7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage

7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage
Even If You’re The Only One Who Wants It!
Page4
Introduction
hen I was a child, I had a vivid image of my
mom and dad as being a single parental unit. I
saw them as a united “parental mind”, if you
will. I never thought of them as having lives
apart from each other before they were married.
They were “always married” as far as my seven-year old mind
could conceive.
That being the case, they naturally (or so I thought) viewed
everything the same way – from what to eat for supper to how to
discipline my brothers and I.
So when on one Sunday Dad didn’t go to church with us, and
Mom drove a slightly different route than he did to get there, I
was concerned. Very concerned. Just what was going on here?
Could it be that this single parental unit really consisted of two
unique individuals working together to create one household?
As I grew older, I observed my parents’ differences on several
other matters. This always fascinated me. My young mind
couldn’t grasp that they were, indeed, two individual
personalities working toward one common goal: the
maintenance of our family.
The Core of a Marriage
Here at a young age, I recognized and identified the
fundamental underlying purpose of a marriage: establishment
and cultivation of a household. (I was a cleverly insightful child,
now wasn’t I?).
When one of the spouses in the relationship isn’t working toward
this common goal, discord and dissatisfaction can’t be far
behind.
Unfortunately for far too many couples, one or both partners are
focused more on their career, their own needs, or any number of
issues other than family and the household.
W
7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage
Even If You’re The Only One Who Wants It!
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Now, pursuing a career or individual needs isn’t necessarily a
bad thing. In fact, it is absolutely necessary to keep a marriage
healthy.
A spouse who is career oriented, for example, is probably
contributing substantially to the financial stability and long-term
good of his or her family. It’s when the focus of the career is so
intense and overriding that the spouse ignores the needs of the
rest of the family members, that problems surface.
Talk About “MIA!”
Consider the case of a married couple John Guttmann, a
professor of psychology at the University of Washington and a
marriage expert, met through his research. The husband was a
doctor who founded his own small pediatric hospital.
He poured his heart and soul into this endeavor, to the exclusion
of all else. He spent a minimum of 20 nights a month staying all
night at the hospital. (That just about equates to every weekday
of the month!).
But that’s not all, the man became disconnected from his family.
So much so, that he couldn’t tell researchers where the back
door of his house was. And even worse, he didn’t even know the
name of the family dog.
Granted this is an extreme example of a spouse “missing in
action,” but it is indicative of a growing trend in the United
States. More marriages than ever before are between husbands
and wives who both work outside of the home. This makes
creating a successful marriage more difficult than in the past —
but not impossible.
“Easy Come, Easy Go”
Increasing Divorce Rates
It’s not surprising then that the nationwide divorce rate is
steadily climbing. Current odds, sadly, are stacked against a
marriage’s longevity. The chance that a first marriage ends in
divorce before it reaches its 40th anniversary is 67 percent.
7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage
Even If You’re The Only One Who Wants It!
Page6
You’ve no doubt heard of the “Seven-year itch” in marriages?
It’s more than just an urban legend. Half of all first marriages
end in divorce by the time they hit the seven-year anniversary.
The truly sad aspect of this is that nothing is apparently learned
from the first marriage to the second. You may expect the
divorce rates for second marriages to fall. Nothing could be
further from the truth. Instead the rate of divorce for second
marriages is actually 10 percent higher than for first time
marriages.
Of course, the stress of two income households and the ease
with which couples seem to “grow apart” are only two reasons
for the climb in statistics.
Society has knocked down many barriers to divorce in recent
decades. It’s no longer considered the stigma it once was.
Today, “no-fault” divorces can be obtained in nearly all parts of
the country. This means that only one of the partners needs to
desire the divorce for it to occur.
Of course, this is an important advance — and quite necessary —
for any individual who is caught in an abusive marriage.
Marriage:
The Vanishing Institution
But it also means that many individuals find it far too easy to
just walk away from a relationship that may have potential for
saving.
But that’s not the only harbinger of change on the American
landscape regarding relationships. It seems more people than
ever before are sidestepping the need for a divorce. How? By
avoiding the Number One cause of divorce in the first place:
marriage!
Perhaps this sounds silly, but it’s very true. Years ago, 95
percent of Americans got married. Predictions are that only 85
percent of us will enter into a marriage these days.
7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage
Even If You’re The Only One Who Wants It!
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Choosing Marriage
Over Divorce
Perhaps you’re in the midst of a less than happy, fulfilling
relationship right now. You certainly can choose divorce. After
all, it’s the easiest choice in many ways. But you’d rather stay
married (yes, to the person with whom you’re currently married
to, in fact) rather than suffer the ultimate heartbreak of divorce.
This book will help you do exactly that. It offers you seven of
the most effective secrets that not merely avoid divorce, but
create a loving lasting relationship in the process.
Hopefully by the time you’ve implemented some or all of the
seven secrets, you won’t be signing those divorce papers, you’ll
be renewing your vows in a recommitment wedding ceremony!
7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage
Even If You’re The Only One Who Wants It!
Page8
Chapter
1
How Did We Get Here?
On the Brink of Divorce
The relationship between health and a happy marriage.
The four core strategies couples use that move them closer to the
cliff of divorce.
“It’s a long way down.”
“Yeah. It is.”
“Why don’t you jump first?”
“Me? Do you think I’m that crazy?”
John and Melinda stared down again. They were standing at the
edge of a cliff; the wind whipping around them. The rain pelted
down on them, causing their bodies to shiver violently.
A long period of silence followed as they both surveyed the
depths of the canyon below. Finally, John spoke. “Maybe we
should rethink this whole divorce thing.”
Melinda immediately replied, “You might be right. Maybe we
should. Why don’t we go back to the house, make some hot
chocolate, start a fire in the fireplace and try to work this out?”
The couple turned around, instinctively held hands, and returned
home.
7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage
Even If You’re The Only One Who Wants It!
Page9
ouldn’t it be wonderful if making the
commitment for a divorce came with a scene
similar to that? Imagine how many couples
would think twice before they slammed the door
on their marriage forever.
All too often divorce proceedings are started in the heat of a
battle — and it doesn’t have to be a battle over any large issue.
In these instances, that’s a shame. The couples may never
realize just how close they were to saving their marriage.
You’d be amazed at how many couples simply take their
marriage for granted, like a flower planted in a garden but never
nourished, watered or weeded. Instead of it growing strong, it
withers or gets choked out by other surrounding more
aggressive needs. Both partners are left wondering what went
wrong.
Then again, maybe you wouldn’t be amazed. Does this sound
like the route your marriage took?
Marriage and Health:
The Little-Known Connection
A good marriage, by the way, is more than just the creation of a
happy home. It appears that it’s also the cornerstone of good
health – at least that’s what recent research is telling us.
If you’re involved in a less than satisfying marriage it can
actually increase your odds of falling ill by approximately 35
percent. Not only that, but it also has the potential to shorten
your life span by as many as four years!
This is just a portion of the results revealed in a series of studies
conducted by Lois Verbrugge and James House of the University
of Michigan. On the other side of the coin, a happy, satisfying
marriage, not only creates more fulfilling lives for the two
involved, but it creates longer lives as well.
Why? Scientists can’t prove any one reason over another, but
they do present some convincing commonsense arguments
based on our current knowledge of the functioning of our bodies.
W
7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage
Even If You’re The Only One Who Wants It!
Page10
If you’re currently experiencing a rocky marriage — standing on
the precipice of divorce — then you already know how stressful a
life this can be. And we now know that emotional stress can
easily manifest itself as physical stress.
This, in turn, can increase your risk for any number of physical
ailments, including high blood pressure, and heart disease, to
name just two of the more obvious ones.
But stress can also translate itself as depression, anxiety,
substance abuse and, in some cases, various forms of violence.
Happier Marriages
Translate Into Healthier Spouses
It isn’t surprising to learn, then, that couples who are happily
married experience a lower rate of all these health ailments. But
that’s not all. They are also more health conscious in general.
Researchers believe this may be due to the fact that loving
partners ensure the other receives regular medical checkups,
take their medicine and vitamins, and eat nutritiously — among
other important health reminders and concerns.
In fact, recent research indicates that the benefits may go one
giant step farther. A good marriage may actually boost your
natural immune system, which keeps your defenses against
illness in top-notch fighting form.
But We Are
Looking At Divorce
You say even with all the health benefits to staying married,
divorce is staring you and your spouse in the eye every day.
Just how did this happen, you ask?
You got to the edge of that cliff by practicing destructive
behavior. They could be any types of behavior, depending on the
chemistry between you and your spouse. But, for the most part
these actions fall under four, large umbrella categories,
according to researchers. They are:
7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage
Even If You’re The Only One Who Wants It!
Page11
• Raising the stakes of your specific argument with
your spouse.
• Discrediting your partner’s feelings.
• Withdrawing from arguments and avoiding problems
and issues.
• Interpreting comments in the worst possible light.
Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these strategies to see how
many of these you and your spouse have unwittingly practiced.
War of the Words:
Raising The Stakes
You’ve probably performed this destructive behavior without
even realizing it. Most of us have at some point in our
marriages. Raising the stakes of an argument occurs as the
partners respond to one another’s negative comments.
It’s difficult to say whether it’s done intentionally or just as a
reflex action. But why it’s done really doesn’t matter. The fact
remains that once the words are spoken they’re impossible to
take back.
And soon you’ll see a small argument — as small as the issue of
the proverbial cap on the toothpaste — being raised to an issue
of packing your bags and leaving forever.
The pair continually ups the ante as if their marriage were some
poker game spiraling wildly out of control. Each of you flings the
negative comments fiercely at each other.
One partner will criticize some action, the next thing you know
the other is saying, “If you’re not happy here, why not just
leave.” This brings the inevitable, “Well, maybe I just will.”
And you can imagine the response to that! (And usually it isn’t
good!)
7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage
Even If You’re The Only One Who Wants It!
Page12
Moving From Hurtful
To Destructive
These actions just don’t increase the intensity of the argument.
It transforms simple anger into hurtful, often destructive
comments.
In these heated moments, spouses say things — sometimes lots
of things — that are extremely damaging to the other. While all
couples have disagreements, it’s when you allow the small
arguments to escalate into larger, more hurtful exchanges that
very often damage your relationship.
The damage goes deep enough at times to mortally wound your
marriage. We all know that reckless driving can get you a traffic
ticket — at the very minimum. It’s a shame someone can’t stop
to ticket us as we escalate toward “reckless arguing.”
Another Approach
To Raising The Stakes
Very often one spouse has learned about a fear or concern
burned deep into the other’s psyche. He or she then uses this
issue as an instrument to hurt him in the heat of the argument.
This too falls under the category of “reckless arguing.”
Escalation can be derailed, though. Many couples that find their
arguments getting out of control simply apologize for the
situation. In the long run, it’s better to enjoy a sound loving
union than to be proven right on one small, non-consequential
issue.
A Splash of Humor
Don’t think that you’re showing weakness by being the person
who stamps out the fuse on the stick of dynamite between the
two of you. In the long term, it’s the best move you can make.
I know one couple that has been married for more than 60
years. He’s 94. She’s 87. During my visits with them, I’ve
witnessed more than my share of arguments between them. But
each one usually ends the same way — with humor.
7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage
Even If You’re The Only One Who Wants It!
Page13
Just when I think the disagreement is about to end in some
explosive fury, one or another says something funny concerning
the incident. The other laughs, then they both allow the tension
to pass and the argument dies a natural, non-damaging death.
It’s a wonderful tool they have developed over the years. It
certainly appears to work for them.
Put Downs:
Discrediting The Feelings
of Your Spouse
No one likes to be told that his feelings or opinions are
worthless. Very often though, married couples do just that when
they argue.
At times, it’s done on purpose, with a contempt that’s meant to
wound the partner. However, far too often, this behavior is
performed almost unconsciously. Sometimes one partner fails to
realize the importance of his spouse’s reaction to any given
situation.
“I think you’re taking this (fill in the blank) more seriously than
you should.” In that instant, the spouse’s feelings have been
invalidated.
Unfortunately, this hurts. It may even create a damaging rift in
the union. You need to acknowledge your spouse’s feelings as
valid. You don’t have to agree with them, but you do need to try
to understand that’s how he or she is feeling at the moment.
Once you do this, then you can move on to dealing with them.
But by simply dismissing them you’re dismissing a vital concern
to your partner.
“You Can’t Catch Me!”
Withdrawal and Avoidance
I know one couple whose arguments always end with the
husband running out of the house. He heads for his car and
drives around for several hours. Or he visits a buddy and returns
7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage
Even If You’re The Only One Who Wants It!
Page14
in the middle of the night. This is an extreme example of
withdrawal.
Very often a spouse simply leaves the room in the midst of an
argument. Sometimes, though, withdrawal can display itself
with one of the participants pronouncing the end of the
conversation with an authoritative, “Discussion closed” or “I
don’t wish to discuss this anymore.” And there’s no budging him
into talking again.
The person who withdraws usually gets quiet during the
argument. In some cases he or she may even agree hastily to a
suggestion for resolution — any suggestion, in fact, — in order to
put the conversation to rest. Usually he has no intention of
actually following through with the suggestion.
The Accompanying Technique:
Avoidance
The technique of avoidance — which goes hand-in-hand with this
— is a way of dealing with reluctance to continue the discussion.
For the most part, the individual practicing this doesn’t want to
start the conversation in the first place. If he can’t avoid the
discussion, then he or she may resort to the withdrawal practice.
This behavior is actually fairly common in couples that are
struggling with different issues. One of the spouses pursues the
issue, and the other tries to avoid or withdraw from it.
Is this something you and your mate are experiencing? It’s
something that really shouldn’t be ignored. As you might
imagine, the more the “pursuer” pushes to discuss the topic, the
more the other tries to avoid and then withdraw.
It eventually becomes a “tug of war” escalating as the pursuer
responds — pulling that proverbial rope ever harder. The other
then pulls back, trying to reel him in. And we all know what
happens in a tug of war. One side eventually falls — and hard!
Interpretation Gone Wild
Negative interpretations occur when one of the spouses is
convinced that the motives of the other are less than positive.
7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage
Even If You’re The Only One Who Wants It!
Page15
This can be an extremely dangerous pattern to develop. It
makes any disagreement more difficult to handle.
If a person believes in his negative interpretation strongly
enough, then there’s no convincing him or her of anything
different.
As the relationship disintegrates, this particular practice tends to
escalate. What this does, it only adds to the feelings of
hopelessness and demoralization.
The biggest problem with this technique is the difficulty in
detecting it. If it’s difficult to discover, it’s hard to counteract or
repair. Such views become — almost seamlessly — part of the
fabric of the union itself.
Why? It’s due to the human nature’s tendency to accept
“confirmation bias.” All this means is that we have a habit of
searching out evidence that agrees with what we already think
about a particular situation or person. (You see this being
carried out every day in the political arena!)
A Habit
Not Easy To Change
This means that it’s not easy to change an already-formed
negative bias. But that’s really only part of the problem. As you
might imagine, when one partner clings to these negative
thoughts, the other is more likely to respond with hostility.
You can think of negative interpretation as mind reading gone
wild. One partner truly believes that he or she knows what the
other is thinking or knows the ulterior motives behind his actions
and behaviors. Now, you’re treading some seriously dangerous
ground here!
Of course, some individuals like to read the other’s mind in a
positive light. Obviously, this causes no harm to the relationship
and in the long term, probably even benefits it.
If you or your mate are playing mind reader gone berserk that
happens to include a negative viewpoint, your marriage maybe
slowly sliding towards trouble.
7 Secrets To Saving Your Marriage
Even If You’re The Only One Who Wants It!
Page16
As you become accustomed to routinely thinking the worst of

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