You want to save your marriage?
Or at the very least know for sure it can't be saved?
You may have tried counselling. And no doubt the endless discussion on the issues in your relationships have sometimes given you relief. But it hasn't lasted.
I'm a BIG believer in communication. And I'm all for it. Except when the relationship is breaking down.
Where To Start? First steps? Save your marriage with my FREE workbook, '3 Steps To Break Free From Negative Relationship Patterns' here.
[00:00:00] Look, when was the last time that talking about your marriage or talking about the problems in your marriage actually worked for you. And when was the last time you felt good about yourself inside the marriage.
[00:00:14] I can guarantee you that what got your marriage into trouble is not the big things. But what got your marriage into trouble is the way that you and your partner talk about things when you disagree.
[00:00:27] Research shows that over 70 percent of divorces occur because of how people handle conflict and there are two ways that people do it. The one is to withdraw and shut down.
[00:00:42] And usually that's because a person feels shamed and they don't feel it's safe to stay in a conversation.
[00:00:51] And the other way that people push to solve problems is to push for more communication rather than avoiding it. So they use any opportunity they can to talk about the relationship and when they don't feel heard they become more demanding they nag, they shout, they criticise and at the worst they call their partners names.
[00:01:20] And those two ways of dealing with conflict account for over 70 per cent of why people get divorced.
[00:01:29] And here's why pushing for your partner to change is not working.
[00:01:35] You cannot control another person, No matter how hard you try, no matter how hard you push, someone is not going to make changes unless they want to. And it is human nature that the more we feel backed into a corner, the more we feel that we are being pressured to do something - the more we resist to do it. And that's a very innocent mistake we make when our needs are not being met to push for a person to change.
[00:02:04] But it backfires.
[00:02:04] The result is that a person shuts down. They withdraw. They distance. And they resist giving us what we're asking for. Because all that happens it becomes "blah blah blah blah blah blah" in that person's ears.
[00:02:20] So the first thing I want you to stop doing is to stop saying "Can we talk?" "We need to talk." Because the moment your partner hears that, they've already shut down before the conversation has even begun.
[00:02:35] Now your need to be heard and understood is a basic human need.
[00:02:39] And I want you to have that and I'm going to tell you how. Research shows that the marriages that work, the marriages that are long lasting is where partners are able to stay positive about each other no matter what is happening, even in the midst of a fight.
[00:02:58] And we can't do that when we're not feeling good about ourselves. The real reason that most people leave a marriage is not because of what a partner is doing or not doing, but because they don't like how they feel in the marriage and because they don't like who they're becoming in the marriage.
[00:03:14] And it's really, what's making you not feel good is got less to do with what your partner is doing or not doing. And more to do with who you are becoming and how you don't like who you are becoming.
[00:03:29] And the only way to sustain positive thoughts about your partner assuming that you're with a good person (and if you're not with a good person you need to get out). Right. But I'm speaking to you as with the assumption that you're with a good person. But there have been lots of mistakes and disappointments.
[00:03:46] If you're with a good person the only way to feel good about yourself is to fall in love with yourself and to fall in love with your life.
[00:03:54] And that's what's been lost is that over time when you begin in a marriage as you start to feel disappointed with the marriage not working out the way you had in your head you fell out of love with yourself and you fell out of love with your life. And you blamed your partner.
[00:04:11] You made them responsible for your happiness. And the more you make them responsible for your happiness the unhappier you became. And it's made you feel helpless. And it's made you feel hopeless.
[00:04:23] The good news about this is is that while you cannot control your partner you can influence how you feel no matter what your partner is doing or not doing.
[00:04:35] I know I can hear you saying but how am I going to feel happy when my partner is just not willing to meet this very important need. And I want you to know that you do have incredible personal power to change and influence how you feel. And the more you build this power, the more you learn how to shift how you feel - the more you will value yourself.
[00:04:59] And as you value yourself, as you prioritise yourself and you make yourself number one, your partner will follow. They will have no choice but to value you. Because when someone values themself, when someone respects themself, and you know it's just automatic that we naturally and subconsciously respect them because there's an energy. And energy energy is first.
[00:05:27] People respond to us energetically before they do to what we're saying on the outside. And moreover when you are happy and when you are full with love, that love will become infectious and you will influence your partner. I promise you.
[00:05:44] So don't let the fear that you can't do this stop you.
[00:05:51] For the next six months don't talk about problems. Don't initiate talking about problems and avoid criticising your partner for not meeting your needs.
[00:05:59] Instead I want you to turn inwards and focus on loving yourself and reminding yourself of who you really are and what gives you joy.
To save your marriage, here are 7 Things I wish I had known before I got married. I learned this advice for a happy marriage only later. It's not too late to implement them though.
You can also visit PsychologyToday.com on The Number One Reason Relationships Fail to understand what ways you can save your marriage.
Copyright Jo Ntsebeza 2019
Jo Ntsebeza is a qualified professional coach, facilitator, trainer and lay counsellor.
All works are copyrighted. You may quote me or use no more than a paragraph with a link to the article on my website.