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Articles by Dr. Greg Smalley

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Dr. Greg Smalley

Dr. Smalley also helps lead marriage seminars around the world and helps train pastors, professionals and lay leaders how to effectively work with married couples. read bio

Winning Your Husband Back

When remodeling a house, things like poor weather, insufficient funds, and the lack of a plan can interfere with successful completion. Likewise, there are three negative issues that can hinder the journey toward winning back your husband.

1)    Being too needy or dependent.

Author Stephen Covey uses the word interdependent. This word simply means that a person is neither too dependent on nor too independent of another person. Interdependent, instead, is the balance point between these two extremes. We often refer to individuals as being dependent on their mate as one cause of marital problems. But marital difficulties arise when someone functions too independently of his or her mate as well. Both extremes can lead a couple to the same point: relational misery.

But let us focus on the dependent side of the continuum at this point. When a person    becomes overly dependent on his or her mate, it can often lead to the other person feeling overwhelmed, leeched onto, fatigued, or confined. We heard one husband describe his wife's dependency as feeling like "a scuba diver with my own air tank, she continually grabs the emergency mouth piece from my tank to breathe. The problem is my air tank has only enough air to support me. She is literally sucking the life out of me. I feel like I have to swim away just to survive."

2) Blaming factors outside the marriage for failure in your marriage.

Our friend Dr. Gray Oliver remarked, "The problem with the blame response is that it robs us of the opportunity to identify and take responsibility for our part of the problem. If we miss that step, we're also going to miss what God wants to teach us. And if we allow that to happen, we've really failed. We've turned the situation into a double loss."

Blaming your in-laws, another woman, your husband's job, or other factors for your marriage's failures only increases distance between you and your husband. Blame actually paralyzes you from taking responsible actions to win your husband back. The key to overcoming blame is to take ownership. Own the parts of the failures or problems for which you are responsible. Take your focus off other things and people and put it on yourself.

Let's return to our home renovation analogy. If we are remodeling the kitchen, we cannot focus on fixing all the problems in the den and hope to get anywhere in the kitchen. If we start worrying about the den every time we start working in the kitchen, we will never get the kitchen remodeled. Likewise, focusing on your husband, other people, or other situations does not help you change.

Your husband may be violating your boundaries, but you may have never set the boundaries in the first place. So you blame him for invasion, but he fails to understand what he has done wrong. You become unhappy with him because you have chosen to be unhappy, not because he intends to cross your boundaries and hurt you. Yes, he may be doing and saying many hurtful things in the marriage. But you cannot change him-you can only change yourself.

The issue is blame versus ownership. Will you own the part of the problem that is yours or will you sidestep responsibility and blame others for your failures in marriage?

3)    Letting the way your parents raised you determine how you relate to your husband.

Your parents may have given you one set of role models for husbands and wives while your husband grew up with a completely different set of role models. How your parents emotionally and physically treated you as a child deeply affects how you treat others, especially your mate.

If your parents were abusive to one another or to you, you will have a tendency to be abusive to your spouse and children. One of the main reasons why adult parents tend to "parent" as their own parents did is because the deep anger can be transferred from one generation to another. It's longstanding anger that makes us behave in abusive ways. Likewise, if your parents were affectionate and affirming to one another and you, then you will have a positive role model for how to treat your husband and children.

You are not trapped by the way you were raised. The past does not determine your future.

Used with permission from the book, Winning Your Husband Back Before It's Too Late by Dr. Gary Smalley.

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