“I cannot believe divorce is NOW a option for us”

In today’s post, I’m going to explain why so many couples struggle to keep their marriage alive and why divorce can become such a shocking option.

At the end of this post, you’ll learn the most important focus all couple should have in their marriage if they want to avoid divorce.

Every day I am presented by a couple in crisis needing help to understand if their crisis is a sign of genuine incompatibility or if their problems can be permanently solved.

There are some couples that really shouldn’t be together and any professional process they are in should help them discover that truth to avoid the pain and suffering of years of flogging a dead horse.

For those that are curious enough to learn we usually discover that a large percentage of couples are suffering not through incompatibility but through a lack of being able to understand their partners’ behaviours and what they really mean.

They are also suffering by not understanding what to do to keep the relationship passionate and secure. NOTE: this should be a key focus for everyone to learn.

You see the confusion everyone is in starts with this – nature has the ability to keep the couple naturally connected from 2 days to up to 2 years with very little effort – some people call this chemistry.

So what people are struggling with is once natures chemistry has gone what does the couple have to do to keep them connected in the same way?

This is the sticking point for so many couples. They don’t know they have to do anything. So life takes over and gets very busy. Work, kids, friends family etc all needing attention.

The couples are simply not aware of a hidden danger that the relationship can become starved of what it really needs to keep their feelings for each other alive.

There are warning signs in the marriage as the couple start to feel resistance and struggle with each other but it’s usually not enough to throw up a red flag because everyone knows “all couples have problems it’s normal”.

So they don’t worry too much to start with…

The real danger comes when the resistance in the marriage causes one or both people to stack resentments against the other causing the need to self-protect and then meet their critical needs outside of the relationship, this can be with work, kids family, friends etc.

This is a real danger…

Usually, people who like to spend more time away from their partner are doing so because the relationship is not meeting their critical needs.

The reason this self-protection process is so destructive is because it’s very difficult to protect yourself from someone you are also trying to love.

If the resentments are not dealt with the desire to love can be shadowed by the need to self-protect this can dramatically change their relationship dynamic to become destructive.

This naturally switches off love within the person over time. This is why someone can say “I love you…” (historic love) “…but I’m not in love with you” (active love switched off through the need to self-protect).

I hear so many stories of one person who is struggling to keep their own love alive for their partner due to the process illustrated above. They plead with their partner to get professional help which is wrongly rejected.

This is a dangerous message to ignore because within six months the person asking to seek help can hit overwhelm and all their feelings for their partner can feel permanently dead leading them to want a divorce – no going back!

So the question is how do we keep our feelings for each other alive for life and how do we break these patterns or avoid destructive behaviours?

Self-protection patterns can be generated through the marriage.

  • A person may feel ignored misunderstood or insignificant.
  • They may feel alone, abandoned or unloved.
  • The person may feel that their partner has no empathy or they can’t/won’t hear what’s being communicated.

Sometimes an individual can have generated a self-protection pattern in their history long before the marriage due to an unpleasant event and their marriage provides triggers to these past events feelings.

Self-protection patterns can come from misunderstandings about what someone is really saying when they speak or act.

Very common is how people interpret each other when problems strike. Successful couples I support will learn how to become closer through conflict so honesty and openness can be apart of their connection.


The start of a need to self-protect on some level can be seen in a marriage as their passionate energy for each other can start to struggle. This is not normal it’s a signal of a problem in at least one person for some reason – don’t ignore this!

Keeping the passion for each other alive is a critical skill everyone must master but it takes new understandings and a different worldview.

If passion is shut down or is shutting down the relationship is in danger because someone on some level is protecting themselves from the other.

IMPORTANT: What men to keep their marriage alive and passionate is not the same as what women need – so learning the specific route to your unique passion dynamic is critical to keep your marriage alive, loving and fun.

About Stephen Hedger

International relationship expert Stephen Hedger's philosophy on relationship problems is this: Couples fail to understand their relationships because they are too focused on their problems and so they totally miss what created them. Stephen's approach is a refreshing and enlightening journey that helps couples uncover their truth. His strategies uncover the knowledge that all couples need to create a successful and lasting passionate connection. If you are in crisis and you need help, book an initial consultation today to get your life back on track.