Spencer Sutton. Joe, I talk to people every day who want to work on their marriage and they want to come to one of our Marriage Helper 911 workshops but their spouse is not interested. Many times the reluctant spouse is just trying to move on because there’s been too much hurt or they’re in a relationship with someone else and anxious to start a new life. What are some of the reasons a reluctant spouse should consider the workshop and how should it be approached by the spouse who’s trying to save the marriage?
Joe Beam: Ask yourself “What is it that my spouse wants that I can offer? What is motivating them in this separation or divorce process?” When you’re able to identify those things, then you are able make some kind of a deal with them in return for attending the workshop. Some of the most common motivations include money, time with the kids or a speedy divorce.
Take a quick divorce for instance, the motivated spouse might say, “I’ll agree to sign the documents or agree to your terms if you just give me three days at this Marriage Helper workshop to help bring me closure and to validate that the relationship is over or there’s a way forward.” That’s how you might motivate them to consider the workshop.
It’s also good to remember that whining, pleading, begging, always works negatively. That’s never a good idea and it will never pay off. Being strong and confident and comfortable, letting the other person know, “I love you and I want to be with you, but I can definitely live without you if you choose not to do this.” That is a positive way to approach the subject of attending the workshop. In essence you are saying, “I can live without you even though I want to stay married, but here’s something I know that you want and I can give you.”
Again, it might be a better deal in the divorce or it might be to let your children feel that you have done everything that’s important to do before such a major decision that impacts their lives is taken. So many people walk out of a marriage without showing their children they at least tried and it ends up affecting their relationship negatively years down the road. The point is to somehow find a trade-off here, something that you can give your reluctant spouse in return for three days.
Also, let the reluctant spouse understand what they are getting into in this three day workshop. They need to know that they are not coming to some high pressure event where people are going to say, “This is what you have to do, you must do it.” A reluctant spouse is naturally going to be thinking that the entire three days of the workshop is meant to beat them up or guilt them into staying in the marriage. We are not going to beat them up at all. We’re going to let them know that while we obviously exist to help people save their marriages, at the same time, we respect everyone’s decisions. We respect everyone’s right to make his or her own decision, and so we respect that right in you.
Here’s a final thought: Never offer anything that you are not actually going to fulfill.
Make the offer honestly and with a mind that you will deliver on your promise. Therefore, before a person offers anything, he or she must consider carefully, “Am I really willing to give this? Will I really do it?” If they are not ready to live up to their end of the offer, then, by all means, do not offer it. It could actually make things worse between the two of you.
If your spouse is reluctant and you would like for them to read more about the Marriage Helper Workshop, have them visit HERE.
As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 866-903-0990 or complete the form below for information on our workshop if you don’t wish to call.