NOT TO DO
by Lee H. Baucom, M.Div., Th.M., Ph.D.
Counseling, Coaching, Consulting
Thank you for taking the time to read this
Since you chose to receive this article, I can only assume that you have just
discovered that your spouse or partner is ready to leave the relationship.
This may or may not be a surprise. Many people are
completely caught off-guard. Others knew it was coming, but didn't know what to
I have put together this article to help you avoid
some common mistakes when people discover a relationship is in trouble. Once you
have read this report, if you have not already done so, you may want to get
access to my ebook, Save The Marriage.
Instead of what NOT to do, it will help you with
what TO DO. Best wishes to you in your efforts to save your marriage!
Don't Panic This is number one for a simple
reason: it is so common and so destructive. You may be gripped with terror as
soon as you hear that your spouse or partner does not want to be in the
That reaction is entirely understandable . . . and
Here's why: when you hit panic mode, a very primitive part of your brain takes
over. It has two options, flight or fight.
Neither is very helpful.
If you find yourself gripped by the fight instinct, you will argue, cajole, fuss
about, and continue to exacerbate the situation.
If you are gripped by the flight instinct, you may
flee the situation, may retreat to alcohol or some other destructive
distraction, or just decide to move out.
Unfortunately, when there is a threat to us, we
automatically go into one of these two modes. So, take a deep breath, step back
from the situation, and let reason be your guide. You may already be imagining
the end of your relationship. But I am here to tell you that I have story after
story of people who have moved from having a relationship that seemed headed
over the cliff to a relationship to be treasured.
Take some time to think about what is going on.
Sometimes, a spouse or partner saying that the relationship is at an end can be
an opportunity for rebirth of the relationship. At least at this point, you know
that things can't continue the way they have been. There must be a change. This
can be a good thing. It can be a wake-up call.
Don't Run To The Attorney Okay, let me be clear
about this one: don't run to the attorney to begin divorce or separation
proceedings. However, you may be well-advised to speak with an attorney about
what you may need to do to protect yourself.
These are two very different reactions. Believe it
or not, I have seen many divorces where neither want to be divorced, but one or
the other started a legal process that locked them into a battle.
When you look on a legal document, and the word
separating the parties is "versus," there is a reason for this. Legal processes,
by their nature, pit one against the other.
Attorneys are excellent at what they do. They
protect their client's interests. But in doing so, the process can create a huge
amount of animosity.
Once the process begins, there is a natural
process that pushes the couple apart. And unfortunately, there is little that
can be done to cushion this process. People often start the process because they
feel like they better, before the other gets an upper hand. But often, this
jumps the gun. In fact, it is often more a result of the point in #1 --someone
Yet many separations end up in recommitment. Lots
of marriages have been through separations. Many threats to leave, divorce, or
separate end with a couple together and happy.
As I have always said to couples: you can always
go and file later. It is much harder to Stop the Divorce. So, if at all
possible, hold off on legal processes.
Don't Announce It To The World When we are hurt,
our natural response is to "rally the troops." I would suggest that this could
be quite destructive.
Telling family and friends that there is a problem
changes how those people will think about your spouse or partner. The people you
would tell are those who will feel a need to support and protect you.
And they will naturally protect you from this
horrible person, even if you don't want that person seen in such terms. So, the
first reason not to tell everyone is because the perceptions will change toward
your spouse or partner.
The second reason is because if both of you opt to
reconcile, if word is out, there is almost a tidal wave that carries you away
We are impacted by what others think. So, if
others think that a couple is moving apart, the couple will feel the pull. And
tied to the first reason, if you decide to reconcile, there will be quite a bit
of collateral damage to be repaired.
People are slower to forgive those that hurt
someone they love than the person who is actually hurt. My suggestion: find one
friend, minister, therapist, or someone else that will hold everything you say
in confidence, and share with them. Later, others can be told, if things don't
Don't Blame, Shame, or Manipulate This can be a
tough one. Our natural inclination is to verbally lash out, show what is wrong
with the other person, and try to convince them to change their minds. More
often than not, this backfires.
My ebook talks a good bit about paradigms. But for
now, suffice it to say that people make a decision that makes sense to them,
from how they see things. And it is extremely difficult to shift that vision. In
fact, the more you argue, the more concretized the belief becomes.
So, this is not the time to try to point out his
or her faults, short-comings, failings, etc. It is a time to say that ending the
relationship is not what you want.
Instead, you would rather work to make a
relationship that both of you would treasure. DO NOT get caught up in thinking
THIS is the talk (extend that to every discussion you have) that has to solve
Think about building a foundation that will allow
you to move toward resolution. By the way, don't even start to believe the
ebooks you see out there that promise to show you how to change your partner's
mind through manipulation.
Some claim to be able to stop the partner in his
or her tracks. It is possible that you will get the other person to pause from
the shock of the response, but only long enough for him or her to realize that
you are really only trying to manipulate him or her into staying.
This rarely works well. So, no browbeating,
begging, manipulating, shaming, etc. You will only convince the other person
that he or she really should leave you, given the response that validates his or
her beliefs anyway.
Which leads to my final Don't:
Don't Try To Become What You Think He/She Wants. How often, have I heard someone
cry: "just tell me what to do. I'll do anything to keep you." Unfortunately,
there are two problems with this approach.
First, it makes you appear, bluntly, spineless and
pitiful. You will likely lose the other person's respect, because you cannot
suddenly transform yourself, and because offering to do so only shows how little
you think of yourself. Besides, you are fine the way you are. The problem is in
the relationship, not in you. So, don't be pitiful in the other person's view.
Second, trying to change means that you
cannot be true to
yourself. Instead, you give away your self. You are basically being dishonest.
And in the end, regardless of where things end up in your relationship, you need
to look yourself in the mirror and like whom you see looking back. You don't
want to look in and see someone you don't recognize.
that's my Top 5 of what 'NOT TO DO'
I hope it was helpful. If you are ready to
find out what 'TO DO' read my e-book shown here. You can get your copy by going here:
Click Here.! Save the Marriage