Save Your Marriage: Understand the REAL Reason Your Marriage is Failing If your marriage is falling apart, you will know what an incredibly painful situation that is to be in. Perhaps your husband or wife wants to leave you because they no longer love you, or are telling you that is the case anyway (they may be saying something like, “I still love you but I'm not IN love with you”). Perhaps they are having an affair (whether it be a physical affair or via text or email). Maybe they are telling you that they want to be apart to try to “sort their life out.” It could be that the stresses of life and time have simply meant that the two of you have drifted apart. It's then that you hear those dreaded words:
“I want a divorce.” Whatever the reason, the prospect of your marriage is undoubtedly causing you some deep pain and soul-searching. In my work as a marriage and relationship coach, specializing in helping people to save their marriage from divorce, one of the most common questions people ask me when they are in this situation is:
“Why is my marriage falling apart?” Depending on how painful your situation is, you're probably asking yourself that question a great deal. Having a husband or wife who wants to leave brings up a lot of emotion and questions. And one of the biggest questions is “Why?”
I've had many different answers to this question but the most common are: “My husband (or wife) is having an affair” (or “They had an
affair”); “We no longer communicate”; “We're always arguing and fighting”; “We've simply fallen out of love – they tell me they no longer love
me”; “We've lost the spark of passion and fun that we used to have”; “We just got different interests.” In fact, some people even say to me they simply don't know why their marriage is falling apart. To them it feels as if they and their spouse have simply drifted apart. Ask yourself the question: “Why is MY marriage falling apart?” The truth is that whatever your answer – particularly if it is one of the ones above (or something similar) – you have not found the real answer. All of these things are merely symptoms of your situation. They are not, however, the real reason why your marriage or relationship is crumbling.
In fact, no matter what situation you're in, there really is only one underlying reason why relationships break up. That reason is this:
“Because you and your spouse are no longer meeting each other’s needs.” What do I mean by this? The reality is that as human beings, in common with every other living thing on the planet, we are wired for one thing: survival. And survival means having our needs met. This is of course quite obvious. However, as human beings, we have greater needs than any other species on the planet. In additional to our survival and reproductive needs (what we call our “biological needs”) we also have emotional needs. Once you begin to think about this, the significance becomes obvious: people do in fact spend most of their time trying to meet their emotional needs. Our emotional needs are such things as feeling happy and secure, but it comes down to our feelings. We all want to feel good and that's a basic biological wiring need that we as humans have. Feeling good is our primary motivation and it drives all of our behaviour, including in our marriage or intimate relationship. This is not about being selfish or is in any way wrong. Even when someone dedicates their life to the service to others, they are motivated primarily by their own need to feel good. They feel good about serving other people and devoting their life to others.
An intimate relationship or a marriage is the most powerful way that we as human beings have discovered to have our emotional needs met, as well as our physical needs of reproduction and survival. This is why we create relationships in the first place - first and foremost, it is to meet our own emotional needs. Again, this is not being selfish or immoral. It's a fact of biological survival. Because of this, if someone is not getting their emotional needs met, no matter what their situation but particularly in a marriage, then they're going, subconsciously and automatically, to look elsewhere. The first sign of this in a relationship is a waning of interest in the other person. It could be that the intimacy and the sex life might start to deteriorate. This is manifested in different ways for different people. It could be that they get more involved in their business or their career (especially true of men). One of the ultimate – and most damaging - ways in which someone expresses not getting their emotional needs met is by having an affair. Think about your own situation and be honest with yourself. Are you meeting your spouse’s needs? I'm not referring to their physical needs here. I'm not talking about how much money they have or whether they’ve got a comfortable place to live or whether they drive a nice car. I'm talking about their emotional needs. In other words, does your relationship with them make them feel great. And on the other hand, are they making you feel great?
Now, if your marriage is falling apart, I can guarantee that your answer to that question is “No”. Your emotional needs aren’t being met and certainly their emotional needs aren’t being met in your marriage in any satisfactory way. This is actually great news when you realize it to be the truth. That is because you really only have to do two things to save your marriage.
Step #1: Figure out what your spouse’s needs actually are (which will be different to what you think they are), and Step #2: Figure out how to meet those needs better than anyone else or anything else. Now you may be thinking at this point:
“What about my own needs? It's all very well for me to go and want to meet my spouse’s needs, but I've got needs as well. I'm not feeling good about the situation either! And if I'm just giving to them, how do I know I'm going to get anything back?” Curiously enough, if you focus on meeting your spouse's needs (and this needs to be done in the right way) you're going to find that your own needs will be met as well. This needs to be handled with care of course – and you need to do it in such a way as to make you feel resentful – but it is the approach that will do more to save your marriage than virtually anything else. Let's look closely at these two steps.
Step #1: Figure out what your spouse’s needs actually are. How do you actually uncover what your spouse’s true needs are? In a relationship and on a very basic level for all human beings, your spouse is looking to you or to your relationship for one fundamental thing, and that is deep and unconditional love. In other words, people all want to feel deeply and truly loved and they want to know from you in a relationship that they are the most important person to you - that they are more important to you than anyone or anything else. Not only that, but that you love them unconditionally. That means loving them for who they really are, which is different from who you think they should be or what you'd like them to be. It's who they really are at a very deep level. Of course, the most difficult time to love someone unconditionally is when they are deeply hurting you! But you look at it from their point of view. If they want unconditional love (and with that non-judgement and lack of criticism), and they are not getting it from you, why would you expect them to want to stay? In addition to unconditional love, think about what other specific emotional needs your husband or wife might have. Whereas unconditional love is something we all want and need, other feelings are more specific and vary from person to person. Ask yourself: “What other feelings does my husband or wife want to have in their life?”
They could be feelings of adventure, with the excitement of experiencing and doing new things. On the other hand they could be feelings of security. Perhaps it's important to them to feel safe, peaceful and tranquil. It's very important that you identify the individual emotional feelings that your husband or wife most values. We actually do call these feelings “Values”. Now of course, some of these other emotional feelings can be met outside of your relationship, but the more you can meet them within your relationship as well, the better your marriage is going to be.
Step #2: Figure out how to meet those needs better than anyone else or anything else. After you have worked out what your spouse's emotional needs actually are, you need to figure out how you can meet those needs better than anyone or anything else. For this, you're going to need a plan. The way to do this is to ask yourself, “What could I do that I'm not doing now that could help meet
my partner’s emotional needs?” You need to be very honest with yourself here. This has nothing to do with how much effort you have been putting in to making your spouse happy and fulfilled or how much you want to. Are you succeeding? If you're not getting the results you want then you're simply not doing the right things. So you need to keep looking until you find what works.
If you're not sure on how to meet your spouse's needs, there's one place to look that will give you some strong clues: the early days of your relationship. The beginnings of a relationship reveal a great deal about how to make it work. That is for two reasons. Firstly, that was the time when your relationship was probably (it is for most people) going really well and both you and your spouse's emotional needs were being met. You were excited and they were excited about your relationship. You wanted to be together. It was probably a lot of fun. Secondly, there were almost certainly things that were happening then that aren’t happening now between the two of you. In fact, the reason that you are not getting the same happy results in your marriage that you did then, and the same feelings, is that you're not doing the same things. So think carefully about the early days of your relationship and ask yourself: “What was I doing then that made my partner feel good? ” Start to create a list of things and then ask yourself:
“How can I start to do some of these things again?” Start slowly. Begin to re-introduce some of these things into your marriage, things that you know made a big impact on your spouse and made them feel good emotionally. Start doing them again!
The real message I want to leave you with is that if you can meet your spouseâ€™s emotional needs better than anyone or anything else, then you're not really going to have any trouble saving your marriage. In fact, not only that, you're going to be able to take your marriage to a whole new level of intimacy and fulfillment. When our marriage is falling apart, we lose sight of the fact that our spouse just wants to be happy and feel good. Find out what makes them happy and meet their emotional needs and you will be well on your way.
About Liam Naden Is your relationship falling apart and you don't know what to do? Liam Naden can help you save your marriage today. As a relationships coach and the author of several best-selling books on marriage and intimacy, Liam has spent several years finding the answers to the question:
"What makes a marriage work and how can I get things back together if it falls apart?" Using a combination of cutting-edge psychology and behavioral science, Liam's approach is a powerful alternative to traditional therapy and counseling. It's designed to help couples heal the hurt in their relationships and regain the intimacy and richness they truly want. Many couples have saved their marriage with Liam's help. Let him help save yours today!
More Resources from Liam Naden Free Report: •
"The Five Keys to Saving Your Marriage Now"
Coaching Programs: •
Stop Your Divorce! How to Save Your Marriage When Your Spouse Doesn't Want To
Save Your Marriage Relationship Transformation
Books by Liam Naden
Bi-Weekly Podcast: •
Growing in Love for Life: Save and Strengthen Your Marriage