In this episode of Relationship Radio, we learn how to focus on yourself to fix your marriage. We are interviewing one of our Marriage Helper clients, Amanda. She gives us a look into her six-year communication battle with her husband. Amanda talks about her struggles, breaking points, and overcoming conflict to rely more on herself than her spouse.
How would you describe your relationship at the beginning of your marriage?
In the beginning, we were very young. We met in high school at 17 and started dating right away. It was passionate and loving. We didn’t know what we were doing, but we believed the passion of being in love would last forever. We’ve been married about 25 years this year.
So, you ran into some trouble at some point in your marriage. When did that happen?
In our 15th year of marriage, we had a little boy from the foster care system. He was practically our child, and he passed away. We didn’t know how to process it or talk to other people about it. We just brushed it under the table because he wasn’t our biological child, but in our hearts, he was. We didn’t communicate about hard things, which started our marriage crisis.
How did you try to cope, and what was your reaction following these sad events?
I spiraled out of control and didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t have anyone I could talk to, including my husband. After having three biological children and losing one foster child, I felt like a failure. My husband and I didn’t talk about hard things. We processed our emotions internally without leaning on each other. This made it easy for me to feel like another marriage would solve my hurt.
So I detached from him. He worked out of town a lot, so I started turning away from him for my needs and desires. I was no longer interested in doing activities that involved him, so I believed divorce was the answer.
Tell me about that process. How long did it go on? The detachment?
It went on for about a year or so. The day I told him I wanted a divorce, he was shocked, like he didn’t see it coming. I believe because we weren’t so sad anymore, we pushed it all under the table. But looking back, I would have handled the situation differently. I would have gone to counseling and started taking care of myself instead of focusing on doing everything together and feeling lonely when we weren’t.
When I told him I wanted the divorce, he pushed hard to win my affections. He called and texted me all the time, which felt controlling at first, but he just wanted to know how I was feeling. He wanted to make an effort to be a part of my life, but it just pushed me away further. I checked out emotionally.
After all the pushing and efforts, he eventually grew tired and emotionally detached himself. At that point, he was done trying, and it didn’t matter if we were together or not. That caused a shift in my mindset that I didn’t want to uproot my children’s lives and go through the motions of divorce. I tried to stay together and work on things, but the marriage was over in his mind.
So, in your journey, at some point, you came across Marriage Helper. How did that happen?
My husband was a part of the Facebook group for Marriage Helper and got involved that way. So many people with similar stories about going through a divorce and saving their marriage. It seemed to be helping him a lot, so I joined the group and found a lot of relatable advice and stories.
I started learning about PIES and decided I needed to figure out my feelings. I learned it was important to focus on yourself to fix your marriage. I took everything one day at a time because I knew that divorce was the final blow. There was no going back after that.
So you mentioned some of our resources:
- The Marriage Helper Facebook Community Group. It’s full of people trying to save their marriage, so it’s a great support system.
- PIES stands for Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual in our Art of Attraction Toolkit. The toolkit helps you become the most attractive and best version of yourself for any relationship or interaction. These are perfect starting points if your marriage is in a crisis.
What other measures did you take to focus on yourself to fix your marriage?
At some point, we were living together and slept in separate rooms. When we did sleep next to each other, we slept closest to the corners with our backs turned. I suggested the Marriage Helper Couples Workshop to learn how to co-parent and communicate.
We got a lot out of the workshop. We said, “wow if there were a workshop like this before we got married, our marriage would be in a better place.” Even so, he still wouldn’t budge about if he wanted a divorce or not. I decided it was best to keep focusing on myself.
I learned Smart Contact to have better conversations and keep the peace. We didn’t fight at all. We were just co-workers, pretty much.
During COVID-19, our relationship got a little better from being locked up together. We started building a stronger friendship. I was still involved with Marriage Helper and learned about the Solo Spouse Workshop, which gave me more of what I needed.
What was it that you needed, that the Solo Spouse Workshop gave you?
The Solo Spouse Workshop gave me the ability to focus on myself. It gave me the ability to look back at where I was. I examined my DISC assessment and realized I was in a healthier place than before. I came to that workshop and left a completely different person. Now I had the skills to keep strong and move forward.
The workshop changed my life and confidence. I learned how to have an emotional conversation without losing control of my emotions. I learned how to have a wise discussion with my husband and know when to stop.
So you talked about two different workshops:
- The Couples Workshop: For couples who want to work on their relationship and learn better communication.
- The Solo Spouse Workshop: A workshop to help you gain a sense of self-confidence and acceptance for yourself. It’s a healing environment full of people going through the same issues while changing your life and mindset.
What is your relationship with your husband like now, Amanda?
Well, he’s back to work now, and we have come a long way, myself included. I didn’t realize how important it is to focus on yourself to fix your marriage. The old me would have gone into depression and sulked about my situation, but now it’s different. I’m doing things for my community and other people. I don’t ask for permission anymore to do something that I enjoy.
I prioritize myself now. We discuss our events when we have time to talk. We are far from perfect, but we are different people now. If we keep making smart contact and being open with each other, there is a lot of hope for our future.
Contact the Marriage Helper Team if you are going through a marital crisis or believe you are losing touch with your partner. Learn more about our resources and how we can help you save your marriage. We have a 70% success rate and a community of over 5,000+ members. Let’s build stronger marriages together.