The conversation starts innocently enough.  Someone wants help saving a marriage.  They tell me about the disconnection haunting the relationship.  They tell me about the hurts and struggles.  They tell me they are desperate to turn things around.

And then they say it.  “How do I get my spouse to. . .” “How do I make my spouse to. . . ” “How do I cause my spouse to. . . .”

They say these things in innocence, really wanting to get things to a better place.  They want to make the marriage work.  They hope to cause a shift in the relationship.  But they are aiming it at their spouse.

Herein lies the problem.  It is about somehow getting, making, or causing a spouse to make a shift — maybe only as far as getting a spouse to think the marriage could be saved.

Innocent.

And doomed for failure.

Why?

Because just behind all three words lurks the same thing:  manipulation or coercion.  And usually with a spouse who is on the defensive, already suspicious and on guard.

And even if they are not, who wants to be manipulated or coerced?  Even if it is in a good direction?

Don’t fall into this trap.  Listen to the podcast below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Marriage Is A WE
No Contact Rule
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This article first appeared here