Lately, I’ve been getting emails from men whose wives have given up on them.
These men are finally “getting it” that they’ve been asleep at the wheel of their marriage for too long, and now they stand to lose everything they hold dear: their marriage, their children, their home, their savings… EVERYTHING.
And they’re freaking out.
These men tell me similar stories—that they didn’t know their wives were so unhappy. They assumed the complaints they were hearing year after year were just regular, day-to-day complaints that didn’t MEAN anything serious about the state of their marriage.
They considered the complaints “petty,” in other words. Their wives or partners would say things like:
I’m worried about our finances. When are we going to talk about it?
You said you’d take care of that, and you haven’t. Again.
I’m exhausted having to juggle everything. Don’t you see how frazzled I am?
You seem to be off in your own little world all the time.
When was the last time you asked me about MY day?
I can’t live like this the rest of my life. My soul is dying.
And these men probably thought…”Eh, she’s just having a bad day. She has a pet-peeve about that. It’s always something, she’s hard to please. Not my problem.”
But now, it IS their problem.
Now that the wife has threatened to leave, or has started to pack her things, or has already moved on, the husband suddenly starts to realize that he’d better start taking things seriously.
But as far as the wife is concerned, it may be “too little, too late.”
Why too little, too late? Because she’s been unhappy for so long. She’s tried everything she could to get the man to see things her way. She’s talked, pleaded, yelled, asked nicely, asked sarcastically, and still—the issue persisted or simply changed form.
She doesn’t want to reconcile because she’s lost interest. Her heart’s not in it. She’s done.
Does this sound familiar? Have your relationship problems gone on for so long that you’re starting to lose faith in your love, too?
Do you worry that if your partner won’t take you seriously, or won’t work with you on the issues in your relationship, you’ll shut down, too?
If so, you’re going to want to keep reading and find out how you can stop this downward spiral, and get to the underlying issue that’s causing ALL your relationship problems.
Because this isn’t just a matter of communicating your feelings better…
Or that your partner is stubborn, or incapable, or clueless…
Or being right, and your partner being wrong…
Or a matter of incompatibility.
It’s a matter of realizing you’re focusing on the SYMPTOMS of what’s really fundamentally dysfunctional in your relationship. Once you learn what that is, you can effectively transform your relationship in a way you haven’t even considered before.
If you’re a woman who’s experiencing relationship or marital problems, you may think that your partner just doesn’t “get it.”
He doesn’t get that what he’s doing (or NOT doing) is causing so many issues and frustration.
Maybe you’re nodding right now.
The thing is, after working closely with couples for more than 40 years, I can tell you that most of the time, neither partner “gets” what’s REALLY wrong or missing in the relationship.
Let me give you an example.
You feel disconnected from your partner because he never notices you anymore, doesn’t appreciate you, and never tells you that you’re beautiful. He seems lost in his own little world, and you feel invisible.
So you tell him, “Honey, you never give me compliments anymore. I wonder if you’re still attracted to me.”
He wants you to be happy, so he reassures you that yes, he’s attracted to you. And the next day he makes it a point to tell you that he likes that new blouse on you, and you look sexy.
You appreciate the compliment, but it’s just one compliment. And you think that if you have to tell him to compliment you, it doesn’t count! So the problem isn’t really solved, and now you feel resentful that you had to ask for a little verbal affection.
From his point of view, he wants to make you happy, but he feels helpless. He simply doesn’t know what you REALLY need, or how to give it to you.
It’s not because you don’t know how to communicate it.
It’s because what you THINK is the problem, isn’t the real problem.
You don’t want him to tell you compliments, you want him to be more romantically alive!
The occasional compliments when you put on a new dress or get a new hairstyle aren’t going to cut it. You want more, but here’s the problem—you don’t know how to tell him that in a way that will get through to him. Why? Because you don’t know how to solve the problem of him lacking romantic aliveness!
Therefore, you’re frustrated, he’s frustrated…and nothing gets solved.
I see this all the time.
And this isn’t just about dealing with a partner who’s checked out or unappreciative.
This can also be about:
ALL of these issues are mere SYMPTOMS of a much bigger deficiency in your relationship, and unless you know what that deficiency is and how to effectively address it, you’ll just keep spinning your wheels masking over the symptoms and never getting to the “cure.”
In other words, you’re not fixing the issue because you don’t know what it really is.
How can I be so sure this is your problem when I’ve never met you? Because I’ve found that nearly everything a couple argues are caused by one of 5 flaws in the foundation of the relationship:
It’s not an exaggeration to say that whatever you and your partner are arguing about, we can trace it back to one of these flaws in the foundation of your relationship.
When you aren’t aware of your particular flaw, you will keep fruitlessly treating the wrong “symptom.”
You’ll keep hoping for more compliments, sweet text messages, and flowers, when those things will not bring you the romantic aliveness that you really want.
You’ll make budgets and get loans and consolidate debt, but you’ll still feel unsure and insecure in your relationship, because you know it’s just a matter of time before the other shoe drops—and you’ll be in a crisis you can’t handle.
You agree to clean the kitchen and vacuum the carpet while he cleans the bathrooms on Saturday mornings, but you still feel like you’re in an unfair relationship when your child gets sick and you’re ALWAYS the one who has to take time off work to stay home with her.
After years of this, and nothing changing (much), you start to detach emotionally.
He feels helpless to solve the problem.
And you risk losing what could have been a wonderful and loving relationship, if only if it weren’t for these undetected flaws that grow bigger and more destructive by the day.
You don’t know they’re there, and because they go undetected, they creep up on you gradually, deteriorating the love and affection between you and your partner.
It’s all too easy to think that leaving is the answer, or starting over with someone new, except that unless you deal with what’s really happening in your relationship NOW, you’re practically guaranteed to repeat the pattern in the next relationship, with the next person.
You have to uncover the flaw, and you have to know the specific steps to take in order to transform your relationship effectively, not just mask the symptoms.
In other words, once you know the underlying cause of your dissatisfaction, you can go about making the changes in your relationship that will actually make a difference.
When I work with couples to help them see what’s really behind their fighting, boredom, conflicts, and disconnect, they have a huge “AHA.”
They finally “get” what’s missing, and exactly what they need to do to get their love back on track.
But I can’t possibly work individually with everyone who needs that kind of help. That’s why I’ve partnered with Flourish, so I can extend that help and guidance to as many people as possible, since almost all couples can benefit from these insights and tips.
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A relationship doesn’t need to lose passion and connection, just because you’ve been together for a long time. Just the opposite! It should get sweeter and more loving with time.
Marriage CAN be enlivening and wonderful, if you have the right knowledge and tools.
The advice contained in the articles I’ve written for Flourish will help you uncover the hidden issues that are draining your relationship of joy and passion, and help you create and maintain a strong foundation of love and respect, so that your relationship can last a lifetime.
May you have an extraordinary day,