Lisa called about her marriage problems. She does not want to ask her husband to go to counseling with her because she thinks he won’t come. If he comes, he won’t change. So she asked us this horrible question:
“How long do I wait for my spouse to change before I end the marriage?”
All My Spouse’s Fault
One of the problems with her question is that it assumes that all the problems with her marriage are her spouse’s fault. It assumes that if her spouse would change, she would have a better and healthier marriage.
Except for cases where dangerous things are happening, the problems in the marriage are rarely one spouse’s fault. If either spouse has contributed in any way to the marriage problem, then they have some room to stand into their power, make different decisions and affect their marriage for good.
Permission to Divorce
Another problem with her questions is that it is seeking to gain permission from “experts” for divorcing her spouse. Sometimes someone will ask their pastor or priest. We think that this reason drives many of the spouses who seek counseling for their relationship without their spouse. It is a way to get permission from some “professional”.
The biblical answer is hardly ever what the person asking wants to hear. God meant for us to do life together forever and to work it out. Except for cases where dangerous things are happening, that is our typical response. If you want out without giving your marriage every chance it can have, then you should consider a Marriage Intensive. God has blessed us to save nine out of ten marriages on the brink of divorce using the Marriage Intensive.
What Can One Spouse Do?
One spouse can make a huge difference in their marriage. Instead of waiting, take action to create the marriage you truly want.
- Pray – Spend time in prayer for your marriage, for your spouse, and for yourself. Pray that God will open your eyes and give you direction about how you can take action to repair and strengthen your marriage. Pray for peace.
- Be Positive – Instead of reacting to your worse possible interpretation of your spouse’s behavior, decide that you will give your spouse the benefit of the doubt and treat them with respect and love.
- Appreciate – Looking for the good in the heart of your spouse does wonders for your bitterness and resentment. Perhaps that is why Jesus told us to pray for our enemies, because it changes our hearts. Find something to appreciate about your spouse every day and let them know.
- Take Responsibility – Assess where you can take responsibility for anything that has helped set the relationship on its current track. Tell your spouse that you “take full responsibility for” whatever it was you did and offer an apology.
- Courageous Conversation – Use the Courageous Conversation Rules to finally have the discussion you have been needing to have with your spouse. If either of you becomes emotionally triggered, call a time out and return after you and your spouse are back to your senses.
- Get Help – Find competent help from a minister, Christian counselor or Christian Coach. If we can help you, give us a call at 281-949-8115.
What do you have to say?
We love to hear from readers. Have you ever wondered whether you should continue to wait on your spouse to change? Do you agree that a spouse who does marriage counseling without their spouse is really asking for permission to divorce? Have you ever tried any of the suggestions we offered for spouses who are contemplating ending their marriage? What other suggestions you would add to this article? Do you know someone you need to forward this article to?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2016. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.