If your partner won’t attend sessions this post is for you, this gentleman ended up regretted his decision.
So I had a call with this gentleman and he explained to me his wife had disengaged in the marriage she told him she wasn’t happy and hadn’t been for a while.
I ask him why she wasn’t on the call and he said she doesn’t want to seek help, she doesn’t believe it would work.
He asked me if I had any tips on how we could get her to take part.
It’s like he was looking for the magic sentence that would instantly change her mind.
I shared with him the best way to start in this situation is to start getting help on your own without her.
The phone went silent.
“It would be better if she joined in” he said.
“Are you telling me you will only seek help if she does too?” I asked
“Yes because she’s the one with the problem.” He said.
This is such a common statement where a partner will want me to change the other person.
I shared with him that he had a chance of creating a significantly positive impact on his relationship if he were to start sessions without her.
Firstly by taking personal responsibility for the marriage this sends a positive message to her that you are willing to look at yourself and learn how to become a more effective husband.
Plus if the changes you make start to have a positive impact on her she will either re-engage with the marriage or she will be more likely to seek the help you want her to seek today.
“I still think it would be better if she joined in” he said.
“I’m concerned you don’t want to take this action because I’ve seen so many women in the situation you have described and the problems won’t go away and you’ll be waiting a long time for her to want to seek help.”
“In fact, if you leave her like this and you don’t learn how to approach her differently the situation is going to keep getting worse.”
“I’ll think about it.” He said and left the call.
One year later my Personal Assistant Kate and I were reviewing the call list for people who were applying to work with me and a familiar name appeared.
We looked into it and it was the same gentleman making contact again a year later.
So I jumped on the call.
So what’s happened? I asked
He said “I called you a year ago you probably don’t remember.”
“Sure I remember, I offered you a place, but you didn’t take me up on the offer. What advice did I give you on the call?”
“You said the relationship would get worse” he sounded exhausted.
“…and what did happen?” I asked.
“She now wants a divorce”
This gentleman fell into a very common trap, he thought that for the relationship to get better she would have to take part in the process.
He had a window of opportunity to learn how he could add value to her and instead of embracing that he sat and waited.
Listening to him on the first call I could tell he didn’t know how to approach his wife in a way that would be of value to her.
He was part of the reason why she would be disconnected and stuck but he was stuck in a belief she had to change. The reality was he had to change for her first, only then would she feel emotionally safe enough to reinvest.
In a relationship one person can change their behavioural patterns and their partner will have no choice, but to react and change theirs.
No one accepts when someone changes initially because sudden changes create confusion, but when new behaviours are consistently practised their partner will start to attach new emotions to what they are experiencing and this has the power to change how they feel.
It’s critical that relationship problems are dealt with quickly because if not they simply do not go away and they tend to get worse.
The reason they get worse is because the person who is struggling will be shifting their mind to a more negative looking for what’s wrong focus.
This will become overwhelming and will then shift the person to block out those painful feelings.
The person will then go through a detaching or self numbing process to protect themselves from any bad feelings.
They will be unaware this process will also shut down their good feelings too.
Now the relationship has no point in their eyes and the person will look for ways to escape, freedom will become a primary need. They might ask for more space or freedom, spend more time with their friends.
The result is they won’t like how they feel about themselves when they are with their partner, and they will feel relief when they are away from them.
So the solution in their minds is simple, to stop the pain we have to split-up.
This is why couples must never leave their relationship problems to chance, the process can take over the person without them knowing.
One lady who had been in this process told me six months before she would have loved to have gone for help with her husband, but now she was done all her feelings had gone and she had no wish to work on this again.
So every relationship has a window of opportunity and once it closes it’s very difficult to get the person back.
Please remember the work I do is educational and even as part of the process for a couple I’ll be working with the individuals before I move them to do any couples work.