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Finding Peace For A Marriage In Turmoil
A Conversation With Dr. Joe Beam
Don’t have your headphones or a private place to listen right now? Read the script here:
It hurts. You love your spouse but for whatever reason your spouse no longer wants to be with you. You hear those hated words, “I’m not in love with you.” Or maybe your spouse thought they made it a little easier for you by saying, “I love you but I’m not in love with you.” Or…maybe the things they said were blunt and hurtful. Tearing you down. Making it sound like it’s your fault that they want to leave.
You can tell them to get out of your life if that’s what you want. But that’s not what you want, is it? If it were, you wouldn’t be reading this. You don’t want your marriage to end. Neither do I. I’m Dr. Joe Beam, chair of the nonprofit Marriage Helper. We don’t know each other…at least not yet…and you’re likely wondering if I can help or if I’m one of those jerks who claim they can help you put your marriage back together but really all they want is your money. That’s not what drives me.
I Know What It’s Like, Because I’ve Been Through It
You see, I’ve been through divorce. I know what it did to my wife, my children…and me. My wife and I eventually found the way to work it out. To be in love with each other again. We remarried more than 30 years ago and every day we’re both so happy that we did. Since then, I earned a PhD from Australia’s highly respected University of Sydney. I earned my doctorate studying the causes and correlations of marital satisfaction and sexual satisfaction.
For more than 25 years my wife and I…and a great team of people working with us…have helped thousands of marriages. We very much want to help you with yours, no matter what shape it’s in right now.
The Process For Rescuing Your Marriage
In this article, I give you crucial information that you need to understand- and implement- if your marriage is in trouble. (Either a little trouble or a lot of trouble.) These principles are extremely important either way. What I teach you’re here will sound simple, but when you implement it, you’ll find that it will take real effort. It’s not a magic pill. It’s the beginning of a process for rescuing your marriage that IF ANYTHING WORKS, THIS WILL.
- Can Control vs. Can’t Control
Let’s start by putting the first part of a diagram on the screen.
At the bottom of the diagram, you’ll see the words “Can Control.” This refers to anything that is WITHIN your power to change. At the top are the words “Can’t Control.” That refers to those things that you DO NOT have the ability to change- either things that are not changeable or things, that if they were to change, would have to be changed by someone other than you.
For example, you cannot change what your spouse feels, only they can. You can’t change what has happened, not what your spouse has done or what you have done. The past is unchangeable; it is what it is.
However, you can change what you do NOW. The way you act, the ways you react, the way you think, and, with the right approach, the way you feel.
It’s an absolute MUST that you understand the difference between what you can change and what you can’t. Do not allow yourself to drift into the fantasy that you can change something that in actuality you CANNOT change. Allowing yourself to think that you can will sabotage any effort you make toward saving your marriage.
- Peace vs. Anxiety
On the second diagram, you’ll see the words PEACE and ANXIETY.
It’s normal for you to feel anxiety about whether you can salvage your marriage. There are other emotions with that anxiety. Fear, sadness, pain, anger. On this chart, I use the word anxiety to represent all these emotions and any other negatives that you feel.
Peace here means an inner calm that overcomes those negative emotions. A confidence that whatever happens, you will find a path to fulfillment and happiness. Of course, you want that to come with the restoration of your marriage. So do I. But it has to be more than that. A calm assurance and confidence that no matter what your spouse does, you will not only survive, you will be happy again. Yes, you’ll hurt. Yes, you’ll cry. Yes, you’ll feel surges of anger, helplessness, and frustration…but you will overcome all those and move on with a good life.
You see, it’s developing this level of peace within you that is one of the best and most powerful things you can do to save your marriage. Not only to come back together but to be fulfilled and in love.
The more you operate out of the negative side of that model…the anxiety side…the greater the likelihood that the things you do will work against salvaging your marriage. If you let the negatives take over and rule you, those negatives will destroy any hope for this marriage.
Here’s How Can You Move Yourself To A Different Quadrant
This is what it looks like when we put together what we’ve discussed so far.
What does this model show you that you can use to start the process that hopefully leads to the restoration of your marriage? Anything on the right-hand side of this model is in the realm of anxiety. As we’ve already discussed, you want to move from that to the other side where there is peace. It is in peace that you will do the things most likely to bring your spouse back and to having love for each other again. How do you move from the anxiety side to the peace side? It will take effort BUT IT CAN BE DONE! There are two things you can do…
Moving From Anxiety To Peace When You CAN’T Control The Circumstance: Acceptance
The first helps you move from the upper right quadrant to the upper left quadrant. On our model it looks like this.
Rather than living in anxiety (and all those other negative emotions) about the things you can’t control, you STOP trying to control them. However, stopping isn’t enough. It’s stopping because you ACCEPT that it’s something you cannot change.
When you keep trying to control the things you can’t control, it’s like butting your head against a brick wall. It hurts your head and it doesn’t do a thing to change that brick wall. And it does more than hurt you. People view you as out of control, not living within reality, and someone to avoid.
That, by the way, includes your spouse. Your mate will move further and faster away from you. They get annoyed by what you’re doing and become more convinced they shouldn’t be with you.
Examples Of Acceptance
- Failing To Move Into Acceptance
Allow me to give you examples. When I was speaking with a couple I worked with, the husband repeatedly told his wife that she was NOT in love with the man she was leaving him for. At first, she argued with him, “Don’t you understand? I love this man. I don’t love you.” He would give examples that in his mind proved she still loved him. He explained to her that she was simply infatuated with the other guy and that would go away before long. Finally, she ceased any conversation with him. She said to me, “Why would I even try to put that marriage back together? He had no understanding of me. He rejects whatever I say. I’m done.”
What’s my point with this story? Accept what your spouse feels rather than trying to argue or convince them that they don’t feel what they tell you they feel.
Acceptance doesn’t mean that things are as you wish them to be; it means that you accept it as it is even if you don’t like it. You AREN’T going to convince them that they don’t love someone they say they love; you aren’t going to convince them to suddenly realize that they love you when they’re telling you that they don’t…but you can push them further from you by continuing to try. Accepting what they feel isn’t giving up. I’ll explain more about that in a moment.
- Moving Into Acceptance
Sometimes accepting isn’t about what a person feels but what a person has done. For example, if you did something that led…or helped lead…to this marital problem, accept that you did it and that you CAN’T go back and undo it. Trying to change the past is an impossible task. Rather than beating yourself up about it or continually telling your spouse that you won’t ever be like that again, accept that you did it, sincerely say you’re sorry, then quit focusing on it. Instead focus on the future; that’s something that you can change. If you spouse did something that caused your current crisis, the same principle holds true. It happened. No one can undo it. If you want to salvage your marriage, you’re going to have to accept that it happened and quit allowing it to keep you in turmoil.
When you don’t accept reality, you stay on the anxiety side of the model. As long as you are there, you aren’t going to do the right things to repair your marriage.
Acceptance is the way to move from the negative to the positive…moving from anxiety to peace. Remember, if you stay on the negative side, the anxiety side, you’re going to continue to do things and display emotions that push your mate further away. Accepting reality as it is HAS to occur if you want to create a wonderful future. You can’t get to that wonderful future if you aren’t starting from a place that’s real.
Moving From Anxiety To Peace When You CAN Control The Circumstance: Act
The second thing after ACCEPTANCE is to DO what needs to be done. But not just doing anything, doing the RIGHT things! On our model that looks like this:
There are things within your control. The actions you take. The people with whom you associate. And especially things such as your own body. And, although it’s not easy, you can take control of your emotions and how they lead you to do things.
People tend to focus on the things out of their control, wishing and hoping that they can find a way to gain control. That’s too bad because that doesn’t work. What works is realizing the things within your control and concentrating there.
An Example Of Acting; Doing What Needs To Be Done
I witnessed a woman letting herself go physically, intellectually, and emotionally while all she thought about was how much she wished that “hussy” who had led her husband astray would go away. She reasoned that since she was not as young or as physically attractive as the other woman, the only thing that could salvage her marriage was if the other woman was no longer in the picture.
Note that what was NOT in her control was the other woman being in her husband’s life. She couldn’t change that. Her husband was in control of whom he wanted to be with. Nevertheless, she spent her time trying to figure how to sabotage their relationship. In other words, trying to change things that weren’t in her control to change.
But she didn’t do anything about what was IN her control. The things she could change, and she continued to fall apart. She lived in anxiety and accomplished nothing other than deteriorating in every way.
How could the model I’m teaching you help her? Look at the entire model.
Both ACCEPTING and ACTING have to be done. You ACCEPT what you cannot control and you DO something about what you can control.
The first thing she should have done to potentially put the marriage back together was to accept the fact that her husband wanted to be with the other woman. If she could have accepted that it was what it was, she could turn her attention to what SHE needed to do. She needed to ACT, to take care of herself. Her body. Her mind. Her heart. She thought of the other woman as her competition. In actuality, her competition was with herself.
I helped her understand and then put into action the principle of focusing on herself in the RIGHT way:
- To take care of her body rather than letting herself go in her misery.
- To use her mind rather than letting it run rampant, causing her to be miserable and making anyone around her miserable.
- To learn how to grow stronger by getting her emotions in the right place.
- To find inner strength and confidence by reconnecting with her own beliefs and values.
(All those things are part of the first phase our four-phase system known as the Love Path.)
She didn’t have had to appear younger than the other woman…prettier…better dressed. Those aren’t the points. The point is that she would have to become the best that she can be at her age and situation in life. Moving from anxiety to peace. And when in that peace DOING the other three phases that she needed to do that IF ANYTHING WORKS would eventually lead her husband back to her.
Two Areas Of Caution
A word of caution here. Be careful that as you ACT…when you decide what you can or should do…please be aware of two things.One I’ve already mentioned. Don’t ACT in areas where you don’t have the ability to actually effect change. Stop trying to control or change things out of your control. Otherwise, you’ll never put this marriage back together.
The other is that there are many people…your friends, your family, even complete strangers if they get a chance…who will tell you EXACTLY what you need to do to salvage your marriage. Most of that advice will DESTROY your marriage. There are also some marriage counselors out there who will give you very poor advice. Just because they have a degree and a license doesn’t mean they know how to help save a marriage. Great marriage counselors are worth their weight in gold. Based on the stories we hear, the rest of them help more marriages divorce than stay together.
That means when it comes to the ACTION, doing what you need to do in the areas of where you have control, please know that there is a vast difference between doing SOMETHING and doing the RIGHT THING.
Over the 25 years that I and the amazing people I get to work with have been saving marriages, we’ve found that when people follow the system we teach, the success rate for putting those marriages back together is 3 out of 4 couples. We can and will teach you the system that has that kind of success. Our nonprofit organization exists to help you. BUT just knowing it doesn’t work. You have to do it.
If you wish to know more about what to do, please call one of our Client Representatives at 866-903-0990. That isn’t a hotline with a counselor waiting on the other end. It’s the number to talk with a person on our team who will listen to your situation and then guide you to the best help we have for you. There is hope, no matter how things may seem today.
We want to help, so please contact us by phone or look at our website at Marriage Helper. That’s MarriageHelper.com, or subscribe down below to our YouTube channel and you’ll see all of our new videos so you’ll know about them when they come online. We talk about a lot of things concerning relationship. You see? We care. We really do. And we want to help.
We can help you how to manage the burden and the stress in a way that’s healthy for your marriage. Start by getting the free guide: How To Stop Your Divorce & Get Your Marriage Back In 7 Steps at https://your.marriagehelper.com/rescue/hs/save/optin