am going to stop reaching out with love.”

The relationship further deteriorated.  But now, instead of benign neglect, it was fueled by anger and resentment.  John finally announced, “I have had enough.  You don’t love me, I don’t love you.  I am leaving.”

Susan was devastated.  She told folks “I knew we had problems, but I thought we had made a commitment.”  But in her own head, she was thinking, “How dare he say I wasn’t loving him.  HE wasn’t loving me!  This is HIS fault.”  And John was equally convinced that Susan was at fault.

The moments of doubt, about how each might have played a role, was justified in each of their minds, pushed away by blame.

Was there a way out?  Yes.  Would it be easy?  No.

If either had set aside blame, and decided to release their hurt, anger, and resentment, there was a possibility.  Either could have reached out toward the other, providing love and support.  That might have saved their relationship, and restored the flow of love between them.

A seemingly easy thing to do, but hard in practice.  Why?  Because we humans are so good at self justification.  We continue to use our own thoughts to prove our reality.  And we all have one well-established tape playing in our minds:  “It’s NOT my fault!”

It really isn’t either person’s fault, but that message keeps either from asking “what can I do to change this?” and then acting on it.

Marriage is about reaching out, over and over, toward the other, until it is a habit.  Sometimes, it is made for difficult by anger and resentment.  Sometimes, it is flexing atrophied muscles.  But sustained effort in the direction of the other can save your marriage.

Don’t be sucked down the whirlpool!  Reach our toward the other.  Ignore that voice saying “it isn’t my fault,” or “why should I reach out?” or “I will if he/she will.”  To quote one company, “Just do it!”  Reach out in love, and see what happens!

“Can EVERY Marriage Be Saved?”
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

I get asked this quite frequently.  And my answer is “No, not every marriage can be saved.  But many more can be saved than are.”

Here is what I mean:  a solid marriage is created by two people.  However, one person can choose to end it for any number of reasons.  Sometimes, the reason is good.  For example, someone may choose to leave an abusive relationship.  Or someone may decide that being married to an addicted person is hurting them too much to stay.

But many times, people end marriages for the wrong reasons:  they feel unloved or unaccepted, they think somewhere else or someone else is better, or they think that they have lost love.

These are all issues that can be addressed and solved, and once it is solved, the marriage can even be stronger!

But many people are unaware of another solution.  And sometimes, people want to take the “easy way out.”  I put that in quotes because in the end, divorce is no easy way out.  It just pretends to be.

Marriage takes effort.  Marriage takes knowledge.  Marriage takes two people willing to let down their defenses, and to join together as a team.

Can every marriage be saved?  No.  But can YOUR marriage be saved?  You won’t know until you give it a try.  Learn what you need to in order to save your marriage here.

“How Dare You Tell Me To Save My Marriage!”
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

. . . that was the opening line from an email I just received. The writer was clearly angry, feeling that I was pressuring her into saving her marriage.

So let me be clear, I DO NOT pressure people into trying to save their marriages. Obviously, I do think that marriages should be saved, but I leave the decision to do that with the couple. I am not on some crusade to save every marriage. I am, however, available to help people who want to save their marriages.

There are some who simply believe marriage is a bygone relic of past days. Those folks tend to be people justifying their behavior. Marriage has withstood the test of time as a way of 1) raising a family, 2) finding intimacy, 3) growing and developing, and 4) finding happiness and meaning. Not every marriage makes it that far, but the potential is there.

Should every marriage be saved? No, I am quite clear that I do not think people in abusive relationships should save their marriage. That said, the choice to discard a marriage seems to be taken very lightly these days. It is as if there are no consequences.

Yet study after study shows that children are negatively impacted by divorce. Earlier studies showing differently have been disproven.

The emotional toll on the couple is huge. In time, people do recover, but not without time and effort. That same time and effort would likely have yielded a happy marriage. Funny how that works out!

Financially, a divorce can be devastating. The average cost of divorce in the United States? $20,000. That is the average. Saving a marriage? Almost free!

Oh, and that doesn’t factor in the loss of equity in real estate, worth of retirement funds, loss of savings, child support, maintenance, and lots of other costs that people seem to lose sight of on the way out the door.

Do I force people to save their marriages? Absolutely not! Do I think MANY marriages that end could be saved? Absolutely!

Again, it is a couple’s choice on whether to work to save a marriage. I just know that when people are in pain, we become short-sighted and take what we think is the most direct approach to getting rid of the pain. Unfortunately, it often gets us to chase the wrong target.

If you want to know how to save your marriage, count me in. If you’d rather not, I wish you well.

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More marriage saving information can be found in my ebook, SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE HERE.

Four “You’s” Could Save Your Marriage
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Just a couple weeks ago, one of my clients gave me a bit of business advice that’s been directly applicable to saving a marriage. I wanted to share it with you.

My client, who is a businessperson, was telling me that there are four important “you’s” that are crucial for a business. They are crucial for any relationship. And they can be used in your marriage, starting today.

Here are the four “you’s:”
1. “How are you?”
2. “What can I do for you?”
3. “Thank you.”
4. “I appreciate/love you.”

Those are the crucial four “you’s.” Do you see the power in them? Do you see how you could use them in your marriage? Do you see how those are not happening in your relationship?

What would happen, if you don’t already do this, to have a conversation in the evening about how your spouse is doing? I don’t mean the quick “how are you?” I mean really wondering how your spouse is doing. I mean sitting on the back porch and asking how your spouse is really doing. How often does this happen for you? If you’re like most people, especially with troubled relationship, that conversation did not happen.

Or, what about asking what you can do for your spouse? Oftentimes, when relationships get into trouble, couples instinctively stop doing for each other. In good times, you may ask about what your spouse might like, what you could do for him or her. But when things get tough, the question often falls by the wayside. We start thinking “if you don’t do for me, I won’t do for you.”

Yet that is exactly what might get the relationship moving forward. When one spouse makes some forward motion toward the other spouse, often he or she responds in a similar manner. It might not happen the first time, but that does not mean you don’t do it again. In fact, you keep doing this one. As long as it takes!

Or how about. “Thank you?” Again, when the relationship is not well, this is something that we often stop saying. In fact, we stop even noticing that our spouse is doing doing anything for us. That only compounds the problem. When we stop noticing, people stop acting. So, in addition to doing for your spouse, look for what your spouse is doing for you. Then thank him or her.

The final “you” is about letting your spouse know that you appreciate him or her. You may not be ready to use the word “love” at this point, but can you let your spouse know what you appreciate about him or her? When marriages get into trouble, one thing that happens is that we feel completely unappreciated. We start acting in ways that continue that. In other words, if I don’t feel appreciated, don’t do anything to be appreciated. So, this one is letting someone know that they are appreciated.

By letting someone know this, the other person might begin to act in more appreciative and appreciable ways. At the very least, he or she will know that you are noticing what he or she is doing.

Many marriages could be saved simply if the other person felt appreciated and loved. The four questions can easily move you in that direction. Make it your habit to use these questions.

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More marriage saving information can be found in my ebook, SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE HERE.

Stop Reviving, Start Thriving: The Video
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

So, this is the place to let me know what you think about the video! Any suggestions, disagreements, kudos? Just comment!

If you haven’t seen the video, you can do so by CLICKING HERE!

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More marriage saving information can be found in my ebook, SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE HERE.

Top 10 Ways to NOT Save Your Marriage!
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Here is my Top 10 Ways to NOT Save Your Marriage! This is a partial list of the mistakes I see people make when they want to save their marriage. Sometimes, it is best to learn from others’ mistakes, rather than make it yourself.

10) Do nothing! Don’t worry, the crisis (problem, situation, incident, threat, etc.) will pass!

Ah, the old “bury your head in the sand approach!” The reality is, it is very unlikely that the crisis will simply pass. Let’s be honest: over time, this strategy builds up more and more resentment, then finally, everything falls apart. You can act surprised at that point, but you will know, deep down inside, that you ignored things way too long.

It is a cumulative effect, a marriage crisis. Rarely is there one “precipitating event” that suddenly ends the marriage. Instead, it is the problem ignored that adds to all the other problems ignored, which finally creates so much frustration that the “house of cards” falls.

So, the first useless strategy, just do nothing!

9) Refuse to get any outside help. Who needs it? You can do this yourself!

When you are in the middle of a marriage crisis, it is not time to “figure it out!” One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein, “the same level of thinking that created the problem will not solve the problem.” In other words, when we only use the thought processes that led us into trouble, we will not find a way out of the problem.

We all get stuck in our thought patterns. Once we establish them, we don’t change much. Think about it: don’t all of your spousal arguments basically follow the same pattern. Doesn’t your daily routine pretty much go the same? We like “sameness,” and change is a bit of a threat. Even the painful sameness is better than the unknown — at least that’s what we tend to believe.

Problem is, we find ourselves stuck, and without outside help and information, nothing will change, even if you want it to.

8) Grab some “free advice!” Hey, free is good, right?

Almost always, free advice is worth about that — nothing! When you are injured, do you seek out some “free advice” on that injury? Or when you need some legal advice, do you just get some “free advice?”

So why, when your most important relationship is on the line, would you just try to use some free advice? Look, we live in a “transaction society.” We make trades and transactions to get what we don’t have. And knowledge is no different. People who give away advice are rarely giving away anything worthwhile.

The real question, if free is your goal, is how much do you REALLY treasure your relationship? If I told you how to save $20,000 instantly, would you pay for it? Well, that is the minimal cash value of your failed marriage. In other words, a divorce in the U.S. averages $20K. Save your marriage, save $20K.

And what about having a wonderful, loving, peaceful marriage? What is the worth of that? Really, what price would you put on that? I ask because I know of plenty of people who think nothing of grabbing a $4 coffee drink every day, a couple of $3 packs of cigarettes every day, a $30 bottle of wine on the weekend, subscribe to a $100 cable system, blah, blah, blah. Then, when they go looking for advice to save their marriage, want to find some free advice.

It is always about value, and the value you place on your marriage. Free advice? Probably more costly than you can ever realize in the long run.

7) Get some good books, then leave them on the bookstand. Maybe your spouse will at least think you are doing something!

We authors don’t like to admit this, but statistics show that upwards of 80% of self-help books that are bought are never read. Imagine that! The answer may be right there! You took the time to get a resource, either because the cover looked nice, somebody recommended it, or because you were desperate.

Then, onto the bedside stand it goes, underneath the magazines, the daily paper, that good novel. . . then suddenly, it is lost.

The very bit of information that could save your marriage, stuck at the bottom of a stack, never to be read. Sound familiar? If so, time to dust off the information and give it a read! At least give it a chance. You’ve already invested your money in it. Why not give it a test drive?

6) Read the information, but then don’t do anything! It won’t work in your situation, anyway!

OK, so you dusted off that information, and even read it. . . but then you took no action! Maybe the information seemed impossible, far-fetched, too easy, too complicated, or just dead wrong! Now you do need to use your better judgement, but perhaps it is worth a try!

What you’ve been doing has clearly not gotten the results you wanted. So, perhaps it is time to try something new. Sometimes, new thinking seems foreign, unnatural. But it is really like anything new: repetition builds skill. What seems awkward begins to feel more natural. Suddenly, what seemed impossible seems elementary.

Again, remember Einstein’s quote. Doing what you’ve done hasn’t gotten you what you want. What’s the risk of trying something different?

5) Get bad information from unqualified sources. Hey, any information is better than no information. . . right?

As you have already discovered, there are lots of “experts” willing to make a buck, er, tell you how to save your marriage. Be sure your “expert” is really just that. At a minimum, make sure they actually have some training, not just their own experience! They don’t have to have a Ph.D., but if they can’t tell you about their training, other than “been there, done that,” move on!

Experts are experts because they have worked in the field, received training, and have some ideas on how to help you. The others are experts in marketing. Be sure and distinguish between the two.

Remember way back when the barbers who cut hair were also the “doctors?” They weren’t trained, caused lots of damage, but that was the only choice. Well, we don’t live in the “wild West” anymore, and there are plenty of real experts. Get their advice and avoid the damage of well-meaning but ill-equiped “experts.”

4) Do everything at once! Hey, if a little is good, a lot is better. . . right?

Wrong! Many marriages have suffered from neglect for too long, until one day someone wakes up and says “enough.” Then the other person jumps into high gear! They try to make “date nights,” meaningful conversations, do the housework, get another job. . . just about anything to make it work!

Instead, pick a couple of things. Be consistent with them, and try a slow approach. Building from zero takes some time. But if you try the “everything at once” approach, you will scare your spouse away.

3) Argue, beg, plead, and show your emotions. Surely your spouse will see your sincerity to save the marriage!

This is a very common situation. You see, we all are master “scriptwriters,” often ready for Hollywood. . . at least in our minds! We assume a spouse will see the wisdom of our logic, emotions, begging and pleading. Problem is, they are working off a different script.

If I throw someone a rope and when they grab it, I start pulling, their reflex is to pull back, matching power with power. It is no different in verbal tug-of-war. The harder I try to convince someone of something counter to what they have said, the reflex for that person to become even more entrenched in the belief.

So th
e arguing, “reasoning,” begging and pleading have the opposite effect and actually hasten the dissolution of the relationship.

2) Let your spouse know your theory about how this is really about their “issue.” Then they will see how unhealthy they are!

Here is how to throw even more gas on the fire: when your spouse says he or she wants to leave, point out how it is a) their midlife crisis, b) they are never satisfied, c) really about their dysfunctional family, c) some other diagnosis you read about or saw on Oprah or Dr. Phil.

You may be dead-on! Problem is, you are not going to be seen as an objective provider of a diagnosis. Instead, you will only be strengthening the sense of frustration that your spouse is feeling. Diagnosis is best done, if at all, by an impartial, outside expert or by one’s self.

1) Try to prove how much you need them! Surely, just seeing they are needed will get them to stay!

Neediness is never attractive, and when someone wants to leave, feeling the neediness only throws fuel on the fire. People want to be wanted, but not desperately needed! And in the midst of a crisis, the last thing someone wants is to feel manipulated.

I’ve seen people threaten to kill themselves to prove how much they need the other person. I have seen people refuse to pay bills, eat, take care of the kids, take care of the house, etc., etc., etc. And in every case, the person who wants out says “see?” It’s hard to argue with that. Being needy is never attractive, and is even more so when someone wants nothing more than to not be needed.

Well, that is MY top ten list of how NOT to save a marriage while trying to save it. I could go on for many more. I think I have seen every mistake possible.

My hope is not that you become discouraged, but that you think through what you are doing and how you are doing it as you try to save your marriage. There is little more noble or heroic in today’s society than trying to hold a relationship together. I just want to stress the need to do so in helpful, not harmful ways.

So, what are your list? In other words, what mistakes have you made in your efforts to save your marriage?

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More marriage saving information can be found in my ebook, SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE HERE.

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