On Tuesday, we left off with Theresa providing me with her husband, John’s cell phone number. I often call husbands who initially reject the idea of relationship coaching because no husband is going to turn down a conversation about his wife with another man. All I have to do during this initial call is convince the husband that I will be fair and that I will challenge the wife to be a better wife, then he will accept being challenged to be a better husband. Occasionally, and depending on how serious the problem is, I will wait to contact the husband until after I have worked with a wife for a while. Once the husband is able to reap the benefits of having a better spouse through our sessions, he lets his guard down and begins to trust me so that I can now challenge him.
*Remember, I don’t believe in marriage counseling. I believe in husband coaching and wife coaching. I can save a marriage without a husband and wife ever being in the same room together because saving a marriage is not about saving the marriage. Saving the marriage is about fixing that raggedy wife or that raggedy husband. The institution of marriage is perfect in the way that God created it. There is nothing wrong with marriage. If I fix the wife, if I fix the husband, I automatically fix the marriage. A great husband and a great wife makes the marriage great. A great musician and a great singer will make a great song. The problem with music today is that people are trying to make songs, but no one is great. (What happen to Musiq Soulchild and India Arie?) The problem with marriage is that society judges you if you are not married. Husbands and wives don’t get married. Boyfriends and girlfriends get married. Boyfriends and girlfriends have bad marriages. Marriage . . . oh yeah, I forgot, y’all wanted to know what happened with John. My bad.
I sent John this text:
Steven: Hello John, my name is Steven James Dixon. I am a relationship coach. I have already had a session with your wife. I’m looking forward to hearing your side of the story. I have cleared my schedule for this afternoon in case you have a moment to give me a call.
And I wait. Key things I say in the text: 1.) hear your side of the story – Very, very few can resist the urge of telling their side of the story once they are informed that their spouse has already given their deposition. 2.) I have cleared my schedule – This eliminates excuses and phone tag. I send this message at 12 PM. The average person is at lunch or understands that they have 5 hours until 5 PM to return my call. About 45 minutes later the phone rings.
John: Steven, I appreciate the call but our marriage is over and . . .
I cut him off. As soon as I hear something negative I cut him off. If I let him talk, he is going to talk both of us into believing the marriage is over. All marriages can be saved, but husbands and wives need to do their work independent of each other. So I cut him off and transform into fire and brimstone mode. (Like at the end of church when the pastor makes you say amen.)
Steven: John, no person can leave a marriage until they have given their best effort. It is impossible for you to have given your best effort because your best effort includes seeking spiritual guidance, expanding your knowledge base, being humble, having patience and being a got damn King! You have only been married two years. Wouldn’t you agree that anything worth having takes more than two years to build?
I pause but I don’t let him answer. Because regardless of his answer, it will be followed up by a negative statement. I need to build up this fire within him so he can come and bend his knees on this here brimstone and join the church of “Divorce Is Not An Option.”
Steven: You can’t get a four year degree in two years. You can’t raise a child in two years. You can’t build a career in two years. What you can do is build a foundation. Wouldn’t you agree that the husband in the marriage is responsible for making sure that the foundation is built correctly? Would you say that you did a good job in leading this project of building your marriage on a solid foundation?
Steven: Your wife said that you guys are not active in church. So that means that you don’t have spiritual guidance. Your wife said that you guys haven’t received counseling. So you haven’t expanded your knowledge base about marriage. Being humble means that you are slow to anger. Patience won’t let you to leave your marriage after only two years. You are not a King. Kings don’t sneak off while the queen is away. Give me a chance to save your marriage. Give me 30 days. There is no point in rushing into a divorce. Your wife has already retained my services.
Steven: You have nothing to lose John. Give me 30 days. At the end of 30 days you can say that you guys went to relationship coaching and Steven James Dixon didn’t do his job. You can blame everything on me.
John: When do you want to have our first session?
Steven: Tomorrow. If we wait too long you are going to change your mind.
Steven: John would you like to start?
John: I already said what I wanted to say to her.
Steven: John, you owe Theresa an apology for leaving the way that you did and asking for a divorce over text. Please look at Theresa, apologize and explain those two items.
John: I truly am sorry about the way that I left, but I told you I was unhappy. In the past when I tried to leave you would block the door. So while you were gone it was the best chance for me to leave without a huge fight. I didn’t think I would have to ask for a divorce over text. I figured you would know what it is when you arrived back at the house. I’m sorry.
Steven: Theresa . . . (Theresa is crying uncontrollably.)
Times like this I know Theresa is going to gather herself and express herself I just need to give her a minute.
Steven: John, do you think Theresa deserved this?
John: No, but I don’t deserve to be unhappy either.
Theresa: (Screams) You think you are so perfect you f#cking @asshole! F#ck you!
John: (Stands up) F#ck me! F#ck you! I don’t need this! I came here so you can have closure and be done!
Steven: (Stands up . . . I am bigger than John. Contemplating whipping his @ass.) Sit down John! You don’t talk to a woman like that! If you talk to her like that, that is why we are here today!
John: How about how she talks to me?
Steven: Theresa is going to stop talking to you like that. That is one of the things that I am going to work on her with. One of the things I am going to work on you with is: leadership. Leaders don’t respond or react. Leaders lead by example. The example that you are setting here is that there is no leadership in your marriage, so your marriage is failing. All units, organizations, teams, companies and marriages fail when they lack leadership. Because you don’t exhibit leadership, she doesn’t have any respect for you. Because she doesn’t have any respect for you she talks to you like that.
When I say, “Theresa is going to stop talking to you like that”, I am speaking that into existence. I make eye contact with Theresa. It is an instruction. I am not a counselor. I am a coach. The difference is that I am not going to observe and facilitate a discussion. This is not a conversation between me and a couple. This is training. This is education. I am sharing knowledge and wisdom. Take notes, do your homework, pop quizzes, think fast, you will earn a grade. We are adults. When I call out something that a client is doing wrong or needs to do better, I expect them to do it. We are adults. #MarriageIsForGrownPeople
Theresa stop crying. Look at me. You are crying because you don’t feel loved. You not feeling loved is like him not feeling respected. A man craves respect the way a woman craves love. So every time you say F#ck you! That’s like him saying I don’t love you. Do you understand?
Steven: Additionally, know that this man is confused by your disrespect. He doesn’t know what to do with it because any other person that says to John, F#ck you, what is going to happen to them John?
John: They are going to get f#cked up!
Steven: I can save your marriage. We can save your marriage. Each marriage has different problems but the root cause of the problems is all the same. Building Blocks of Marriage: #1 is Commitment, #2 is Communication, #3 Trust, #4 Respect, #5 Love, #6 Healing, #7 Forgiveness. I can teach what each means and why each is important in marriage and in that order. Marriage hierarchy: God is 1st, Spouse is 2nd, Spouse is 3rd, 4th is Vacant, 5th is Family. If you give me the opportunity to share these principles with you we can save your marriage. I can tell that right now neither one of you have the desire to fight for this marriage. That’s fine. I’m good with that. I will fight for your marriage until you two are ready to take over. Just come here twice a week with an open mind. Theresa, John is giving me 30 days to get this marriage turned around. He is not giving you 30 days. He is giving me 30 days to do my job. Don’t try to fix your marriage without me now. Give each other some space. This is an enormous amount of emotional stress that you guys are under right now. Let’s plan to meet on Friday but both of you have my number. Call me any time. I don’t even want you guys to leave together. Theresa, go ahead and go. Thank you. I will see you Friday. Don’t forget you can call me. Give me some time to call you back.
(Theresa gives John the look of death and leaves.)
Steven: You guys are good people man. I can tell. I have to be able to save marriages like yours. You have to let me do my job. You have to give me a chance. Hang in there with me man.
John: I’m going to try man.
Steven: I tell you what, don’t TRY, DO! If you DO, then I will DO my job. I promise you, I give you my word that if you let me, I will help you save your marriage. See you Friday man.
#DINAOP – The Divorce Is Not An Option Project
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