How to bring a marriage back from the brink of divorce ~ or relationship back from the brink of breakup

by Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries on January 19, 2012

in Articles, Marriage, Men's Help, Relationships, Women's Help

I want to tell you about a couple I coached. I want you to see what gets most couples into serious relationship or marital  problems. I want you to see that without this help, the couple in question — and perhaps your own relationship — will head towards breakup, divorce or painful distance. I want you to realize that your relationship or marriage can be saved, with the right help.

I was contacted by a gentleman in desperation, saying he has never worked with a Relationship Coach before, but was willing to do anything to save his marriage. His wife just asked him for a divorce. He and I met on the phone for a one-hour ProblemSolver Coaching Session during which we discovered why his marriage was on the brink of divorce and what he could do to save it. He and his wife, like most couples, ignored each other’s needs. Ignoring each other’s needs sounds benign, but it is deadly to a relationship. In his marriage, she would tell him what she needed and he would do other things or nothing, but not what she needed. In turn, out of anger and disappointment, she stopped doing things for him that he needed. And that’s how they ended up on the brink of divorce.

In his ProblemSolver Coaching Session I helped the husband realize that he was ignoring his wife’s needs and that it was costing him everything. I helped him see why her needs were important to her and what he should do to meet them, now.

When your partner tells you he or she needs something, I told him, it is not a mere request, nor a wish, nor a suggestion. By the time a person speaks out about a need, you can be sure that the need is near critical. Without this need being met by you, your partner will no longer be able to maintain a relationship with you as you know it and want it. He or she will start to think your relationship is toxic. In time your relationship will unravel because of this dynamic. You must make every effort to hear your partner’s needs and every effort to meet them. At the same time, you must make every effort to speak up about your needs and ask that they be met. This behavior will begin to help you create a healthy marriage.

The gentlemen said he felt enlightened at the end of our call. There must have been some major changes in the relationship, because next I got the pleasure of coaching his wife.

The wife and I talked about her needs. What they are, why they are, and mostly we talked about the fact that it is critical that she face up to her needs and openly and repeatedly ask for what she needs. Like most women, she admitted that clearly asking for what she wants is difficult for her. Like most people, she would ask for something a few times and having not gotten it, she would give up, get resentful and stop giving as much to him. I coached her to make it clear to her husband that her needs are not just requests — they are a necessity in order for her to remain the loving woman her husband married. She took the coaching in stride and seemed to understand what she has to do to begin the process of healthy marriage building.

It will take them some time to learn how to relate to each other in a new way. They will need more support from me, more professional coaching sessions together and separately before they are on solid ground with each other. The work we began to do together helped them set their marriage on the right course — the path of making them both happy, together. And about that I am very excited!

I want you to know that if your relationship or marriage is not working, if you are on the brink of break up or divorce, there is help and there is hope. I want you to get that help if you need it instead of hoping the issue(s) will just work themselves out. Love is precious and it is worth every effort, and those issue will never just work themselves out. You could try counseling or marital therapy, but the success rate of therapy is only 20 percent in terms of saving marriages. Or you could work with me to get help for your relationship — my success rate is nearly 100 percent when both people want to save the relationship! You could start with a Couple’s Get Clarity Session — a 40-minute, introductory telephone conference coaching session with the two of you and myself, where we can look at what’s going on between the two of you and what could be done to make it much better.


Claudette Chenevert January 23, 2012 at 8:36 am

Loved your article Rinatta. You brought in great points about expressing what we need. Too often, people will assume their partners know what they want when in fact they don’t. Other times, when someone is hurting, they would rather not talk about it, making the other person isolated from the situation, therefore not there to help out or support.
Reaching out for help is a sign of strength and not weakness in the relationship. It means you love each other enough to do whatever it takes to make the marriage work.

Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries January 23, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Claudette, thank you. You are right, reaching for help, but also hearing each other, so hearing the request for help, is so very important.

Peggy Guichu January 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm

This is such an important issue. I know I was her and settled for much less then I needed and he couldn’t understand how he wasn’t meeting my needs. Then we came across a book which for the life of me I can’t locate right now, but it was about how each of us have our own special ways of communicating. In my case, I’m very verbal. I use words to show my love. In Steven’s case, he is the touchy-feely one and always has used touch to show his love. There were several other categories, but these were the ones we related to. Our problem has always been that he feels that by being his touchy-feely self that he’s meeting my needs, but actually, he’s not, because I need verbal communication. I’ve had to learn to be a more touchy-feely person which doesn’t come naturally to me anymore then verbal communication does to Steven in order to meet his needs. In other words, meet each other where they live not where one’s own comfort zone lies.

If more people were aware of these differences in each of us and actually embraced them, both partner’s would have a much easier time connecting.

Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries January 19, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Peggy, the book you are talking about is Five Love Languages, which every couple should read and that could begin to save a marriage. For many couples, this is just the beginning and more work often needs to be done to put them on solid ground with each other.

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