Monthly Archives: July 2015

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A lot of the people who email me know that their marriage is in real trouble and have come to the realization that they can’t continue to just hope that things will get better over time. It’s become very clear that some real changes have to be made and should be made fast if the marriage is to be saved. Sometimes, things that have happened in the past or the lack of any real connection in the present have people questioning if it is really worth it to give the marriage another try. I often hear things like: “I’m starting to think it’s not worth it to give the marriage a second chance. Nothing ever changes and we’re at the point where we are constantly at each other’s throats. I can’t imagine us suddenly being able to work together.” I understand these doubts. My husband had a lot that were very similar to this, but if you’re going to save your marriage, you have to change this doubtful attitude to one of openness. Because if you go in expecting to fail, you likely will. In the following article, I’ll tell you some questions to ask yourself to determine if you should give your marriage one more chance.

Can You Remember A Time In Your Marriage That Was Much Different From What You Are Experiencing Now?: One of the biggest challenges that you face (and your spouse probably shares this) is the perception that nothing is ever going to change. By the time that you get to the point where you are at, there have probably been so many attempts to make things better (which have failed long term) and so much water under the bridge that you doubt if you can navigate the ship to a place where it is floating and not sinking. It’s natural to have doubts, but folks who are successful in saving their marriages are able to remember the relationship at it’s best (this is often at the beginning phases of the relationship.) They are fully aware that the two of them were once so in sync and so in love that their problems were never large issues or were never things that could not be over come or fixed. In short, they know that there can be chemistry and they know that they can live in harmony because they clearly remember when these things were present. And they are able to call on these memories to elicit good feelings and to put a smile on their face.

Are You Willing To Accept That Saving The Marriage Is Going To Take Time And That You Should Focus On Restoring Affection First?: Marriages are very rarely saved overnight. It often takes small victories and tiny little improvements that build upon one another so that eventually you are both feeling connected and bonded again. And make no mistake. Restoring the intimacy and bond should be your first objective. Because it is very unrealistic to think that you’re going to be able to place your problems on the table and have them successfully worked through if you don’t feel any affection or empathy for your partner right now.

As I said before, when two people are bonded and are experiencing chemistry, they don’t make mountains out of mole hills because they don’t want anything to disrupt the flow of their relationship. When you were first dating, how long did the two of you need to discuss your problems? Probably not nearly as long as you do today. Because you wanted to gloss these things over and get back to being happy together again. Often, over time we start to place more emphasis on what is wrong with our marriage than on what is right with it.

Are You At The Point Where You Honestly And Truly Just Don’t Care What Happens To Your Marriage?: There are some people who write to me and very convincingly explain that they’ve become indifferent to their marriage. The thought of the marriage or it’s problems no longer elicits any strong feelings at all. I often have a hard time buying this because if they were truly at a healthy place of indifference, they would not be researching whether to give their marriage one more chance.

However, once a person truly gets to a point where they can say “I wish my spouse well and I have no unfinished business because I know that I was open and honest when we were trying to reconcile and I know that we did everything that we could,” then I am more inclined to think that the marriage has reached it’s natural and healthy end. But, I must tell you that few people are genuinely at this place. Most people know deep down that they haven’t gone all in. They are holding back in some way whether it is the fear or rejection, the fear of being vulnerable or just because of overwhelming doubt.

And, in order for the marriage to recover, they have to eventually accept the fact that they can hold nothing back and leave no rock unturned. This isn’t a decision like which car or refrigerator to buy. This is your life and it affects at least two people and often also your children. A happy and fulfilling marriage is a gift. It lengthens or life span and gives us someone with whom to share our lives. If functioning correctly, it lessens our stress and brings about happiness and the feeling that someone truly understands and values us. As you well know, there is no other feeling like this. And, you probably deep down want this feeling back, but doubt that you can get it. You must over come this perception and be open to the possibility that changing things lies with you and your perceptions.

Because you already know that the two of you have the capacity to function well together on many levels. So now is the time to take real and lasting action and begin to get this back if you decide to.

There was a time that I thought my marriage was truly at it’s end. Thankfully, even though I had doubts, I decided to try one last thing and approach it from another angle and this eventually worked. You can read my very personal story on my blog at

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I get a lot of emails which ask me various questions on the same variation of “when is the right time to end my marriage?;” and “how will I know when I am at this point?” In other words, the folks asking the questions really want to be sure that they won’t regret ending the marriage somewhere down the road. How do you know that you aren’t making a mistake or if you should try to save your marriage or work it out? Is is better to just cut your losses and move on or are you not yet at that point?

The answers to these questions are very individual, but there are typically some behaviors and reactions that are indicative of a marriage that truly is over and there are some which indicate that it’s not really “the end.” I’ll discuss this more in the following article.

Strong Negative Emotions Like Jealousy, Fear, And Anger Are Not Indications That It’s Time To End The Marriage: Often when people contact me and ask if they should end their marriage, I believe that they are really looking for someone to validate for them what it really is that they want to do. In other words, they want someone to approve or bless the decision. To be fair, you should know that I trend toward saving marriages when it is at all possible.

Often, they will tell me things like “we can’t even stand to be in the same room together,” or “I feel so angry when I am with him,” and then think that these things are proof that it’s time to cut the losses and end the marriage. In fact, negative emotions based on possession, jealousy, anger, and fear are often indicative of quite the opposite. These things are often only proof that you still care enough, are affected enough, and still involved enough in the situation to experience these strong emotions.

I know that this often isn’t what you want to hear, but it is the truth. You would not be this upset or this affected if this person did not matter to or effect you as they do. In contrast, people who are really at the natural and healthy end to their relationships feel indifference. They aren’t angry. They aren’t afraid. They don’t blame. If they feel anything it all, it is to wish their partner well. They are pretty much at peace with their decision because they knew they did everything that they could, which brings me to my next point.

Knowing That You Did Everything You Could Is Often The First Step To Knowing You’re At The Natural End Of Your Marriage: Often the sense of doubt, insecurity, and indecision comes with the knowledge that you’ve been holding back in some way. Perhaps you know that there are things that you could have said but didn’t, or places where you might have given a little but didn’t, or things that the two of you might have tried but decided not to, for whatever reason.

This often leaves you with the sinking feeling of uncertainty. You are left to wonder “what if.” What if you had said the things that you held back, of had given a little more and demanded a little less? What if you had tried counseling or a went with a different counselor? Granted, these things may have still left you at a dead end, but you have no way to know that if you didn’t try.

So I often tell people who are asking me to validate their decision to end their marriage that I’m reluctant to do that until I know that they have really fully followed every possible lead. In order to walk away with peace and without doubt, you simply should not skip these steps. It’s the only way to know that you did all you could.

Getting To A Place Of Indifference (And Why I Suspect That You Aren’t There Yet): People who know that their marriage is over (without having to ask) are often indifferent. What I mean by this is that there is no anger, or resentment, or even any additional questions. It’s just become clear that although they may well still feel affection for their spouse, the marriage was not the right thing for either of them. In short, they are both better off apart than together and this is obvious to them both because they both know that they’ve uncovered every stone and rock to get to the place where they are.

A therapist used to ask me (when I was having my own martial issues) how I would respond if I saw my husband out after five years of being divorced. She would set up a whole scenario: he now has a beautiful new wife and a new family. He was doing well professionally and was very successful, etc. How would I feel if I saw them?

Of course, the “right” answer here is that I would’ve felt happy for him. I would’ve felt no remorse and no tug at my heart because I voluntarily set him free when I was in a happy place. And, since I couldn’t possibly say that, my therapists’ theory was that I was still “stuck” because I knew deep down that I hadn’t earned my way out by doing everything that was needed to try to work it out first. It was he who wanted to end things, but was I giving up too easily?

Although I didn’t think it at the time, this was very good advice. I wasn’t over my husband and I wasn’t ready to walk away from my marriage – although my pride and my anger didn’t allow me to see this at that time. I was no where near being indifferent. The fundamentals between my husband and I hadn’t changed, but the circumstances around us had and we had allowed that to project itself onto our marriage. I went about rectifying this in all the wrong ways. It wasn’t until I changed my attitude and checked my anger that I started to make real progress.

And, often, if you have to ask the question, you already know the answer. People who know that the time has come don’t go looking for validation and aren’t researching this topic. They are peace with this and they don’t need anyone to tell them they are right. They know it already.

There was a time that I thought my marriage was truly at it’s end. My husband had totally checked out (and I wasn’t real thrilled with him either sometimes.) Thankfully, even though I had doubts, I decided to try one last thing and approach it from another angle and this eventually worked. You can read my very personal story on my blog at


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