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A question that people ask me all of the time is, “What do I do when SMART Contact isn’t working?” 


So, if you’re wondering, “What do I do when SMART Contact isn’t working?” you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I’ll explain the top two reasons why SMART Contact isn’t working. And, I’m going to share with you two ways that you may be doing SMART Contact wrong. (Especially if you say it’s “not working.”) 


If this is your first time hearing about SMART Contact, I am so glad you’re here! SMART Contact it is a process and system we teach. It is a culmination of years of experience with thousands of people. Simply put, SMART Contact is the best way to have healthy communication in your relationships. Check out this video for a basic overview of what it is:


In fact, at the end of this article, I’m going to tell you how you can get access to a free mini course, all about how to get your spouse to talk to you. So you can dip your toe in the SMART Contact water for free. So stick around to the end because I’m going to get to that. 


Back to the main question- typically, when people say, “SMART Contact isn’t working,” what they actually mean is:


“I tried the principles that I heard in the SMART Contact video on YouTube. I did this for a couple of days (or a couple of weeks) and there’s been no change in my relationship. So it didn’t work. What can I do instead?”

The Top 2 Reasons Why SMART Contact Isn’t Working

I’m going to dive right in and explain the top two reasons why SMART Contact isn’t working. First, it could be that you haven’t been doing it right…

  1. You Haven’t Been Doing It Right

If it’s not working for you, you may not have been doing it correctly. In SMART Contact, we teach that you:

  • Stop doing “push” behaviors
  • Manage “business items” or non-emotional items with your spouse
  • Allow your spouse to talk to you when they’re ready (and respond to your spouse in a way that’s strong, calm, and gentle)
  • Take it one day at a time, knowing that even if you mess up today, you can do better tomorrow

That is, in a nutshell, what SMART Contact is. 

But most of the time, when someone reaches out to me and they say, “I’ve been trying SMART Contact, and it hasn’t worked…” When I ask them what that means they’ll say the following…

“I’m doing SMART Contact, but I broke into his email the other day, because I wasn’t hearing from him. I didn’t know what he was doing. And I just had to see what was going on.”  I snooped.

“I’m doing SMART Contact, but I ignore her when she calls, because I know that she’s just going to talk about how mad she is and how she doesn’t want to come back. And I don’t want to hear it. So I’m just ignoring her calls because I’m assuming what she’s gonna say.” When she reaches out, I ignore her.

“I’m doing SMART Contact, but I broke down and begged her to come home. I sent her all these text messages. I stopped her on Facebook. I sent her Instagram DM’s. I did everything I could. I called her friends. I called her mom. I called everyone. I could, because I just couldn’t bear the thought of one more day without her, but I’m doing SMART Contact.” I “pushed.”

“I’m doing SMART Contact. But when he started sharing things that were difficult for me to hear, I just blew up at him and told him, I couldn’t believe he felt that way. I couldn’t believe he was saying those things and SMART Contact isn’t working.” I didn’t respond in a way that is strong, calm, gentle.

Here’s the thing. Think about a friend that you might have, (you know, that friend that probably all of us have) who is always on a diet… but they’re always eating ice cream. You know what I mean? They’re always saying that they’re “doing a diet” or “going gluten-free” or whatever it might be, but their actions are totally different. 

It’s easy for us to see the flaws in that. But even when someone’s doing something like a diet, they can talk themselves eating the ice cream or having a slice of pizza because it’s “justified.” 

They say things like, “Well, I ran a mile today…so I can eat that.” It’s really easy to talk ourselves into our emotions. It’s really hard to do the logical things that we know we need to do and to tell our emotions to be quiet. 

“It’s really hard to do the logical things we know we need to do (and to tell our emotions to be quiet).”

But when we think about this in the terms of SMART Contact, it’s very emotional. When it comes to your relationship, you don’t want your spouse to leave. You don’t want your spouse to not talk to you. You want them to be home. 

And, more times than not, when you break these rules of engagement for SMART Contact, it’s because you emotionally justified it to yourself. 

Yet you end up in a place where you’re saying, “SMART Contact isn’t working.” But if you were to really stop and look at the situation, have you really been doing SMART Contact? Have you really been doing it day in and day out, trying to be better than the day before, every day? 

That’s why they tell people who are wanting to lose weight to track their calories- because people typically overestimate or underestimate how much they eat. I would venture to say that if you were to track the ways that you were doing SMART Contact on a day to day basis, you may realize that you’re not doing it as much as you thought you were. 

Maybe you are doing more push behaviors than you thought. Maybe you aren’t allowing your spouse to talk to you. Maybe when they do talk to you, you attack them. Maybe you’re reaching out and pushing relational issues when they’re not ready for it. 

  1. You’re Doing It For The Wrong Reasons…

While the first way that SMART Contact might not be working is you’re not doing the right things, the second way that SMART Contacts may not be working is you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. 

There’s a lot of bad advice. Many people out there- your next door neighbor, your family friend, your Facebook friend, someone on YouTube, etc., that will tell you exactly what will work to change and fix your relationship. They say things like: “Just say this,” Or, “Just do this,” Or, “Just follow this exact system and your spouse will come crawling back to you.” 

There’s some despicable videos I’ve seen of people who are trying to sell that! And here’s the truth of the matter… because at Marriage Helper, we always tell you the truth!… 

The truth is there is no guarantee that even if you do all of the right things and are a perfect human, there is still no guarantee that your spouse is going to come back. 

If you are doing SMART Contact, because you thought this would be a “quick fix,” a magic pill, or a quick turnaround that would bring your spouse back to you overnight, (or even in a week, or even in a month) then you might not be focused on the right things. You’re focused on immediate results. 

Instead, focus on long-term change; change within yourself. We do SMART Contact because it is the only way to have healthy communication in our relationships. The opposite of SMART Contact is to do the push behaviors; to push relationship issues. That is, when your spouse doesn’t want to talk about it you ignore your spouse or just shut your spouse down. When they try to talk to you, you attack them. When they share things that are close to their heart, that’s not going to lead to a healthy relationship. 

“Focus on long-term change; change within yourself.”

So when I hear people say, “I tried SMART Contact and it didn’t work,” the only thing I can think is, you tried doing the best things for a relationship, but when that didn’t work, you reverted to unhealthy things. There’s no other option. I mean, there are things that you could do, like manipulation tactics. There’s ways that you could try to control your spouse into talking to you. You could push them so hard that they finally break and speak to you. I mean, you could post all their dirty laundry on Facebook and they would call you immediately. You would get them to talk to you… But is that what is healthiest for your long-term relationship?

If you’re focused on the short-term reactions from your spouse and not focused on long-term relationship change, then you’re doing SMART Contact for the wrong reasons. 

Now, I don’t like to say “try” SMART Contact because I don’t believe it’s something you “try.” It’s a way that you live! It changes all your interactions so you can have healthy, long-term relationships. It enhances your communication with your kids, your spouse, your family, your friends, your coworkers… SMART Contact is the best way to communicate in a healthy way! 

SMART Contact is the way to have the relationships you want to have in life. It helps you become a better version of yourself, but it is not a “quick fix.” 

The Questions You Need To Ask Yourself

Are You Doing The Right Things? 

I want to encourage you to assess these things about yourself: 

Have you been doing the right things in SMART Contact, or have you been doing it for the right reasons?

Are You Doing The Wrong Things?

Have you been doing the wrong things and have you been doing it for the wrong reasons? 

And here’s the last point, even if you have been perfect with all of these, you might be saying, “Kimberly, yes. Like, yes, honestly, I have been doing SMART Contact. I have been doing it for the right reasons and I have been doing it the best I can. Every single day.” 

Are You Moving In The Right Direction?

Understand we aren’t perfect. Some days will be better and some days will be worse, but overall, are you moving in the right direction? 

But What If You’ve Done SMART Contact Consistently? What Then!?  

If you’re saying, “Kimberly, I’m doing it and there’s still no change.” Then the final thing you need to understand is your spouse has free will. 

Even if you were the “perfect spouse,” which no one is, but even if you were, then your spouse would still have the free will to leave. I know that’s hard to hear, but I hope it brings encouragement to you that you might not be doing the wrong things. 

So, what if you’ve done SMART Contact to the best of your ability for a super long time and your spouse still wants out? Well, we won’t lie to you– you can be doing everything right, and your spouse may still choose to leave. And that is not on you. That means that you have been doing the best things, becoming the best version of yourself. And no matter what happens in the future, you will be okay. 

And I know it’s hard to think that, but I hope it brings you a sense of relief that you are worthy. You’re not a terrible person. Don’t beat yourself up about these things. Keep moving the course and becoming the best you can be. And, don’t stop doing those things. Even if your spouse continues to not talk to you or continues to walk out the door, keep doing the right thing because that’s the best thing you can do. 

Don’t let their reaction stop you from doing the right things. Stay the course, because we believe that if anything works to bring your marriage back together and make it stronger than ever, this will. But even if it doesn’t, then you have still done the best things you could do. Don’t lose sight of that. 

“If anything works to bring your marriage back together and make it stronger, this will.”

I want change to happen in your life. I know you do too. That’s why I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not going to sell you “gimmicky things.” I’m not going to try and guarantee you things that I can’t guarantee you, but I am going to guarantee you that when you do the right things, you have done the best things. 

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned the free mini-course about how you can get your spouse to talk to you. It dives even more into SMART Contact, giving you even more information! Get it here. 


Also, you can learn more about becoming the best “you” you can be with the PIES! Listen to episodes of the PIES Podcast here: