Marital, Family or Individual Therapist serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana



Why You Should Not Give Up Hope In Your Marriage
Written By: Mark Smith



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'The BASICS for a Healthy Life and Marriage' Understanding the Basics of
Codependency, Counterdependency, Shame, Abandonment, Intimacy and
Communication is vital in building healthy lives and marriages.
Mark Smith covers these topics and more in his edgy, informal, likable style.





North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano inspired millions with his stirring speech ‘Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up’ in which he shared insights gained from his valiant battle against cancer. Although his body eventually did succumb to the disease in April of 1993 after a grueling 10-month battle, his ‘never give up’ champion’s spirit continues to inspire untold athletes and cancer survivors alike.

Your marriage very well might feel as if it is being attacked by the destructive cancers of emotional distancing, unresolved conflicts, hopelessness, bitterness, rage, pettiness, control, criticism, infidelity, betrayal, apathy and/or addictive behaviors. One or both of you might seriously be considering throwing in the towel for good. I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that, frankly, without effective help your situation probably is every bit as hopeless and unfixable as it now feels to you. Having hope just in hope itself won’t work. The man suffering from cancer who refuses medical treatment while espousing to have some sort of hope will be the guest of honor at his own funeral very soon. Unfortunately, countless marriages are suffering a slow and extremely painful death while neither party has the courage, awareness or the hope necessary to pick up the phone and seek the help that is desperately needed. Their motto is ‘we can do this ourselves’ or ‘let’s just try harder’. It won’t be long until such a couple will be sitting as adversaries on opposite sides of a courtroom. Your marriage needs help! It isn’t going to get better on it’s own. Hasn’t time has proven that to be true? If it was going to get better on it’s own it would have by now. In this article I will share with you 6 rock-solid marriage saving strategies that you and your spouse can have full faith in as you build the foundation of your marital restoration.

#1 Therapy Starts This Week! – Make the call. Our number is 844-2442. We will be able get you started this week. If your spouse isn’t willing to come quite yet, then get started yourself. It is a widely held myth that both partners need to be present in order for effective work to be begin getting done in a marriage. It is much better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Aren’t you just about sick of constantly stubbing your emotional shins against the immoveable brick walls in your marriage? What is your 50% of your marital morass? How have both your childhood wounds and your previous relationship scrapes contributed to your dysfunctional behavior in this marriage? What are your issues? It is absolutely amazing how one spouse’s proactive shift towards insight, accountability, ownership and recovery can change the entire tenor of a broken relationship – hope and direction have been injected. Solid hope begins for your marriage the second that you pick up the phone.

#2 There Are No Victims Or Bad Guys In Marriage –

A minister friend of mine once asked what, in my opinion was the key to marriage counseling. With almost every marital therapy case there is at least one partner who, due to feeling victimized by their spouse, has their eyes focused on the back door. I told by friend that the key to marriage counseling was to enlighten the spouse who was feeling victimized that they have in fact never once been victimized in the least bit by their beloved spouse. That means you – not once, even in the least bit! In marriage we always get exactly what we need and exactly what we bargained for. We have an unconscious radar system, which helps us to locate and identify exactly the perfect partner. It is their job to teach us about us and they teach us best when they hurt us. Nobody can victimize you in any way without your full cooperation and collaboration. If you are feeling victimized by your spouse do yourself a huge favor and go stand in front of a mirror and ask the person that you see in front of you just how they allowed you to get into the situation that you find yourself in now. If the person in the mirror can’t come up with any answers then you need to call us immediately. We will quickly help you put the pieces of that puzzle together. The truth is that you are the captain of your ship and the architect of your own home – you are fully responsible for the life that you have built for yourself. Fortunately you are the only person on this planet that you have both the power and the responsibility to change. Ironically your protagonist, your pain inducing teacher/spouse is actually not your problem (or your enemy) – they are actually God’s tool in His effort to heal and cure you. Who knew? What is the lesson that you are supposed to be learning about you and your unresolved issues from childhood – you will never discover that as long as your focus is on the many sins and flaws of your spouse. Let’s get to work on YOU. You need hope? Have hope on the life changing foundation of proactively owning your half of your marital equation.

#3 Eventually Both Parties Must Get Into Recovery –

In my office I have a mobile made up of a family of three generations. I frequently stir the mobile by touching the member of the family system represented by the person sitting in front of me and I ask them to observe what that stirring does to the family members who are so closely tied to – it really rattles their cages. If you are in effective therapy, everyone around you is in therapy as well – they just don’t know it yet. Getting healthier is a dangerous thing for a marriage. If you need to renegotiate the deal in your marriage, your spouse just may not like the new assertive, aware and appropriately confrontive you when they have always enjoyed and felt comfortable with the old door-mat, numbed out, confused and adoring you that they married. Almost always, power shift needs to take place and which require some warfare. As the partner who is in therapy and changing begins to both share and uncover pain for their spouse that is precisely when we invite the now newly sufficiently motivated spouse to get off their therapeutic duff and get to work on their stuff. Marital therapy is no place for the conflict avoiders of the world. A great deal of hope and progress is the reward for those courageous souls who do not flinch in their many battles for connection, intimacy, compromise, accountability, and interdependency with their particular sparing partner.

#4 Divorce Is A Mistake That Makes Everything Else Worse –

Divorce is an extremely nasty and painful business. Many anguished, bitter and alienated married people begin therapy without their spouses present in a quest to simply decide to divorce or to give the marriage another shot at change. Their spouses might not even know that such serious problem exists. When they discover that their spouse isn’t their problem at all, they are usually open to inviting their spouses to join them in the therapy room. At times a separation is a necessary intervention in order to motivate a spouse who is in denial and is not yet ready to work. If you can salvage and rebuild your marriage, it is definitely in everybody’s best interest for that to happen. If your spouse is able and willing to work on their issues in therapy you should not even entertain the prospect of a divorce. You can either learn the hard way or the harder way. The hard way is to embrace the pain of your marriage, to learn from it, to see how it is all about your unresolved childhood issues and to slowly and painfully hammer out a workable marriage with your spouse. It really is hard. The harder way to learn is to choose to jump out of the frying pan thinking that you will experience relief and happiness only to discover that you have jumped into the fire itself. If you divorce without resolving your underlying issues you will marry the same person (with a different name and face) all over again. It is an immutable law of nature. I can’t tell you how many times clients have come back in to therapy years later just tell me that I was exactly right about the new person that they married. I hate being right in those cases. Their savior turned out to be the devil himself. Save the money that you were going to pay your attorney and invest it instead in recovery, growth, insight and the emotional healing of your marriage. If you want hope for happiness in your future, strike the word divorce from your vocabulary and get down to some serious work on your #1 problem – yourself.

#5 While Recovery Works, It Does Take Time –

You will need to be realistic about your expectations for change. If it has taken you (and your parents) a full 45 years to build the dysfunction in your life, to create massive damage in your marriage, to pass your issues on to your kids and to land you just one ugly fight shy of an attorney’s office you won’t be able to fix everything that needs fixed in 6 short months. For most couples it takes at least three years of intensive therapy for both parties in order to re-make a marriage. Hope builds slowly but surely as you patiently and faithfully do the work that needs to be done on yourself and in your marriage.

#6 It Will Take The Fighting Spirit Of A Champion to Make It –

You will go to hell and back in order to build a truly healthy interdependent marriage. Every great achievement in life takes faith, sustained hard work and an unwillingness to quit when the going gets rough – and it will. Just as cancer is a terrifying and formidable foe, attempting to work through the staggering amount of emotional garbage that can accumulate over the years between a husband and wife is an extremely taunting task. Every great champion has a great coach. You will need a skillful and wise relationship coach to help negotiate you and your spouse through the many battles that lie ahead. That is what we here at Family Tree Counseling Associates do best. We have produced a multitude of successfully married champions who have crawled off the mats of near divorce and fought themselves to relational peace and connectedness. Hope comes from not be willing to quit.

Give one of our excellent marital coaches a call today. We can help you. The stakes are too high to give up. You owe it to your children, you owe it to yourself and you owe it to your spouse to give your marriage every opportunity to revive. Unless you have worked extremely hard over a long course of time in therapy with an expert therapist then you really have not yet given your marriage the time and the opportunities for change that it deserves. There is hope for your marriage if you pick up the phone today.




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This article was authored by Family Tree Counseling Associates, a marriage, individual and family counseling center serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana. If you would like to contact us, please fill out a contact us form or call us at 317-844-2442.
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