John: Steven, I appreciate you taking my call. I know that we are scheduled to meet with you later this afternoon but I wanted to call you and tell you that I won’t be coming. I have decided that I am going to go ahead and file for divorce. I love Theresa but I don’t feel the same way about her that I used to. Too much damage has been done. She used to be able to walk into a room and I would get a hard on. Yesterday she walked in and I felt nothing. I believe that it is time to close the door, move on and start with someone new.
Steven: I don’t believe you.
John: You don’t believe what?
Steven: I don’t believe that you are prepared to move on. You love that woman; you are hurting and you are trying to protect yourself. I get it. I understand. What you are doing is natural. You are taking the back door / easy way out. It is much more difficult to humble yourself, swallow your pride and work through these tough situations. I get it. Normally our Johnson gets us into relationships. This is a new one, using your Johnson to get out of a relationship. Check it out man: I had a one on one coaching session with your wife earlier this week.
That woman is:
1.) Begging for an opportunity to save her marriage to you.
2.) Humbling herself as a wife.
3.) Humbling herself as a step-parent.
4.) Agreeing to be a more loving and involved step-parent
5.) Accepting full responsibility for her wrong doings.
6.) Willing to apologize to your kids.
7.) Willing to apologize to your extended family.
8.) Willing to put her son (22) out and uninvite him to the house.
9.) Being patient.
10.) Praying. She is just praying around the clock man. Asking God to change your heart.
What more do you want out of a woman? It is ultimately easier to deal with the devil that you know instead of dealing with that brand new devil. Do you have any idea how long it will take you to get your life back to where it is today? You are married and you have a family, a home, savings, a financial plan, goals and dreams. You have built some things from the ground up to get what you have today. How long will it take you to rebuild the life that you have right now if you decided to sabotage it by way of divorce? Let’s say it takes you two years minimum to emotionally recover from getting a divorce. The time it takes for you to go and find a new mate could be two more years. The time it takes to get engaged and get married, another two years. The time it takes for you to get back on your financial plan, buy a new house, rebuild your savings could be years, but let’s just say two more years for the mathematically challenged. In total, it could take you up to eight years to get back to where you are today. Instead of taking eight years to rebuild your life, how about taking 30 days with me and fix this thing?
John: 30 days.
Steven: 30. See you at 3:00 PM.
Steven: Theresa let’s start with you today. How are we doing?
Theresa: Taking it one day at a time. It is unbelievably embarrassing. It is hard coming home to a house with half the furniture gone. (Suddenly increases her tone.) I can’t really look at this MOTHA F#CKA!!!
John: I got yo MOTHA F#CKA!!!
Steven: John, you were a motha f#cka for what you did bro. Eat that. Theresa continue.
Theresa: I just don’t know where to start. Where to end. I am so confused. I don’t know how I got here. I don’t know why I am here. He left me, I should just let him go. I am so angry. I am so hurt. So disappointed. I can’t believe it.
John: I am not in love with her anymore either! That’s why I don’t know why we are even doing this! I am leaving! (John and I stand up.)
Steven: John, calm down bro. You promised me 30 days. Hold on let me make a point to you. Theresa is not in love with you right now. You hurt her, you left her and she is still here fighting for this marriage. Fighting for this marriage doesn’t feel like the right thing to do to her right now but she is doing it anyway you know why? Because that is marriage. She is a wife. You are her husband. In marriage you don’t always get to do what feel rights good. Sometimes in marriage you have to do what your title requires. She is living up to her title as wife right now by staying here and resisting the urge to give up. What are you doing? Have you been a good husband to her? Can you look her in the eye and say to her that you have been a good husband? Theresa look at him. Tell her John.
John: I tried my best.
Steven: Your best was not good enough. Your best did not live up to your title. You cannot leave this marriage until you have given her the best husband that you and I can pull that out of you. You cannot give up on marriage John. We have to fight. Divorce Is Not An Option. There is no rush. We can take our time. 30 days John. You promised. No more outbursts. Let’s get focused. Let’s give it our best shot to save this marriage.
John: 30 days.
Steven: Ok, so I would normally start with teaching couples Commitment. You guys are not really committed so forget that. Next up, I would normally teach Communication. Y’all are barely talking to each other. Let’s come back to that. Trust? There is no real trust issue. I mean, besides you leaving but that’s another issue. Respect? Neither of you have any respect for each other so let’s not start there. Love? Love? Hmmmmmmmm. Nah. Both of y’all got gas faces! Y’all are not feeling lovey dovey. Not ready to learn about love. But you know what I will say one thing about love.
Steven: I don’t care that you are not “In Love” anymore or that you don’t feel loving. Love is an emotion that you can fall in and out of. I am not moved by anyone’s announcement that they don’t love each other anymore. First of all, I just gave you my top four characteristics of a relationship in order: Commitment, Communication, Respect, Trust and then Love. Love is only the 5th most important characteristic in a relationship. A client will come into my office on Monday and proclaim, “I am not in love anymore.” Come back on Tuesday and say, “I was just mad, I am still in love.” Then Wednesday they’re back out of love again. My relationship coaching is not based on love. It is based on work. It is based on your titles. It is based on your vows before God, family and friends. Are you willing to do the work that it will take to save the marriage? Don’t answer that question yet. Let’s first start with my sixth and seventh most important characteristics in no particular order: Healing & Forgiveness.
Healing & Forgiveness are what I like to call “Active States”. Healing doesn’t just happen over time. Forgiveness is a decision. You have to be present to heal and forgive. You have to want to heal and forgive. Emotional wounds are not like external wounds. Emotional wounds impact your decision making subconsciously. You become less interested in relationships. You are more protective of your heart. You believe in love just a little bit less. Love becomes only an emotion and no longer an action. You gain a distrust of love. It becomes an uncontrollable, unattainable power which is only half true. You will always be able to control how you love.
Healing is for you. Forgiveness is for them. Sometimes a person needs to heal first, which is a process. Sometimes a person needs to forgive first, which is also a process. Theresa, you are going to need to forgive first. John can’t earn your forgiveness. No one can earn forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift, you have to decide to freely give to John without reneging on that decision whenever you feel he’s no longer worthy of it. If you try to make him earn forgiveness we will be stuck at this point forever. Because nothing that he says or does will ever fulfill the emotional debt that you subconsciously feel that he owes you. No action he takes will undo the hurt or cover the hole in your heart that is filled with outrage, disappointment and disbelief that the person closest to you could ever hurt you so deeply. We will be perpetually stuck. But, if you say to yourself that you want to forgive because you don’t want to walk around with anger in your heart, you can make a decision to do that. The bible says that love covers a multitude of sin, which means that there’s power and healing in love. But that only happens after you extend forgiveness and allow it to break up the fallow ground around your heart. Forgiveness is the key and healing comes through the door with it, paving the way for the love to enter once again. Then the “active state” comes into play. Forgiveness is a continual decision that you make over and over again, and there is no easy button. There is prayer. There is journaling. There is venting. There is understanding. There is more prayer. There is talking to yourself in the mirror and saying repeatedly if necessary, “Forgiveness is a gift. I want to forgive John. I don’t want to live in anger.” Do you think you can make the decision to forgive today and then actively pursue the state of forgiveness?
Theresa: (Theresa is crying but . . . ) She nods her head yes.
Steven: Forgiveness is a process. You just made the first step. John?
John: Yes sir.
Steven: What she is doing is being a wife. It’s not fun. It’s not sexy. It’s not cool. It is not for the faint of heart and she can only do it with a husband. You have to be a husband, John. You have not been that to her up to this point. For you to have left her without facing her is a reflection of your own brokenness. A person who is whole and solid would have pre-judged your actions as too extreme. Maybe you had malice intent. Maybe you wanted to hurt her but this was too much and something inside of you should have stopped you from committing this act against your wife. Look at her and apologize again.
John: I am sorry Theresa. I didn’t mean to hurt you like this. I thought . . . I thought . . . I thought you would be happy that I was gone. I mean we argue all the time.
Steven: Wait, wait, wait, back up. You said that you, “thought she would be happy that [you] were gone.” Your misjudgment of your wife exhibits the depth of your brokenness. Could it be that the marriage is not as bad as you perceived it to be and because of your history, your baggage, your experience and your observations took something that was bad and made it worse? Instead of being a leader and bringing about ideas to get the marriage on the right track you threw fuel on the fire. The greatest tragedy to man is to not have witnessed a man love a woman when he was a boy. Did that tragedy take place in your life as well?
John: Yes. I don’t know my father. My mother said it was one of three guys…
#DINAOP – The Divorce Is Not An Option Project
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