Saturday, October 24, 2009

Five Myths About a Marital Crisis

A marital crisis occurs when one or both partner's commitment to the marriage becomes uncertain. Here are five myths about a marriage crisis that may help you manage the crisis in your marriage.

Myth 1: A marital crisis is a sign that our marriage is over.

Questioning your commitment to your marriage is not a sign that a divorce is on the horizon. Rather, it is a time to determine whether there is hope for an improved relationship. The decision to divorce comes from hopelessness, the belief that the marriage will never be satisfying.

Myth 2: It is best to hold your feelings inside until you have made a clear decision whether or not to divorce.

Responding passively to a marital crisis is like not having a fire alarm go off when your home is on fire. By sharing your feelings, your partner has the opportunity to respond. His or her response can be the beginning of creating hope for a more satisfying relationship.

Myth 3: If your partner's commitment is uncertain, then you must let your partner know how much you love him or her.

It's natural to try to show your distancing partner how much you love him or her. However, this can backfire as your partner needs your patience, time and distance in the early stage of a marital crisis. The best way to show your love and commitment to the marriage is by appreciating your partner's position. Your partner needs an environment that facilitates good decision-making. Pressuring or manipulating your partner will not create an environment for making a good decision.

Myth 4: Talking about divorce will make the divorce more likely.

Discussing divorce as an option will not make the divorce more likely to happen. It is important to recognize that a good decision includes all options. By denying divorce as an option, you are saying, "You are trapped in this marriage". You want to choose to be married, not trapped in marriage.

Myth 5: Once I have thought about divorce, I'll never regain love for my partner.

There is a path back from a marital crisis to an improved marriage and love. But this path is not a "fake it till you make it" path. Rather, it requires both partner's commitment to change. For the rejected spouse, this path begins by appreciating that your partner is not currently committed to the change process, but can get there in time.

To learn more about managing a marital crisis read my free ebook, Managing a Marital Crisis at

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Five Books to Help You Through a Marital Crisis

Here are five books that can help you sail through the rough seas of a marital crisis.

Should I Stay or Should I Go by Lee Raffel M.S.W.

Lee Raffel may not deliver on the answer to the question posed by the title of her book but she does offer a path toward this answer. The path is what she terms "a controlled separation." This is contrasted with an emotional separation by having clear goals and boundaries.

The Passion Trap: Where Is Your Relationship Going? Dean Delis, Ph.D.

Dr. Delis' book gives fine detail to the dynamics of relationships when one partner cares more than the other. He teaches about how to protect yourself from your feelings.

Love Must Be Tough James Dobson, Ph.D.

Dr. Dobson's training is as a child psychologist but he makes it clear that he has had much practical experience dealing with marital crises. The strength of this book is in helping you to understand the importance of setting limits. You will learn how to set limits without being angry and aggressive.

When The One You Love Wants to Leave Donald Harvey Ph.D.

Dr. Harvey offers practical advice on how to manage the manipulations that arise during a marital crisis. This book also helps you to see the pitfalls of premature reconciliation.

Divorce Busting Michele Weiner-Davis

Skip Part One, then find very practical ways to alter your interaction with your partner while sending a message of personal worth.

Of course, I have to add a shameless plug for my book:

Crumbling Commitment: Managing a Marital Crisis Lee Horton, Ph.D.

I build on these authors' wisdome by laying out a clear path toward making sound decisions for your marriage and yourself.