March 2017




How to Save My Marriage Without Talking About It!

By: Waverly J. Hanson, MA, LPC

How do you react when you are upset about your life or your marriage? The majority of couples or individuals say things like, I want my marriage to work; or state I want help for my marriage or I want to improve my marriage. The title of this article seems to be a common wish among you men who ask, how to save my marriage without talking about it?

Today I'd like to share several ideas that work. There is little talking involved in the use of these practical tools. The reason I asked the question above, how do you react when you are upset about your life or your marriage, is to begin to help you focus on things you can do that work without discussion.

By far the majority of you are probably living your lives on auto pilot! So your first assignment is as follows:

1.  Notice your own behaviors and thoughts.  Take note either mentally and/or in writing of how you currently are behaving in various settings with your spouse. Avoid being critical or judgmental of yourself or your spouse, but just observe. If you want to act more kindly or graciously toward yourself and others, just noticing and being aware is enough to actually change it. (If you judge yourself or berate yourself, you actually can reinforce the behavior you would like to change.)

2. You may have the false belief that circumstances are causing you to feel upset or frustrated. Upon further reflection, you will notice you were already upset before that event occurred. An example would be driving in heavy traffic. If you are feeling calm and at peace, a driver could cut in front of you and you barely notice. You shrug it off and allow the other car in front of you. However, on a day when you are already not in a good place, your reaction will be much stronger and more negative. You and I seem to automatically assume that the circumstances are to blame for our upsets rather than accept that we were already primed to react.

3. Upsets can be just a grumble or an explosion.  When you blame something outside of yourself it promotes recurring upsets. When you have had a bad day at work or a frustrating day with the children at home, when you meet your spouse at the end of the day, it is unfortunately easier to be short with him or her as if they are the cause of your upset.

4. The wonderful news is that as you grow in your own awareness of how you are living, without judgment toward yourself, others or situations, these upsets will begin to lose their power over you and with practice you will become free of them. You will find it easier to let them go as just part of life and accept them as no big deal.My original question of how you act out when you are upset is still on the table. Do you swear, yell, say bad hurtful things and throw objects or do you get quiet and withdrawn? Do you blame people or circumstances for how you feel as if they are somehow responsible for your own bad feelings?

Fake it until you make it...
Write out some of your problems and toss in a waste basket, think about a happy memory, imagine your troubles swirling down the drain with the shower or bath water, fake it until you make it by smiling anyway. Scientific studies are showing that you can actually make yourself feel better by actually smiling! Take a deep breath, smile and tell yourself for the next few minutes you’re going to pretend you feel fine.

What if you do say hurtful words?
If you do say hurtful words with or without thought, saying "I am so sorry" words with sincere meaning and very quickly, we can usually make things good again!

Sue Patton illustrates this in her book The Courage to Be Yourself.  She calls these Steps Toward Transformation:

  • AWARE – Become aware of your dragons and fears
  • ACKNOWLEDGE – Invite your dragons into the light or take a dragon to lunch!
  • ACCEPT – Feelings are not right or wrong; they just are...

A similar idea is expressed a bit differently below:

  • PAUSE – You wait before you act. Give yourself time to assess your feelings. A pause is especially effective during heated conversations.
  • COMPARE – your Options: Remember how you have reacted in the past. Is that appropriate now, or would you rather choose deliberate, creative, healing.
  • CHOOSE  – This step is crucial! By pausing, you’ve taken yourself off autopilot. So you are not just reacting to people, situations or inner feelings. You are choosing your course of action in whatever direction seems best.

Some questions to ask yourself...

  1. Have these reactions worked in the past?
  2. Do I feel better when I react in these ways?
  3. Is our relationship better after I’ve gone through the old, familiar reactions?

Usually the answer will be a BIG NO!  Do you still want to react this way?

So again, if you are asking questions such as, I want my marriage to work; or I want help for my marriage or I want to improve my marriage, or How to save my marriage without talking about it, please do seriously consider and experiment with several of the tools within this article. You will be surprised with the effective results you will experience as you begin to act differently than usual.

What do you have to lose when what you currently do isn’t working? Make the choice to find and do what works!

Copyright © 2017 by Waverly J. Hanson, MA, LPC and the Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.

Waverly J. Hanson, MA, LPC, For over 25 years, Waverly has had the joy of being a part of what she considers “miraculous” turnarounds in couples lives. She is now providing online help with the Free 1 Minute Quiz at: Her best seller is available at Amazon: How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage: Stop Marriage Pain, Start Reconnecting!

Ask Our Coaches

Which is more important? Being Best Friends or Lovers?

Dear Coaches,

My husband and I have been married for almost 30 years. We have had our ups and downs, but we are very happy together and I think of him as my best friend. However, our sex life isn't what it used to be and I wonder if it matters? I'm happy with the way things are and he doesn't complain so I suppose he is too, but I wonder if it means we aren't attracted to each other anymore? Should we try to "spice" things up, or just leave it alone?

Barbara Williams

Barbara responds ...

Congratulations to your 30 years of marriage. You share of how very happy you are together and how you think of your husband as your best friend. Have you addressed your concerns with him about your sex life? Over time, I'm sure nothing has remained the same. You have grown older; your tastes have evolved, along with other things; including your sex drive and habits. With that said, it wouldn't be a bad idea to visit with your primary care physician to rule out any type of medical issues. This includes the both of you.

"Wondering if it matters" sounds like the communication may have lessened along with the sex. The best way to find out what he's thinking and how he's feeling about anything is simply to ask him. Rather than initially addressing his thoughts and feelings, you may want to start with your concerns, which may ease his mind about where you might be going with this. You may also want to ask yourself the questions you wonder about him. Does it matter to you that your sex life isn't what it used to be? Are you still attracted to him? Would you like to spice things up? What are your thoughts and feelings on this? That's what really matters.

Barbara Williams |

The opinions stated are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the staff, members, or leadership of Relationship Coaching Institute.

This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your question here and it will be forwarded to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.


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