Virtually every marriage help article, (other than this one), focuses on what you can, or should, do for a particular issue to help your marriage. They rarely focus your marriage as a whole.
Marriage help articles tend to explore fairly typical marital topics. You will find communication, unfaithfulness, or trust, are fairly well covered.
Most of them try to explain the “causes” of the issues they discuss, usually with what seems logical theories. But they rarely will help your marriage. I NEVER heard someone say they tried what they read and it changed their marriage around. The truth is those marriage help articles may be somewhat interesting. But they don’t help your marriage; and for good reason.
Reading an article, or even a cleverly written book on marriage, is not enough. In fact, when I write my articles I do so mostly to get your attention, with the hope you will dig much deeper. Because I want you to make your marriage as good as can be. Just using a tip, or some “advice” to get through a tough moment will not do that for you. Oh, a good tip may ease up the pain a bit, but it is not going to change your marriage into what it has the potential to be.
My philosophy , and my experience, is that marriage is the most amazing of all of life’s experiences, but
Unless you learn more about your marriage than how to say “I do”, you will never know what you are missing.
Yesterday I was at a bridal show promoting our new division, Premarital Academy, which serves people who are not yet married. We offer both dating and premarital education.
I spoke with a young lady who just read trendy marriage books. So, I asked her if she got anything useful for her new marriage, and she said no. Look, I already knew what the answer would be, because nobody learns how to be married from reading the cute marriage books. But they are interesting! (A great book on marriage is Breaking The Cycle. Now, THAT is useful!)
If you have read some marriage help books you already know you have to be careful about what you apply. Unfortunately, it does not take much for people to consider themselves marriage experts, and that goes double for marriage “experts” . Most people are educated beyond their intelligence. They think they know just because they read it, and now they can tell someone all about what is wrong with their marriage. But they lack true knowledge of marriage. So, try to be careful. If you fully trust something, and just go for it, you can end up in deeper trouble than before. A little later I will share a formula for testing what you learn, so you don’t get ensnared in a marriage threatening situation.
One example of misguided advice is the whole trendy thing about communicating what you”feel”. I know how it may seem so reasonable. But most people who preach this idea do not understand what they themselves are saying. So many marriages have been destroyed by this idea. Trust me, if you express your emotional feelings you will not achieve good results.
Most people don’t realize there is true “feeling”; which is of the heart, which is pure love. In fact there is a Sanskrit word (yes, I have done my research) that defines this feeling of the heart as very different from emotions (the word is “Chit”). Emotions are a mixed bag of mostly psychological Gordian knots . That is what most people understand as feelings; but they are not love, and will not benefit your marriage. Those emotional feelings should not be expressed! They are not the “real” you, as these false experts claim, and you should never imagine such a thought. God help the poor soul who thinks they are their emotions!
The formula for trying any new ideas you read or hear about is very simple, (just like you could use for expressing your emotions). If you follow this you will be approaching your marriage scientifically, just the way you should. In fact, if you want, you can do what I did, which was to start by asking why get married, then I asked how to achieve the goals of marriage, which i discovered are universal. Then I worked with hundreds of couples, using the formula below.
- Write down the idea, as you understand it.
- Write down how you think it will help your marriage.
- Write down WHY you think it will help your marriage.
- Write down what you will expect from an attempt.
- Try a little, and see what the result is.
In an attempt to help the most number of people, marriage experts typically use key word searches to decide on a topic. In most cases searches match up with ‘on the ground’ experiences. That’s why you see many more marriage help articles for topics like porn, or affairs.
Its true, isn’t it, that you can search for nearly any topic, and find many options… but there are compelling reasons articles are not a preferred way to solve an issue you are experiencing in your marriage. Your marriage is spiritual, not some mechanical device.
- Your marriage is not like an automobile, or some other mechanical thing, which has parts you can replace.
- Nor is marriage so simple that you only have to change one little behavior, and all things will be okay again. marriage is pretty complicated, and has a lot of moving parts.
- It is nearly impossible to incorporate even the best marriage advice into your marriage if you are doing many things incorrectly.
- unless what you hear is directly pertinent to your situation, AND you clearly see its usefulness, AND, you totally understand your spouse, And, and and
- You will never use what you read about, for long. You may try for awhile, but your efforts will soon slip back into your old habits; no matter how well you recognize an improvement.
I cannot tell you how many times I have explicitly told a client something not to do, but because the suggested behavior is not “natural” to them, they test it, to see what the results will be; even if it is incredibly obvious. Honestly, I can barely recall anyone just not doing what they were recommended they cease. .. which is why we almost never give specific advice to anyone, for anything, unless it is in counseling.
It was never a surprise to me when they tell me how what they did blew up in their face, again. Then, they usually wait for awhile, but sure enough, they test it again. And, they almost have to! It is just how our minds are programmed. Sometimes it takes a while for us to adopt new ways of thinking, and marriage requires us to do just that. Marriage is unlike any other venue. You have to develop all kinds of new ways to think and behave.
Be honest with yourself. Are you able to break habits just because you see they are bad? Most people struggle with habits over and over. It is why I invented the SEW technique. which gives you power over your habits.
The SEW technique is simple, but because our mind’s are so multilayered one cannot just jump into using the SEW. It will work, of course. It does every time! But using it has to become a habit, and that’s why the best, if not the only effective way to learn the SEW is through our program.
So many people think they know better, They learn the SEW only on the face, they use it a few times, then fall back into their old destructive habits.
Everyone shares this handicap of habits because of how our minds work. Human nature does not look for opportunities to progress, only for what it deems necessary for immediate survival. So, your mind is going to tell you that what you already believe is what will work. You are not going to be receptive to marital advice that is outside of your personal framework of thinking.
Honestly, this is why our marriage help program is so important. Unlike a marriage help article, the program we offer does not take any shortcuts. Each and every bit of “advice” is backed up with layers and layers of scientific explanation. That way you will be confident in your marriage saving actions, Or, should I say, you will be less likely to use any marriage destruction actions.
When the mind faces a frightening challenge, as it does when you realize your marriage is in trouble, it is uninterested in “general” improvements. It wants to react!
That’s understandable, right. Minds only want to survive “right now”. So, if you ‘believe’ that confrontation, as an example, is right and correct, for whatever reason, you might even get angry at someone like me, who says confronting, say your husband, is absolutely the opposite of what you need to do in 99% of all situations. It only adds fuel to the negative cycle of pain causing reaction, causing pain.
This problem is deeply rooted in subconscious habits, and causes a conundrum. On one hand, you have what can only be described as an “emergency”, which calls for emergency action. But on the other hand, there is absolutely no way to prevent the further decline of your marriage with a little triage. You can’t realistically hope a band aid will heal the whole marriage! Because the “triage” that you perform will make matters worse. After all, your “thinking” did not exactly contribute to a great marriage!
To Help Your Marriage You need To Shift
Ironically, most marriage help articles, even when they provide perfect solutions, end up doing you more harm than good. Why? Well, it isn’t because of the content, or because you are not applying what you read, necessarily. It is because if you want to get through your marriage crisis, you need a lot more than just a “save” from a particular issue. You need more context. You need to shift a lot of things, so you don’t keep doing whatever it was that does not work for your marriage.
It can get even deeper than that. Let’s say you follow the advice you get, and it works for a time. Don’t you think you will soon slip back into the same, or similar behaviors? Don’t you think that all the sub-habits that made you do what you did, that was wrong, will just take over again? Trust me, that is what will happen.
It is hard enough to fight habits you are aware of. But subconscious habits are particularly tough to overcome, which, again, is why I devised the SEW technique.
I can tell you what happens to most people, because we hear from them all the time when they write to us. They are bewildered, discouraged, and usually ready to give up. They gave their marriage what they thought was their best shot, they tried advice from a reputable source, or they got couples counseling (which we recommend against), and they still see their marriage falling apart. It is not a pretty picture.
The solution is to shift gears. It does not matter if you read a great marriage help article, or a great marriage help book, (other than one of ours of course). If you try to heal your marriage by addressing one issue at a time you will fail. Marriages in trouble are in trouble for more than one or two “outer” reasons. Marriages that are run well, overall, are never in trouble. They do not have issues.
If you want to solve your current problem, and have a marriage that stops moving from one problem to another, you have to shift your thinking.
You literally have to make up your mind that an imperfect marriage is not good enough for you. You need to decide, for once and for all time, that you want your marriage to be everything. To be even better than happily ever after. You need to decide you are going to take this marriage stuff seriously, and get yours working the way it is supposed to work…. so, for now, shift your thinking.
There Are Hidden Treasures In Your Marriage
Of course you still have to deal with your current marriage problem! Do not misunderstand. I have written many marriage help articles on individual marriage issues. I have written about pornography, affairs, forgiveness, anger, and even on why God can only help you when you are doing what you need to do. But they will not help you for long. They need to be in context of your whole marriage.
You do not know what you have there! Marriage benefits are many, and most people can recount many of them. But few know why they really got married at all! It is fascinating! But most of us “just got married” because… Sure you selected the ONE you married, but before them, you decided to get married, or just accepted that you would get married. You, unless you are one in about 600, do not realize you “wanted” to get married so you could experience unconditional love. Now you may say “oh, sure”, now that I tell you! But this is huge, and you still do not know why.
When the reason you get married is preeminent, surpassing all other reasons, you can consciously avoid those behaviors which undermine the very reason you got married. And, if you are smart, you can consciously do what you need to do to experience it.
You have to get your whole marriage under control. Otherwise you are going from one torture chamber to the next. That is not what marriage is meant to be! Marriage is meant to be the most unbelievable experience of your life!
There are three pillars that support a marriage, Your marriage is not just another relationship. It is complex and all its aspects are interwoven. And although marriage is not a lot of work (I hate it when so called experts say marriage is a lot of work), you must understand it well enough to manage it.
The three pillars are
- understanding – you need to always know why you are married. When you forget, you lose sight of what you are supposed to be doing in it. The other part of understanding is the science of marriage- how to.
- Selfless love – this is the same as unconditional love or marital love. It is unique to marriage in that there is nothing that compels you to love your spouse other than your own free will. It is beyond special.
- Self control – guess what free will is all about. It is NOT about just doing what you feel like doing. It is about using your will to do what you should do, not what you want to do! This is where the SEW technique is invaluable.
Unless you actually delve into the art and science of marriage your not going to get anywhere… sorry! Unless you address your marriage holistically you will eventually fail.
Your Marriage, when you know what you are doing, will amaze you
I know your possibly wondering if your marriage is going to survive at all, and here I am telling you that marriage is amazing when you know what you are doing. Well, I am not being cruel.
Marriage is literally designed to deliver incredible benefits. But it has to be managed properly. So, once you learn what you need to know, as you repair what is going on, you will see steady positive progress.
So, take this seriously. I want your marriage to be happy. Don’t settle!