Distant Spouse and Saving your Marriage

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Can Your Marriage be Saved?

This question is a tough one to face for most facing the demise of their marriage: Can this marriage be saved?

Is it too painful or disturbing for you to entertain this question?

The thought of your marriage ending is often terrifying:

-My dreams and hopes for a good life are shattered.

-My lifestyle will be turned upside down.

-I can’t stand the thought of my children being “parented” by someone else.

-I can’t stand the thought of my spouse being intimate with someone else.

-I don’t want to “start over.”

Will I ever trust again and have a deep satisfying relationship, or is that just a pipe dream?

And, so you, day and night, live in perpetual tension, fear and dread. What WILL happen?

Furthermore, most living with the fear of a dying marriage, throw themselves into saving the relationship.

You drip with neediness and desperation and you hate it. THIS IS NOT YOU!

But, you can’t seem to help it.

You march ahead, determined to give it your best shot.

You intuitively and instinctively employ “marriage saving strategies” that an unknowing world around you suggests:

-You increase the frequency of the “I Love You” phrase.

-You try to turn yourself into the person you think s/he wants you to be – more romantic, less “demanding,” more attentive, more affectionate, less controlling, etc.

-You tell him/her you will change and it will be better.

-You plead to “work on the marriage,” that it is worth saving.

-You suggest marriage counseling.

-You try to engage him/her with “talking about our issues.”

-You try to be more sexy and give more sex.

-You suggest date nights, seminars, self help books.

-You may plead, beg and/or guilt trip.

But, it does no good. It backfires. And if you get hints at something better, you don’t trust it or it doesn’t last.

Your tension, fear and anxiety ramps up another notch and you don’t know what to do.

But you don’t want to entertain the possibility that it’s over, but you don’t see a way to reconcile, to shift the flow of tension and distance. What you thought would work only leads to more distance and frustration.

Take a deep breath!

I’m here to help you stand back, take a look at your larger picture and move ahead with more confidence, less tension and a different strategy or two that creates MOVEMENT in your marriage.

I’ve discovered with over 25,000 client hours as a Marriage and Family Therapist that 85% of marriages can be saved.

But, first you must answer the question: Can my marriage be saved?

In addressing that question, you begin a learning process (of making finer and finer distinctions) of the true dynamics in a marriage.

You also reduce your tension level, which makes you less needy and desperate (and more attractive.) Face it, your spouse, at this point, has no clue of what to do with your fear and neediness. Your pushing only increases his/her distance.

I will give you counter-intuitive strategies that stand the best chance of saving your marriage and perhaps your life.

First, I want you to courageously face the question, “Can this marriage be saved?”

It might save your life.

Let me explain.

10% of Marriages Exhibit Abuse

My experience tells me that 10% of marriages are marked by abuse; sometimes physical, sometimes verbal or mental and sometimes both.

It was in the late 80’s.

A young woman entered my office for a late afternoon appointment. It was her first appointment, referred by a friend.

She presented herself as a reserved quiet person. Her eyes and body language spoke volumes of her sadness. She often breathed deeply and sighed.

She talked about her marriage, how she wanted to save the marriage. She was not specific about the status of the marriage other than she wanted her husband to love her.

We spent the 50 minutes with background information and building rapport.

The next afternoon, after getting home from the office, I opened the local newspaper and to my horror a picture of this young lady was on the front page.

She was brutally stabbed to death in the bathtub by her husband no more than 8 hours after I saw her in my office!

If you fear this could be you, get out now! Please!

If you believe you are in an abusive relationship, but are not sure, get a copy of “Save Your Marriage Forever – the 3 EASY LOVE Laws” and go to page 145 where I offer a checklist that will help you determine the level of abuse and offer suggestions as to what you might do.

Leaving sometimes provides enough impetus for marital change, depending on the level and intensity of the abuse and or addiction.

5% of Marriages Ruled by Irreparable Emotional Distance

Another form of marriage is ruled by emotional distance resulting from a spouse who suffers from a form of grandiosity.

Plain and simple, this marriage is marked by a spouse, who in the eyes of our culture, holds a position of cultural power and is labeled highly “successful.” This may be a politician, businessperson, doctor, clergy, attorney or other professional who has a high need for power, influence and status.

This person often feels entitled, is aware of others only when it serves his/her purpose, and remains emotionally aloof from the spouse and usually children.

Over the years I’ve encountered many spouses who feel the emotional pain, but find it difficult to leave for fear of losing their lifestyle.

Confronting the power absorbed spouse is often problematic, since his/her culture usually supports his/her behaviors – which often includes infidelity.

85% of Marriages Display the Pursuing-Distancing Game.

I assume most of you reading this article fit here.

This is by far the most common marriage dilemma.

The marriage begins to lose its balance when your spouse begins to emotionally distance or disappear.

Perhaps a third party slips into the relationship to generate the pain and fear.

Perhaps it’s a “mid-life” crisis and s/he suddenly pulls away.

Perhaps the words “I don’t love you anymore” appear and divorce becomes a topic.

Perhaps old patterns, once dormant, emerge and threaten to tear the marriage apart.

Perhaps different marital stages (early adolescence, empty nest, etc – described in more detail in “Save Your Marriage Forever – the 3 EASY LOVE Laws” beginning on page 52) generate upheaval.

The bottom line: one begins to “leave” and the other becomes very concerned.

The other begins to chase, begins to pursue and use the “most recommended” strategies listed above to “win back” the wayward spouse.

But, of course, the more you pursue, the more your other distances. And, as well, tension and fear become more a part of the marriage.

I offered you the Infographic, “Turn around Your Marriage in the Next 24 Hours” for this very reason: it encourages you to stop pursuing.

Stop Pursuing may seem counter-intuitive, which it is; but it holds the first and best hope for turning your marriage around.

I cover the pursuing-distancing dance extensively in “Save Your Marriage Forever – the 3 EASY LOVE Laws” as I describe it as being a major problem area in the “Yellow” marriage.

Are you better able, right now, to stand back and see your marriage dilemma from a different perspective? Have you noticed any change in your feelings or thinking about your marriage?

Once you begin to stand back and look from deeply into your marriage the chances of saving your marriage increase dramatically.

Can your marriage be saved? From my experience, if you face this question and begin to learn more about your marriage, you stand an 85% chance that your marriage cannot merely be saved, but be better than you might now think.

That’s why you are here.

What’s next?

I provided you with 3 levels to move through as you confront your marriage:

Relax (Tension is THE Marriage Killer!)

Reprogram (What you are conventionally taught about marriage is wrong)

Reconnect (When the time is right, you BE with your spouse in a radically different way)

Thank you for being here.

I wish you the best,


6 thoughts on “Distant Spouse and Saving your Marriage”

  1. Very much what I am living right now. He runs literally and figuratively all the time. Always excuses as to why no time. None of them ever make sense. I watch him relax when he allows himself to be with me but he fights it so much. Almost like he doesn’t think he deserves it. There seems to be an underlying fear of giving of self. Like you said in another article What you learn about marriage at age 6 will kill your marriage st 36 or 46. My H learned at age 6 he couldn’t count on one person in his life to trust. That’s probably never changed despite the chalk and cheese family unit he grew up in compared to his life with me and our kids. So very damaged.

  2. How about doing a series on Passive Aggressive Spouses? My wife i believe has this issue? You can show her proof and she will deny to the end? Also Social Media a huge factor in hurting our Marriage

  3. I started reading your emails a few years ago. They have been very helpful. I have hung in there while he went through all of his terrible phases of infidelity and after. This has been going on for nearly 8 years. It was when I finally decided to let go of our marriage and give him the divorce he’d been wanting, took my ring off, stopped saying ” I love you’….that he turned around. And I did all of that with a broken heart. Now, we just had our 30th anniversary, and I am having a really hard time embracing his turnaround. There’s so much damage from the pain he caused. When he is now saying, ” I love you.” , I don’t feel anything. I’m going to keep studying your information. There have been several affairs over years that I have found out about. I feel like the leftovers and so betrayed. I pray a
    lot for discernment right now. And….I’m glad I’m still here after so many years of feeling so hopeless that I didn’t want to live anymore. Not suicidal, I was just so broken. No one will ever make me feel that way again. I am so much stronger and I am no longer effected by the abusive behavior. There’s hope!

  4. Thanks Bob.

    This is very helpful.

    I really miss my wife and still want to save my marriage. However, I know I have to step back and stop pursuing her (3.5 years ago she left).

    Thanks again.

    If it is to be, it will be. I must find a way to leave it in God’s hands.


  5. My husband does exactly this. As if he is punishing him self for his 2 year affair. He wants a divorce. He sent me from Pa. to Al. To live. I’m from Alabama my family is here and it’s absolutely wonderful. He will not consider moving here. Which to me he is picking that over me. I’ve been in Alabama for a week and everyday he finds an excuse to text me. And then pulls back like he is mad at me for moving.

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