4 Rules That Can Save Your Marriage: Rule 3

November 30, 2008 | Leave a Comment

You are reading the third installment in a series of four articles about rules of marriage. Each rule is designed to move a couple toward better relating and more harmony.

Rule 3: Be Kind and Loving

This is a rule that definitely needs some clarification. I don’t mean that you have to have warm, gushy feelings toward your spouse at all times. That is not, unfortunately, possible. And I don’t mean you won’t act in unkind ways toward your spouse. That will happen from time-to-time.

At the same time, I have seen couples treat each other as if they were worst of enemies. There was no sense of “you and me, in this together.” Instead, there was a strong sense of “you versus me.” And with that comes the undermining of the marriage. A marriage is the decision by two people to come together and act as a unit, be a team, become one.

Yet we often find ourselves responding to spouses in ways that we would never dream about acting toward a friend. I almost named this rule “be civil,” because I have said that to so many couples. They will sit in my office and be nice toward me, then rude and unkind toward their spouse, and I would admonish them to “be civil.”

Being civil would be level one. The next level is to actually be kind and loving. Which raises the question “how can I be kind and act loving when I am angry? How can I pretend feel love when I don’t?”

That, in my mind, is a misunderstanding of what love is about. I use the word “love” as an action verb. Love is something I do, not something I feel. Actions are loving. This is, in fact, one of the major constructs of all the major religions: act lovingly toward those you don’t like. In other words, our major religions are noting the potential to act in loving ways toward even our enemies, much less those we love.

I place the action of love in a marriage into two categories. The first is kindness. That would be defined as acting in kind ways — not calling names, demeaning, insulting, or hurting. Instead, kindness would call for being supportive, caring, concerned.

Loving actions add another layer by asking “what does my spouse need from me in order to feel loved?” We all have a need for love, and by meeting our spouse’s needs, we secure the relationship.

The Golden Rule is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Golden Rule of Love takes that one step further: “love others as they need to be loved.” What makes me feel loved does not make you feel loved, and vice versa. So we strive to act in loving ways, but in loving ways that make sense to the other person.

Unfortunately, our tendency, when we don’t feel loved, is to refuse to act lovingly. This creates a vicious cycle, and in the end, both feel unloved. Which leads to either acting on automatic or choosing our relationship destiny. On automatic, we run the vicious cycle.

But we can choose to act counter to that. We can choose to act lovingly, even if we do not feel loved at that moment. We choose to act in loving ways because the emotion is absent.

Here is the irony: when we do loving actions, we feel loving emotions. When we wait for the emotions to act lovingly, we get stalled. But by acting lovingly, we begin to nurture our own emotional state. Think back on how you fell in love. Sure, there was likely an initial attraction. But the love came because you did loving actions toward each other. Likely, you chose bigger and bigger actions to express your growing emotions. The emotion of love, put simply, is nurtured by the action of loving. The reverse is not true.

Thus, rule #3 is “be kind and act lovingly.” This puts us back into the driver’s seat of our relationship’s destiny. We take control back from our emotional state, and make a choice on the direction to take.

About the Author: Dr. Baucom is a 15-year veteran of marriage therapy. He works day-in and day-out to help people save their marriages. Dr. Baucom is creator of the best-selling ebook, Save The Marriage (http://savemarriagesite.com/go/savethemarriage.html). He also created an online marriage workshop (http://savemarriagesite.com/go/transformmarriage.html).

4 Rules That Can Save Your Marriage: Rule 1

November 27, 2008 | Leave a Comment

How is your marriage doing? Are you and your spouse where you want to be, or are you wanting to improve upon your situation? Marital advice can be found many place, but true help for your marriage can be rare.

This series of four articles is designed to give you advice from my years as a therapist. Hopefully, you will find the advice practical for helping you save or improve your relationship. I’ll skip the theory and go straight to help.

Rule 1: Don’t Take Everything Personally

Just yesterday, I was speaking to a couple that illustrated this point. The wife said that if she walked in and said “the sky is certainly blue today,” her husband would immediately jump up and say “It’s not my fault!”

Part of the difficulty with marriage is that we are in close proximity with the same person for extended periods of time. We are well-acquainted with the idiosyncracies of that person.

And over time, we find shortcuts to communication — some good and some destructive. In fact, we do arguments by shortcut, and this generally involves taking things personally. I remember working with a couple that showed this. They entered into my office in good moods, but told me how arguments never get resolved. I asked for an example.

They looked at each other, and the woman turned to me and said “the lawnmower.” With two words, they launched into an angry response with each other! The tide turned sharply, and I suddenly had two people furious with each other. They took the shortcut to their conflict. And with it, they took the conflict personally.

My first rule of marriage is to not take everything personally. If a spouse is in a bad mood, don’t assume that it is your fault.

In fact, you are probably better off assuming it is not you. We all have some insecurity over our spouse loving us, even in the best of marriages, so when the spouse seems distant or angry, we tend to fear it is about us.

The problem is that when we assume it is personal, we tend to respond in defensive ways. Back to my couple and the blue sky: since he took his wife’s comments personally, he was always responding with defensive anger. The problem with that is it triggered his wife’s anger because she took what he said personally. Suddenly, there was a communication loop that was going back-and-forth between them, escalating the frustration and anger.

When that happened, nothing positive was possible. Rather, they began to assume the worst about the other person and the relationship. Isn’t it interesting that when they started with taking things personally, it led to a loss of faith in the relationship?

Now, there is a corollary to this rule: “Take some things personally.” Some pop-psychology has gone to an extreme and said “take nothing personally.” But sometimes, we need to hear what our spouse has to say. When a spouse says something critical, harsh, or angry, we can do several things.

First, we could ignore it. But over and over, I have heard spouses at the end of a marriage say “why didn’t you do something when I told you about this long ago?” In other words, their spouse ignored some important feedback for so long, it destroyed the relationship (or at least contributed). Many times, a spouse, at the very end, tries to make the necessary changes, but it happens months or years too late. So, ignoring it won’t work.

Second, we can respond to everything. This can be the epitome of taking everything personally. When a spouse seems angry, this person would immediately try to find some way of reducing the anger. If a spouse says something critical, this spouse would immediately try to change it. Unfortunately, this creates an extremely destructive pattern where one becomes responsible for the emotional state of the spouse, and therefore for the future of the marriage.

Third, and the best option: we assume our spouse’s emotional state is not as a result of us. But, we assess whether what our spouse says has merit. In other words, we don’t take everything personally, but are open to consider that we may need to change.

Using the third option, we start with a less reactive posture. But we don’t build a wall that keeps out all suggestions. Instead, we consider the truth of suggestions or complaints made by a spouse, and make changes where necessary. This could be thought of as a proactive (rather than reactive) stance. We seek to change what we need to change, but without assuming that everything needs to change.

When we choose to not take everything personally, we regain our own health, and help to restore the help of the relationship. So, seek to not take everything personally, but don’t make the mistake of taking nothing personally.

About the Author: Dr. Baucom is a 15-year veteran of marriage therapy. He works day-in and day-out to help people save their marriages. Dr. Baucom is creator of the best-selling ebook, Save The Marriage . He also offers free podcasts at http://www.MarriageMoment.com

What Men Want: What He’s Saying – And What He Really Means

November 25, 2008 | Leave a Comment

What a man says and what he does are often times two different things. A relationship with a man is all about being able to ‘tell’ what he means even if he is not saying it aloud. Many times a man is going to talk about a relationship with you, a commitment if you are going to bring it up first. Often times a man is not going to initiate any discussions about a commitment or the problems the two of you are facing.

  1. A man is going to tell you he doesn’t need a paper to tell him he is involved with a woman, and to be involved in a commitment. He wants to keep the relationship the way it is already. What the man is really telling you is that yes, he loves you but he is scared. Most often, a man is not going to get married to prove that he loves you he already does or he wouldn’t be with you. A man is not going to get married and not take that final step in commitment because he is happy with the understanding and the relationship that you already have and enjoy.
  2. A man who is online all the time, and who is involved with chatting with girls tells you it is just for fun, and that you should trust him more because what harm could come from chatting online. He wants to continue chatting online with women and he wants you to butt out of his life. The reality of what a man is telling in you in this situation is that he is talking with someone online and sharing his life with someone online. He knows it is wrong, but you are not going to be able to tell him what to do or how he should be doing it. A man is going to continue chatting online because he feels the challenge of the woman on the other end of the line, and loves the new attention he is getting from her.
  3. The man in your life is constantly telling you to get a job, that you need to be more supportive of the household. What this man is really trying to tell you is that he can’t support all of your needs and his. He feels that for the relationship to work, you need to take an active role in bringing in the money and paying for some of the bills as well. The man in your life could be afraid that you are depending on him just too much and that you should get out there and make new friends, even if they are friends you meet at work.
  4. A man who hits a woman, and then tells you he is sorry and didn’t mean it is really lying. A man, that is abusive, is going to continue to be abusive. The abusive man wants to feel power and control in the relationship. The man who can’t control his feelings is likely to never change, unless you are able to change the reason why he hit you to start with. Your best option is to run from this relationship no matter what the cost or pain you feel.
  5. When a man tells you that his family is very important to him and that you need to back down from his mother he is really telling you that he would choose his mother over you. While he might tell you it is going to be easier to get along if you were to change, he is really telling you that no matter what you do you are never going to please her, so you will have to change your ways to be a part of the family. In reality if the family can’t accept who you are and how your life is, you shouldn’t be a part of that family. It will only lead to ongoing grief and frustration in your life.
  6. A man who is constantly working late, and calls to tell you he will be late again is not always on the up and up. If his paycheck never changes, or when you call the office and he doesn’t answer, the man is really telling you that he is not coming home right now and he has better things to do than to spend time with you. If you are always sitting at home, wondering where your man is, and he tells you he is working late all the time and can’t make time for important matters, you need to move on in life because nine times out of ten he is cheating on you.
  7. A man feels there is nothing wrong with having women friends. Most times this is going to be the case, and a woman friend is not going to be a problem. However, if your man is telling you that he just likes hanging out with this one woman he knows, it is likely he is cheating on you. He may not be having sexual relations with her, but he is cheating on you because he is giving his attention to her. He is cheating on you by being there for her and not for you when you need him most. He will tell you he is not cheating on you, but when he sticks up for her again and again, you know there is an intimacy level there that should not be.

About the Author: Discover how you can easily “Bring Back the Love of Your Life” no matter how hopeless your situation appears! The Good News Is It Works For Both Men & Women! More underground relationship and love tips, FREE special reports available HERE.

Saving Your Marriage through Counseling

November 23, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Is your marriage in trouble and you are looking for a counselor? What is counseling going to do for your relationship? Is it going to help save your marriage, or is it going to be another counseling horror story? How do you know when your marriage is at the stage where counseling is required?

Often couples are too slow to recognize they need counseling to help them save their marriage. By the time they realized, it’s already too late. Counseling, when undertaken in time, really does save marriages. Not only that, it can make marriages healthier than before and make the couples happier than they have ever been. But many couples hesitate when it comes to counseling and wait too long. Many feel that it’s like admitting failure. Others are suspicious of psychology or behavioral therapy. Most people have some kind of preconceived notion about counseling, and some are really detrimental to the process as a tool for saving the marriage.

Marriage counseling actually offers couples a chance to talk about the origin of their problems in a safe and moderated environment. It’s an environment that is controlled by a trained councilor who is committed to resolving issues and improving communication. When both partners are committed to this result, counseling can be extraordinarily powerful and bring your marriage back from the brink of disaster.

So, when the best time to get counseling? Surely it is not when divorce seems an immediately viable option. The time to get counseling is when issues begin to come up again and again without resolution, and when communication begins to break down. Counseling really can save marriages, but only with a strong commitment from both partners.  If you recognize that you are at a point in your relationship in which you need to seek counseling, do a little research about psychologists and therapists in your area.

Looking for marriage counseling? Get great marriage-saving tips and advice in Save My Marriage Today Free newsletter series. When you arrive at the site, scroll down for the sign-up form.

Change Yourself, You’ll Save Your Marriage

November 7, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Sound impossible? Do you think that you are not the one “with the problem”? You may be right. Your spouse is the one “with the problem”. She/he needs to change to save your marriage and you don’t have to do anything. Consider this; changing yourself is the only way to save your marriage. Do you really want to save your marriage? If your answer is yes, you need to change yourself. There is no other way to save your marriage. Trick, manipulating or trying to change your partner won’t work. Or you rather want your marriage to deteriorate so that you can blame your spouse for it? The need to be right is one of the 25 relationship killers. You are right that your spouse don’t listen to you. You are right that your spouse always blame or criticize you, and many other things that you are right about your spouse. Whether you want to defend your right to be right and have a broken marriage as a result, or give up the right to be right and save your marriage is up to you. The choice is yours.

Let me share an example from Save My Marriage Today FREE Mini-Course so that you can grasp fully what I wanted to put forward. Mary’s husband always promises to bring home the groceries that she needs but always forgets to do so. For Mary, this is inexcusable. She lashes out at her husband every time he comes home empty-handed. Her response or behavior drives her husband away further and further each time. She blames or criticizes the husband for not bringing home the groceries and she had to go out herself to get it. She is right that her husband always break his promises. She is right that because of her husband failure to keep his promises, they always have late dinner. If Mary keeps blaming or criticizing her husband, sooner or later their marriage will be broken. Mary can change how she response to the “problem”, that is by giving up the right to be right. When she stops blaming or criticizing the husband, he realizes that not having the groceries does indeed inconvenience for Mary. As a result, her husband eventually asks her what they could do so that one of them doesn’t have to get the groceries during the week. He confesses that he doesn’t get the groceries because he is tired after work and hates having to make a detour to the store. As a result, Mary and her husband decide to plan better and spend a bit more time on their weekend shopping trip so that they don’t run out of food mid-week.

What Mary did was not asking or demanding her husband to change himself (keep his words). What she did was to change her respond or behavior with regard to her husband didn’t keep his words. When he is not been blamed (with word or action), his ego was untouched. As a result, he can be his real self.

You can read more on relationship killers from Save My Marriage Today FREE Mini-Course. Visit the website today and signup for FREE Mini-Course. You’ll be astounded with the advices given in the course.