Top 10 Myths About Divorce

Top 10 myths about divorce.“For every piece of information,” the writer told me, “about how divorce hurts a child, I can show you research that it doesn’t harm a child.”

Admittedly, the writer was a bit biased.  He was wanting to divorce his wife.

I knew he wasn’t listening to me, but I also know he is completely wrong.  There is NO research that shows a child is unaffected by divorce.

But there is a preponderance of evidence that divorce does, indeed, affect a child.  Does it destroy a child?  No.  But it does affect a child.

In a culture that would rather look the other way and not look at the damage of divorce, this has been a growing myth about divorce.  It defies logic (divorce does, after all, change what a child has known as family and safety), and it defies research.  The little “research” from the ’80’s that proclaimed children are unaffected, has been completely undone.

There are other myths, like being friends after the divorce, or the belief that divorce will “set you free,” or that people recover quickly.  And these myths mean that many people jump into a divorce, looking for a “clean slate,” only to find that reality is quite different.

What are these myths?  Let me give you my top 10 myths of divorce.  Listen below.



By |October 7th, 2015|Save Your Marriage Podcast|0 Comments

The First Thing That MUST Change. . .

The first thing that MUST change to save your marriage.“Jack” was dancing around my office: pacing, sitting, jumping up, sitting down, pacing. . . .

Jack’s wife just revealed that she did not want to stay married.  22 years of marriage.  Gone.  Jack was in panic mode.

“What do I do?”, he repeatedly asked.

To be honest, Jack had already done a number of things I would have advised against.  He was already behind the proverbial “eight ball.”

Jack’s determination was actually getting him into worse trouble.  His efforts were in the wrong direction, confusing, and only leading to more anger.

So, Jack asked me where he should start.

I knew what Jack wanted.  He wanted what we all want:  a shortcut, an easy technique, a secret “ninja move” that would turn things around.

But as is true with most things in life, it is a bit more complicated than that.

“Jack,” I said, “take a deep breath.  Sit  back and listen.”  Jack struggled with that, but he did it.  Until I told him that something else had to change first:  his mindset.

In fact, Jack and I discussed 5 ways his mindset had to shift.  I share those 5 areas with you on this podcast.  I tell you what needs to shift, and how it needs to shift.

Even if you have been trying to save your marriage for some time, this is important.  You may not have even made that first shift that is crucial for anything to move forward.

Marriage Is A WE
Taking Responsibility
3’s of Saving Your Marriage What’s Your WHY
The System to Save Your Marriage
Book:  How To Save Your Marriage in 3 Simple Steps


By |August 12th, 2015|Save Your Marriage Podcast|0 Comments

Separation: Can It Save Your Marriage (Or Cost You A Marriage)?

Can separation save a marriage?You want to save your marriage.  Your spouse seems to only want to destroy it.  That is a pretty common scenario for people who visit my website.

And so, I often have the question asked, “Should we separate?  Will a separation save my marriage?”

Can a separation save a marriage?

Short answer:  yes, it can.

Longer answer:  a separation can save a marriage, but it is statistically unlikely.  And in my experience, a separation is a step in the wrong direction.

Fairly recent statistics show that around 79% of couples who separate end up divorced.  In other words, 8 out of every 10 couples who separate will divorce.

I view separation as an absolute last resort to save a marriage.  It is, in my opinion, that unlikely to help.

But here is the thing:  if you are stuck in a conflicted and hurting marriage, it can be a very appealing solution.  And yes, you can find “fans” of separation.  There are people who tell you it is an important step in restoring a marriage.

Those people are ignoring the statistics.

They are appealing to your sense of relief that can come from a break in the conflict.

But are there better solutions?  Absolutely. Here is one.

In this podcast training, I tell you why separation is problematic — so that you understand that.  I also tell you how to structure a separation, if it is inevitable and a last resort.  Listen below for help with separation.

Article on Separating
Save The Marriage System
Virtual Coaching Program (IF you have the System)


By |July 15th, 2015|Save Your Marriage Podcast|0 Comments

The Science of Saving Your Marriage: #65 Save Your Marriage Podcast

Turn toward your spouse.Sometimes, it all just seems like opinion.  Lots of people with lots of opinion on what you should do to save your marriage.

But what DOES science tell us about saving your relationship?

It turns out, LOTS.

Today, I want to cover one small piece of the puzzle.  This is one piece of research you can IMMEDIATELY apply to your relationship.

Better yet, you can apply this researched response, regardless of what your spouse chooses to do (or not do).

This one piece of information was proven to be 94% accurate in predicting whether a couple stays together or divorces.  That’s pretty strong evidence!

Listen, and start applying today!

If you are ready for even more help, all based on the most current science of relationships, email me at Lee@SaveTheMarriage.com and I will link you up!


By |November 13th, 2014|Save Your Marriage Podcast|4 Comments

Are You Courageously Compassionate? Doing What Needs To Be Done: #49 Save Your Marriage Podcast

courageous compassion can help your marriage.When we feel close to someone, compassion is easy.  It comes naturally.

But when we are hurt or angry, when we feel disconnection from someone, compassion is harder.

That is when you have to be “courageously compassionate.”

Sometimes, we let our feelings “call the shots.”  We get stuck.  We give up.  Or we become so frantic that we cause more problems.

But what happens when you change your perspective?  What happens when you view your spouse from a different perspective — a compassionate perspective?

Find out in today’s podcast, an encore presentation.

By |July 23rd, 2014|Save Your Marriage Podcast|1 Comment

Is Your Marriage Chronically Stuck and Acutely Painful?: #42 Save Your Marriage Podcast

Save your marriage in spite of chronic hurt and acute pain.Is your marriage in a chronic state of stuck?  Does your relationship suffer from acute periods of pain?  Often, those moments of acute pain lead to a chronic state of “stuck.”  But that chronic state of “stuck” also creates the potential for more moments of acute pain.

Feeling stuck can lead to reactions of pain and anger.  And those flares of pain and anger simply adds to the feeling of being stuck.

Do you stay stuck or do you leave for something better?  Or do you find a third solution:  a way to move the marriage out of stuck and to what Relationship Coach Annette Carpien refers to as having a “juicy marriage?”

Annette should know.  She is a part of my team of highly skilled, highly trained, and highly effective Relationship Coaches.  But more than that, she has traveled the terrain.  She went from stuck to “juicy marriage” in her own life.  gling

In this podcast, Annette and I discuss how to break through the pain, how to break through the stuckness, even how to break through a desire to quit the relationship.  We talk about how your thoughts get in your way, how to stop struggling with your thoughts, and then how to choose your thoughts.

We discuss some habits you can make for yourself to “rewire” your behavior and your brain, and how to shift your relationship to one of vision and possibility.

Ready to discover and build a “juicy marriage?”  Please take a listen.

By |May 28th, 2014|Save Your Marriage Podcast|1 Comment

Secrets To Save Your Marriage

How To Save Your MarriageAs you may suspect, after a quarter century of working with couples, I have some opinions on what it takes to save your marriage. In this article, I want to take a look at some of the research and offer some opinion, from my experience, on what works and what doesn’t.

Let me start by saying there is one major distinction between marriages that are saved and marriages that end: ALL of the marriages that are saved have someone who took action.

Just for clarity and disclaimer information — I am not under the delusion that every marriage can be saved. But I do believe that many more marriages could survive and flourish, if given the chance.

But often, a spouse doesn’t want divorce, but doesn’t know what to do. So, the spouse starts on a process of education. He or she reads, listens, watches, and learns. . . and then does nothing to change the relationship. Knowledge is only power when it is applied.

Then there are those that find lots of information — and some of it is conflicting. So they start in one direction, then read something else and start in another direction, then hear something and head off in another direction. Instead of doing nothing, they do everything!

The person who does nothing is showing the spouse that he or she doesn’t care — even though that is completely untrue. Certainly not a sentiment you would want to portray.

The person who does everything appears inconsistent and manic. Often, this becomes proof to the spouse that things really are bad — and their spouse is erratic. Imagine, for instance, that one piece of advice says to be warm and welcoming. You do that for a couple of weeks. Things don’t change, so you read about trying to make your spouse jealous and make them feel your absence, so you reverse your actions 180 degrees. Don’t you think your spouse will be thoroughly confused?

So let me suggest you find the best advice possible, something that agrees with your gut, and then stick with it, applying it to the best of your abilities!

Which brings me to secret #1: Be consistent in your approach — and be sure the approach is not being passive!

How to Save Your Marriage

It is my advice that you NOT work on making your spouse jealous. I have seen that advice all over the internet. And let me tell you a secret: NONE of that was written by a qualified professional.

It was written to make someone feel better on taking out their anger on a spouse. That part of you that is hurt and angry? In some ways, we want to hear about how the best action is to go have fun, to “teach them a lesson.”

But the lesson it teaches? “I have moved on.” That, I would suggest, is not a winning strategy for showing “I love you and want our marriage to work.”

Which leads me to secret #2: People who save their marriage set aside their momentary feelings for a greater good. Because there are going to be times when your hurt leads you to want to lash out. You will WANT to give up. But if your mind is committed to saving your marriage, don’t let your emotions pull you off-course.

My wife uses the phrase, “consult your plan, not your feelings.” In other words, once you have formulated a plan, then stick with it, even when your feelings are telling you differently.

Watch this video for some more help on this:

Save Your Marriage

Your secret #3? Assume you WILL save your marriage. In other words, instead of always questioning what is possible, just decide you will do exactly that: save your marriage.

I teach SCUBA diving in the local area, and my partner in teaching starts out our first class with one request from participants: PMA. Positive Mental Attitude. In class, we ask the students to stretch themselves. After all, it is not second-nature for us to breathe under water. And some of the exercises requires the student to get beyond the fear. Not to get rid of the fear, but get beyond the fear.

So we ask participants to refuse to play the “I can’t” tapes in their mind, and choose instead to say “I can.” It is incredible to me to watch people talk themselves through an exercise by using that phrase over and over.

It is the same in dealing with a crisis. I get letter after letter from people asking “can I save my marriage?” I only want two changes. First, I want someone to say “I CAN save my marriage.” Then, I want the person to ask “how can I save my marriage?” Suddenly, a shift has happened.

Tips to Save Your Marriage

At this point, you have hopefully made some shifts in your thinking. Now you know it is possible to save your marriage. But you may need some nudges on where to go from here.

stop divorceSecret #4: Saving a marriage is about a) reconnecting and b) working on yourself. Both are required.

Marriages get into trouble because there is too little connection in the marriage to sustain it. A lack of connection leads to what John Gottman refers to as the 4 Horsemen Of The Apocalypse.

These “Horsemen” are traits of communication that arise between distressed spouses. Here they are:

1) Criticism – One or both begin to be overly critical and attacking about perceived shortcomings. Forgiveness begins to wane.

2) Contempt – Then arises the sense of contempt that one or both holds for the other. Contempt is marked by only seeing the worst in the other and becoming suspicious about every action from the other.

3) Defensiveness – The contempt is felt and experienced as attack, which leads to a defensive reaction. And when we are defensive, we have a very difficult time seeing our own role in the process

4) Stonewalling – The defensiveness leads to the final marker. When we realize we cannot talk something out, we choose not to interact. We stonewall, refusing to communicate to the other.

Click Here for a video of Gottman discussing this.

To be clear, most marriages have, at some point, elements of these “4 horsemen.” But the more distressed a relationship becomes, the more consistent these patterns become, until the patterns are engrained and automatic.

Which calls for the process of reconnecting. As marriages reconnect, there is less and less of the pattern. And self-improvement allows for one to acknowledge a truth of being human: we all have room to grow and improve. We all have places where we have allowed our more fearful brains to take over and hold us hostage.

Time to reconnect and time to grow!

Ways to Save Your Marriage

Let me provide a little insight on how to start the process with a video I created:

There are a couple of important details. First, notice I do not suggest you sit down and have a “heart-to-heart” with your spouse. It will fail. You will not talk your spouse out of feeling that the marriage is in trouble.

But more than that, when you are talking about the relationship, you are no longer relating. And when you are not relating, you are not connecting. So, give up on that big relationship talk you have been rehearsing in your mind.

Second, don’t panic. Resist begging, demanding, guilting, or any other negative display of emotion. You don’t have to appear cheerful. Being sad is fine, but large expressions of emotion generally only prove the point to your spouse: they need to get away. So resist. Stay calm.

Stop Your Divorce

That, in my mind, is only step one. Stopping the legal process is the beginning point to building a marriage that you treasure — that both of you treasure! When you get to that point, then your marriage is sustainable for the long-term. More than that, it will be nurturing to both of you. And both of you will protect it.

If you are ready to really create a plan, to really get serious about marriage, I invite you to grab my Save The Marriage System. You CAN save your marriage, even if you are the only one wanting to right now!

By |November 18th, 2012|News|0 Comments

Save Your Marriage Rule #7: Avoid Power Struggles

When I was a boy, I went off to summer camp in the mountains of Virginia.  My Mom would tell you I was not ready for summer camp and didn’t like it.

She would be, for the most part, correct.  Her reason would vary from mine, though.

My reason:  mid-week, in the middle of the night, one of my counselors is yelling to the other counselor who was sleeping in his tent with his boombox (yes, that long ago) turned up.  Finally, we boys ran out to check and see what was up, only to be told to freeze in our tracks.

Turns out the one counselor found himself trapped on the trail by a rattlesnake.  The snake wouldn’t move and the counselor couldn’t go a different way (did I tell you the camp was, well, rustic?).

We went to the tent and got the other counselor, and then were sent back to our tents to “sleep.”  We all had heard the rattling.  And we all knew that rattler had friends.  They had to be out there, somewhere!

In the morning, after we hiked down for breakfast, we got to go to the ranger station to visit our new “friend.”  In retrospect, he was probably 3 or 4 feet long, but I would have sworn him to be 10 feet long back then.

The rattler was not happy to be captive in a chicken-wire cage.  But we all enjoyed his ill-fortune.  I would step toward him, and watch him go from watchful to threatening.  His rattle would pop up.  The closer you got, the louder the sound.  Step away, he calmed down.

Step closer, he got riled up.

Step away, he calmed down.

What fun for a 12 year old!

And step very close, the snake would strike at you, hitting his nose on the chicken wire.  That nose was raw in no time.

In retrospect, I feel kinda sorry for the snake.  But back then, it was just good fun to rile him up.

And now I realize that the snake wasn’t even really angry.  Snakes are not capable of that emotion.  Threatened is what he felt.

Step close, threat was real.  Step away, threat was gone.

How, you might ask, does this possibly relate to marriage?

That same piece of brain that the snake has that reacts to threat, I have it in my head too.  And so do you.

Our brain is designed to alert us to danger.  Not just alert us, bu put our body on alert, ready for attack.

That piece of the brain is the deepest part of our brain, poetically named the “reptillian brain” or “r-complex.”

The reptillian brain is really only designed to keep us alive.  It is not social, does not care about collateral damage, and is set with a hair-pin trigger.

It takes nothing to set it off, and then takes its time calming down.  Think of the last time you were startled.  You feel the hit of adrenaline, and may still feel it 20 minutes later — even though the event that caused the reaction may have only been a few seconds (or less) in duration.

You have that piece in your head, and so does your spouse.  And that is where the trouble begin.  Two lizards, looking at each other, waiting for some possibility of a threat.

Head tilt, hands on hips, tone in voice, word choice.  It takes very little to get that part of th brain to put our systems on alert.  And when our systems go on alert, we get caught in the fight/flight/freeze response that you have probably heard of.

Problem is, there may not be a threat.  It may mean nothing.  Yet we respond as if it is.

Which brings us to power struggles.  We struggle for power so that we do not lose power.

I cannot tell you how many people have reported that they have no power, that the other person is in control — and I hear it from both, simultaneously.  Someone has to be in control, right?

But we are talking about perception, not reality.

Both perceive they are losing power and act to get it back.  And that starts off the power struggle.

You have been there, so I don’t really need to identify for you the places you and your spouse get caught in the struggle.  I will let you identify that for yourself.

But what do you do?

First, accept that part of you is in there.  Accept that there is that piece of your brain that is caught by the sense of threat.  Understand it is perception and not reality.

Second, affirm that you want to live as a WE, as a team.  You want to be connected.

Third, seek to always understand where your spouse is coming from (and don’t listen to the lizard that whispers “why doesn’t my spouse have to understand me?”  Lizards pretend to be about fairness.  But really, they want to win!). In the midst of talking, ask “can you help me understand how you see it that way?”  Ask politely.  Don’t make it a sarcastic statement.  Be sincere.

Fourth, recognize that a power struggle will not get either of you any closer to your goals.  So decide to work together.  Decide to join together to make it through life in better ways than either of you could do alone.

Fifth, be sympathetic that your spouse may still want to struggle.  We are raised on that!  It can take a while for the brain to re-wire away from it.  Give it time.  Be patient with your spouse, and with yourself!

Finally, power struggles are symptoms that point to places where you are still playig “you/me,” and not “WE.”  Use it to identify the areas where you can grow and develop the relationship.

If you are ready to stop the power struggles, grab the Save The Marriage System by CLICKING HERE.

By |June 25th, 2012|News|0 Comments

Rule 5: Accept that You and Your Spouse See Things Differently

Perspective. An important word. Your perspective is the position from which you view the world.

You formed your perspective over a lifetime. It starts with your genetic makeup, then your gender shapes it. Then your family experience shapes the foundations. Then, every experience you have in life either confirms or changes your perceptions and your perspective.

Is it any wonder that you and your spouse are going to see things differently?

As I point out the obvious, let me also point out how often we forget that little fact: we see things completely different than anyone else in the world.

We all have an individual psychological reality — we all have a unique way of seeing and understanding the world around us and the meaning of events that unfold.

The fact that we see things differently is really not the issue. The problem comes when we forget this is the case. We stop realizing we are seeing things differently and think that we are seeing things “the way they are.”

And when a spouse sees things differently, we become convinced that they are not seeing things accurately. This often leads to one of two actions:
1) Trying to correct their “incorrect” view,
2) Wondering what is wrong with us.

First, there is a difference between “incorrect” and “inaccurate.” We all have inaccurate views of reality. They may or may not be incorrect.

I perceive events from how they affect me. I view actions in their impact upon me. You do the same. So, we are going to arrive at very different views of the action.

More than that, we generally tell ourselves stories that put ourselves in the best light.

I will admit it, I like to be:
–the good guy,
–and consistent.
How about you? Do you want to be the same? I think most people do. So, when I do something that is not so nice, I am going to tell a story that excuses me. And I want to be right, so I am tempted to make sure the “evidence” backs me up. And I want to be consistent. So I look for ways that keep me thinking the same things about myself.

For example, if I believe myself honest and truthful, but then do something that is dishonest, I must find a way to justify that. Otherwise, I would have to change my self-perception. We humans don’t like to do that. We like to be consistent.

So what does this have to do with your marriage?

Simple. We most often forget that people see things differently when we are dealing with a spouse.

It is that assumption that “we are on the same page” that really gets us into trouble.

How many arguments are simply a reflection of a difference of viewpoint? Think of parenting differences. Sure, there are some “wrong” things that a parent could do. But there are far more that are simply differences of perspective and viewpoint.

Yet these differences can end up feeling like “right vs. wrong.” And that is where the problems arise. When we lose track of the fact that something is a difference of opinion, we label it a right versus wrong. And then the arguments deepen.

Or how about with money? For some, money means freedom. For others, money means security. Freedom is all about what money can do for enjoyment now: free to go out to dinner, free to go on vacation, free to buy clothes, etc. Security is all about preparing for uncertanties: insurance, retirement, investment, etc.

Both are correct. And both can be out of balance. And even if a couple both lean toward one end or the other, what is okay for being secure or for enjoying freedom can vary.

No surprise that couples often argue about parenting and finances. And when couples dig in that one person’s view is correct, and the other person’s view is wrong, the arguments are headed nowhere.

That does not mean that everything is alright. It does not mean that every parenting decision or financial decision is just a matter of perspective.

But that is true. It is a matter of perspective — even if the action is “dangerous.”

When couples are able to discuss what is behind the perspective, the couple has a chance of at least understanding each other. Not agreeing, but understanding.

Rule 5 may seem obvious, now that I mentionn it. But how often do you forget it? How often do you assume that either you see things just alike, or that you are seeing things correctly?

Both get us into trouble. Assume you are on the same page, and you will quickly see where you are not. You will quickly discover the many places where you are not just on different pages, but in different chapters.

Assume you are correct, and you a) miss how often your perceptions are limited and b) close yourself off to greater and better options.

As I noted in the first rule, marriage is about being a WE. But I also noted it is not about being in a “mind meld.” Two indivicuals, bringing together their perspectives, is much closer to “reality” than only one person’s views.

But only if you acknowledge this and decide you will learn from ach other, and you will seek to understand where your spouse is coming from.

Be open to the possibility that you and everyone else has a different view of reality.
Be open to the possibility that somoeone else’s perspective may actually be closer to reality.
Be willing to learn from the different viewpoint. You don’t have to agree to understand.
Be sure to explore why your spouse sees something differently. Remember, you are different people with different experiences. That guarantees the specifics of how you view the world will be different.

By |June 11th, 2012|News|0 Comments

Rule #4: Use Civility — Even When You Don’t Feel It!

Be civil to save your marriageI remember years ago hearing a Native American quote that we are all born with claws and fangs, but learn to use them as nails and teeth.

Unfortunately, it takes very little for the fangs and claws to reemerge, especially when there is a bit of tension (or a lot!).

When we feel threatened, we find some pretty primitive responses suddenly rush through us.  Fear gets us there.  It creates a very primitive response of fight-or-flight.

And when what is considered to be the most important relationship in our life feels threatened, that response erupts.

When there is disconnection in a relationship, and the conflict becomes entrenched, more and more your spouse becomes an intimate enemy.

We begin to respond in ways that don’t make sense to us in calmer moments.

In the midst of a fight, do you hear that voice watching yourself and thinking “why am I acting this way”?  That is the more civilized part of your brain being surprised by that ancient brain.

Oh, sure, we can justify and excuse ourselves, thinking “how else can I respond, given how my spouse is acting?”

But we know better.  We know we are acting beneath our higher selves. We find ourselves acting in immature, irrational, uncharacteristic ways.


A major step in saving your marriage is choosing to act civilly. Acting otherwise keeps the cycle going.

So what does civility mean here?

Kindness, respect, positive regard.  Not reacting with criticism, sarcasm, raised voices, veiled threats (or open threats), mocking tones, or demands.

Let me pause a moment and say, this is not about choking down your anger, not talking about problems, or avoiding conflict.

It is simply being kind and decent when you are working on tough things.  And it means being warm and engaging when you are in daily interactions.

Really, it is starting (or restarting) your relating with the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Notice it is not “Do unto others as they do to you.”  It is about treating another person in ways we want to be treated.

I am not starting with such goals as being cuddly and loving.  Instad, let’s draw a baseline at a much simpler spot.  It is just about treating the other person (your spouse) with respect.

Did a voice just pop up and say “respect?  I don’t respect him/her.”?

Let me just theorize that there is such a thing as unconditional respect.  This is a layer of respect that is showing respect by actions.  It is not tied to feeling respect.  Perhaps your spouse has done something that disrupts your feeling of respect (maybe even trampling it).

That is not what I am addressing here.  I am suggesting that we all have that choice on how we are going to act toward someone; how we will treat him or her.

Let’s make a choice, a decision, that going forward, we will treat our spouse with civility and respect.

It makes the other rules have far more traction!

By |June 4th, 2012|News|0 Comments