If you’ve followed Marriage Helper for any amount of time, you’ve most likely heard about the concept of “PUSH” Behaviors. (If you’re new to Marriage Helper, then you probably have no idea what we’re talking about. Don’t worry- we’ll explain!)

Here at Marriage Helper, we’ve worked with thousands of couples in many different marriage situations. From control issues, to affairs, to communication issues… whatever the situation may be, we’ve discovered that there are some foundational things that are happening in the majority of marriages we work with.


Most of the time, there are behaviors that one spouse is doing that are working against the marriage. 

One of the BIGGEST things people are doing in their marriage (that they don’t even realize that they’re doing) that is hurting their marriage is this: PUSH Behaviors.

When one spouse seems to be backing away in the relationship, the other spouse ends up doing things to try to “get” them to stay. Often, this looks like pleading, begging, whining, or doing something to get their attention.

For example, if your spouse is leaving, you feel such pain inside. You want them to stay. You want them to see how this is absolutely breaking your heart. However, the way you’re showing them how you feel is through: crying, pleading, begging… or… telling them all the reasons they should stay, or all the things they’ve done wrong, or even all the ways you want the marriage to be saved. These actions don’t pull your spouse back. Instead, these “push” your spouse away. 

“Pushing” your spouse away is what led us to create the term: PUSH Behaviors. Below, we’ll summarize what each letter in PUSH stands for.


PUSH Behaviors

P- Pleading, Begging, Whining, or trying to Manipulate your spouse. Instead of feeling guilty, this causes your spouse to see you as overly emotional or trying to get them to do what they don’t want to- it pushes them out the door more quickly.

U- Unnecessary Crying. When your spouse is wanting to leave you… has disengaged with you… has stopped talking to you… it HURTS! A lot of the time, it comes out through tears and pain. (Note: we are NOT saying you should not cry. Rather, we are saying there’s a fine line where you cry in order to try to elicit emotions in your spouse to keep them from leaving.)

S- Starting Fights. When our spouse is leaving or disengaged, you are most likely still wanting them to engage with you, and when they don’t, you may want to start fights to get them to talk. Maybe you’re thinking, “Even if it’s a fight, at least they’re talking- right?” Actually, we don’t suggest this. 

Attacking your spouse, reminding them they hurt you, or even trying to get them to see the wrong things they’re doing won’t work. This is because people don’t like being around conflicts and arguments where they feel like they can’t do anything right. 

H- Hovering, Tracking, or Trying to Control your spouse. If you’re suspicious, or if you know your spouse is doing something they shouldn’t be doing, you may want to figure out what’s going on by snooping. (We’ve even had people put trackers on their spouse’s car!) This never leads to good things. 

Exposing your spouse doesn’t lead them to open up, admitting what they’ve done wrong. Rather, it will make your spouse angry and “pushes” them away. They will feel betrayed, that you’ve gone behind their back, and invaded their privacy. 


Consider This

Now that we’ve covered the PUSH Behaviors, we want you to consider this question: “Have I been doing PUSH Behaviors?” If so, these behaviors have likely “pushed” your spouse away rather than your desire to pull them closer. We recommend that you stop using PUSH behaviors.

But hear this: there is hope! We can teach you the things you need to do in order to pull your spouse closer. We have Coaches, Online Courses and Workshops for all types of marriage situations. We would love to help you understand how you can attract your spouse back, bring your marriage back together, and fix your relationship. Here’s to hope!

If you’re trying to figure out how to get your spouse to start communicating with you again, check out our SMART Contact Toolkit!