I will not minimize your concerns if you think your marriage is in trouble, I am sure you are right, but someone has to set the record straight and help you solve your marital problems pro-actively.
Instead of feeling fear from thoughts of losing your marriage, I want to help you shift to a “what should I do to make my marriage wonderful?” approach. Let’s solve this!
So you are not discouraged by what is going on in your marriage, I will go down the list of these ignorantly conceived ’12 signs your marriage is over’ and show you why they are false. My reasons are based on true principles, and over 20 years of experience. I will tell you what you can do about them if you see them in your marriage.
My approach is positive. You can learn what to do to make your marriage a hive of happiness.
On The Marriage Foundation youtube channel “12 false signs your marriage is over and 1 true sign” is popular enough that I wanted to create an article, with some different and expanded commentary. I’m Paul Friedman and I founded The Marriage Foundation in 2001 with common-sense principles and step-by-step processes that re-enliven marriages that are in big trouble. Our free information and purchasable products help people achieve the kind of marriage anyone can and should have, filled with happiness and love. If you want to watch the video of the same name as this article, too, it’s embedded further down.
As a one-time successful divorce mediator (over 20 years ago) I saw that western psychological thinking, which is the basis for most marriage counseling, had created a fatalistic attitude toward marriages and wrongly directs people to dwell on problems rather than do marriage rejuvenation, which is how I helped my clients after I shifted divorce mediation to marriage-saving.
Because of my associations, I was able to speak with women who were getting a divorce and going through the exploration process at the 2nd Saturday divorce workshop. I shared in a short talk that helped those who didn’t want to divorce but saw no other way. Their marriage counselors were telling them divorce was their only option, using these same signs I am telling you are FALSE. My system, which then required sessions with me, is now an online program we offer on our website, and it works. But we will get to how our program works later.
If you prefer to just watch my video here it is
12 Signs that your marriage is over is fraudulent
Don’t get sucked in!
This list has become the standard, and I mean false standards.
When I find out that what someone told me about something is fake it really bothers me, especially when that someone is an expert. It happens all the time and I guess we get used to it, sort of, but that’s why we have to get second opinions about everything. Well, trust me, when it comes to marriage it is even worse because there is nothing as important to any of us as our marriage. It is the biggest commitment we make in our lives and we want to have the ever-increasing happiness and ever-expanding love that are the promises of marriage and is available to everyone who knows how… I guess I am getting onto another topic so I will get back to the list.
Fantasizing About Leaving
I worked with hundreds of individuals when I had a live practice and it never shocked me when someone told me they considered leaving and what a relief it would be. They came up with all the ways it was better for their husband (or wife) and even their children. NO, no, and no. This was our starting point. Of course, people are feeling mega-discouraged and bewildered and that’s why they came to see me. Because they could not see a way to stay together. But, and let me be very clear, that fantasy about leaving is a starting point, a recognition that they were stuck, didn’t know what to do, didn’t have the tools, and needed guidance.
When I was a kid I used to fantasize about all kinds of things when I needed to escape something. Who hasn’t? This is simple. It is how our drive-to-survive operates and just because our biologically-influenced mind is saying run does not mean that we follow its “advice”. We are not animals that act instinctively. We are human beings that enjoyed love and harmony and things have slipped because of correctable mistakes in how we ran our marriage. This idea is so silly to me. Sure you may have fantasized about leaving and some get very elaborate in their mind. But is it a sign that your marriage is over? NO!
It would be much better to work on improving your marriage than throwing everything away.
More Bad Than Good
If marriage was something “material” like an automobile we could use this criterion that some would consider sensible, but it is neither sensible nor does it make any sense at all when it comes to marriage. For one thing, one VERY BIG thing it ignores the very basis of marriage which is love. Now, granted, the marriage that is foundational to marriage is probably hidden now, but that is because of your interactions with each other, not because the love isn’t there. I cannot tell you how many people who were getting a divorce (when I was a divorce mediator) told me “we love each other but…” Well, love is the foundation and the “stuff” comes and goes. But, honestly, nobody teaches us how to get along in married life when we are growing up. Why not? Because they don’t know. My 2nd book, Breaking the Cycle is all about how to be married and I recommend it to virtually every single person who is married. It will not save a marriage that is closing in on you but it serves as a perfect handbook for those who have not gotten so far afield. Here are the reviews so you can get an idea of how I approach marriage. It is a very simple, practical, and doable way of looking at marriage.
The idea of more bad than good also ignores the needs of your children. No matter how much “they” tell us that the kids will be okay the nearly 100 years of studies say otherwise. Your kids will be messed up if y9ou get a divorce, period. Sorry if you don’t want to hear that, but it is the God’s honest truth and there is no whitewashing it.
You Don’t Share Your Thoughts or Feelings
“How does that make you feel?” Everyone jokes about that phrase being part of therapists’ routine when meeting with clients. How therapists work with their clients has, instead of reducing the number of divorces, created a world with over 50% divorce and growing. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with your spouse is no different than complaining, blaming, and condemning, all of which run counter to what is useful and positive communication. How do you react when someone tells you, you know shares, that you did this or that and are the cause of their feelings?
When my divorcing clients came to me, straight from their failed marriage counseling, they continued this disgusting practice. It was a lot of work for me to get them off that pill of misery and have them learn how to keep their communications productive. Had I seen that dis-training as the tip of the iceberg of marriage counseling at that time I would have seen through the marriage counseling ruse much earlier and perhaps saved more marriages. But, I too thought, oh so wrongly, that the counselors, as well-intended as they are, were dangerous to marriages. When I shifted my practice to saving marriages I worked right away on what I call marital communication. It does not include sharing thoughts or feelings of any kind other than supportive, loving, embracing, and bridge-building communications. Try it yourself! Stop all of the negative communication. Replace it with smiles, compliments, encouragement, and I love you. You will see the results are more of what you wish for in your marriage.
No, not sharing your thoughts and feelings is NOT a sign of a marriage that is over. This is another false and dangerous contention made by an industry that is an overall failure.
One Of You Gets Defensive
I kind of think it is so easy to see the ridiculousness of this one that it does not need to be “exposed”. Who, may I ask, doesn’t get defensive at one time or another?? I will wager that both of you get defensive, both of you go into attack mode at times (which we should not do), and neither of you is a perfect spouse. Marriage is learnable, but it takes time to learn, a lifetime. I admit that I have not mastered marriage, yet and though I am way better than most because I live in this world still I am still learning about my flaws and sometimes I make mistakes. I even get defensive at times and I am sure you do too. Are you starting to see how contrived these signs your marriage is over are?
You Feel Alone In Fixing Your Marriage
The commonly accepted, but incorrect, strategy for fixing marriages is marriage counseling, isn’t it. This is in spite of the dismal record they have which is under 10%. Yes, you read that right. The best marriage counseling money can buy didn’t work for Bill and Melinda Gates, or Jeff Bezos, or any of the super-rich or super connected. They failed because the “experts” do not understand that marriage is when two people travel the path of life together BUT each one needs to learn how, from their own point of view.
This bit of wisdom didn’t come to me immediately but took many sessions with couples to realize that what is needed by the couple is individual education, specialized tools, and a sound methodology. Once I realized this absolute reality it was much easier for my couples to heal faster and more permanently. So, when we developed the courses for marriage help I split them up. Now, after about 15 years we can see that was wise. When a person purchases both courses at the same time we make sure that their spouse wants to, too. Too many people want their spouse to join them but that is not a good idea. You live your marriage together, it is true, but you learn things individually. Also, you need to learn different things. We are not all the same and we all are at different stages of development. Some are better at math, some are better at writing, some are better at rolling with the mistakes of the other and some are better at opening their heart.
One can fix their marriage alone. It is true, we have proven it, and our successes are real and permanent. When you purchase our program you will buy yours according to your gender and will have the option, forever to purchase theirs at a large discount. It is not unusual for the other spouse to see the marked progress of happiness and calmness and want it, too.
You Have a Difference in Sex Drives or a Lack of Physical Intimacy
Usually, by the time you get to the point where you are looking for signs your marriage is over you are not having much sex and physical intimacy is definitely not happening, or only on a very superficial level. This topic is pretty complicated because we have been so inundated with so-called norms that are fabricated by the Hollywood crowd. I used to work with these people. They “discovered” me and would drive down to San Diego from Hollywood-ville and meet with me. Directors, screenwriters, and actors. They are just like anyone else so they too were inundated with really dumb ideas about sex and intimacy. The truth is that marital intimacy is supposed to be sacred. I am not kidding, and it is within your reach. The USE of sex by married folks is not the same as having sex with a boyfriend or girlfriend or a random date. There is a very special purpose for sexual intimacy between a married couple so they can advance the agenda of learning how to love, unconditionally, not for recreation or release. Just as you have differences in taste, endurance on the hiking trail, preferences in entertainment, and pretty much everything else you are only going to be in the same place at various times when it comes to making love. To suggest that this is a sign of your marriage coming to an end is insane…sorry.
There Has Been Infidelity
I must tell you that from many to most (we don’t track this but it’s my impression) of our clients are either men who cheated in some way, meaning anything from porn to sexting to affairs or their wife who discovered it. If there was one big wake-up call that rises above the others that the marriage is not working it is infidelity. When women cheat the marriage is, from our experience, over, but when a man cheats, again from our experience, it is not over unless you don’t change a lot of things in your marriage, it means you need the course.
In other words, infidelity does NOT mean your marriage is over. But, UNLESS YOU TAKE THE COURSE INFIDELITY MEANS THE END OF YOUR MARRIAGE.
Lack of Respect
When there is a lot of arguing, fighting, ignoring, blaming, and criticizing, complaining, etc. these are all signs of disrespect, and when they are present it is time to get one of my books so you can get your marriage back on track, holistically. But is it the end of your marriage? No, it is not.
Drug and Alcohol Addictions
The great treasure called your mind is not supposed to be abused with substances. The person who goes that route is responsible but still, ill. So, the spouse who is not afflicted needs to muster all their strength to be there for them and do their best. It is far from easy. Is it a sign that your marriage is over? Pretty close because most are not able to lift themselves to that level of service that is needed.
There are Things You Cannot Change
There few things we CAN change but this is not a sign that your marriage is over, at all. Are they kidding? The only thing any of us can change is within our mind and that takes determined effort to first learn how and then make the required effort. I say that we barely use our free choice and when we do we can move mountains. This is a great topic, by the way. I hope you get the course for yourself so you can learn this art but still, not being able to change things is not a sign of anything.
It is no fun to be with your soulmate who has turned into your cellmate but this is a great wakeup call to learn how to be married. A sign? No.
In the vast majority of marriages, physical abuse is a sign that you should, you must protect your children and yourself. period. Is it possible to fix this marriage? Maybe.
Therapy Isn’t Working
The trouble is that marriage counseling and therapy don’t work and there is no question that there are a few therapists who uses their ticket to legally help people but as an industry as a whole, it is dangerous.
The greatest experience we can ever have is the ever-expanding love that is what drew us into getting married in the first place. That love will create ever-increasing happiness until the day you die. I want you to have those and have done my best to convey the “how-to” for achieving it. It is with the greatest respect for you that I offer you our services. Blessings to you.