Thursday, December 24, 2009

To Leave, Or To Stay?

In my most recent blog entry,I posed a question that someone sent me, requesting my help to decide whether to go or to stay in a marriage. This is Part 2 of my answer.

If you have sought marital therapy with a specialist in marriage and family therapy and you still are uncertain, the following questions can provide a kind of checklist for you.

Top 5 Questions to Ask Yourself:

1. Have you invested in understanding and improving your situation, or have you merely attended therapy? Worse yet, have you refused to get professional help completely? If you answered the latter questions in the affirmative, you have not been fair to your spouse, yourself, and any children whose lives will be impacted by your decisions now. Merely marking time in a therapist’s office will not help you be a better partner in your marriage or in your next relationship. And you cheat both your spouse, yourself, your children, and a new partner, should you decide to leave.

2. Have you taken responsibility for your part in the problems you are having? It is human nature to blame others for your situation. That way, you don’t have to change yourself. So you seem to get off scot free. However, it takes two to tango. It took two to create your situation, and you both need to invest in changing it. When you don’t step up and own your own contribution to the difficulties in the marriage, you give away your own power to change it.

3. Have you stopped blaming your spouse for everything that is wrong in your marriage? This is a close cousin to #2. There is no more blame when you have soul-searched and come up with your contribution to your problems. Take note. Assigning blame is not the same as accepting responsibility.

4. Have you owned your own feelings? Here’s a tip to remember. Starting sentences with “I feel that . . . “ is not the same as sharing feelings. Stated this way, it’s an opinion that masquerades as a feeling. To wit: “I feel that you shouldn’t work such long hours.”

5. Do you have a clear sense that you’ve done all I can, and it’s time to leave? If you can’t answer “yes” to this question, then it likely isn’t time to leave. In my experience both personally and professionally, people know when it’s time. They don’t have to “overthink” it.

As always, if you have difficulty applying these suggestions to your own situation, I offer a complimentary consultation. Just call my toll free number (888-546-1580) to arrange for it.

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