Tag Archives: spouse wants out

When My Spouse Can’t Give Me What I Need

We all have to do it.

At some point in our marriages, we must come to terms with one simple fact: “I want ————– and my spouse isn’t capable of giving it.”

Fill in the blank with anything: emotional intimacy, exciting sex, intellectual partnership – even something mundane like a more organized garage! Whatever it is, at some point it becomes obvious that this missing piece won’t be something we can realistically expect from our spouse. Ever.

The missing piece

The yearning for these missing pieces usually comes at a time when we feel stuck in our relationship. We’re wanting something more or something different and we zero in on a certain aspect of the relationship as THE missing piece. The missing piece is usually something we didn’t realize we needed during the “honeymoon phase” of our relationship. But as the honeymoon wore off and we weren’t quite as blinded by the love, we began to identify more of our wishes and wants in the relationship. And now, this missing piece? We really need it, and by golly we’re going to make sure our spouse knows we expect them to deliver it.

Over and over we revisit this issue. It becomes a focal point in many of our discussions. Our arguments. And the crazy thing is, sometimes our spouse even accepts that they need to provide this missing piece. And they try. But delivering it – at least not consistently – is just not in them.

My husband

For example, let’s talk about my husband. Bless this man! He continues to be so generous about letting me share aspects of our personal relationship with the rest of the world.

This man has many natural gifts and I love him dearly. But keeping it real, juggling multiple tasks well is not one of those gifts.

This was, and often still is, an important thing to me. It irks me to no end when something falls through the cracks. I’ll come home tired and wanting nothing more than to turn my brain off, to discover that he forgot to make an important phone call, or pay a bill, or help one of our kids with a project.

My wonderful partner has acknowledged this missing piece often, and he has attempted to fill it in. Over and over again. But truthfully, it really hasn’t improved much, even after many years of marriage. It’s still a missing piece for me.

I grieve this. I often feel hurt by it. But it’s not going to change. So what do I do?

The marriage cycle of closeness, hurt, distance, repair

Here’s the reality: Marriage is a steady, ongoing cycle of closeness, hurt, distance and repair.

We initially feel close to our spouse, then something happens that creates disappointment or hurt feelings. Then we put distance between ourselves in an attempt to make the pain go away.

''Our society doesn't know how to deal with natural marriage cycle of closeness, hurt,distance and repair.''. Click To Tweet

We initially feel close to our spouse, then something happens that creates disappointment or hurt feelings. Then we put distance between ourselves in an attempt to make the pain go away.

Dealing with disappointment

Our society doesn’t know how to deal with disappointment and hurt in marriage. To most people, this cycle means it must be a bad marriage. If I’m getting hurt, and if I feel like my spouse and I aren’t as close anymore, then our marriage must be on the rocks.

But this is normal relationship. Please hear me on this. There is always pain in true relationship. Marriage basically means giving your heart to someone else. Inevitably, they won’t treat it as carefully as they should, and it will get hurt.

We must feel the hurt. We must experience the distance. Then we must work together to repair the relationship, from a place of honest commitment to one another. As we do the work, we’ll find a new, deeper level of closeness. That’s where the true richness of the relationship will be found.

That’s where we become close again, in a deeper way.

A relationship a-ha moment

When you realize that your spouse is in some way a disappointment to you, you are forced to take stock. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my marriage worth the grieving I need to do to come to terms with the disappointment?
  • Am I getting enough from my relationship to keep from being bitter about what I’m not getting?
  • Will my disappointment be the focus of my marriage?

If you concentrate on what you are not getting, I guarantee discontent, anger and bitterness will be knocking on your doorstep, ready to take up permanent residence.

Your other option of course, is to decide the positive things you take from your marriage far outweigh the value of the missing piece, making the struggle to live without it, more than worth it.

In my case, that’s what I did. Would I choose to have to handle far fewer things myself? Absolutely. But when I look past the disappointment, I realize I get so much more from my marriage. I get a man who loves me without limits. A husband who is forgiving and kind, gracious and generous. And I choose that.

If you are struggling to prioritize the missing piece in your relationship, consider giving us a call or scheduling an appointment online. We can help you figure out where you are in the marriage cycle right now, and what your next steps could be.

Learn More

Friendship in Marriage: The Recipe for Reconnection

A post from Dan UmphressReconnect with your spouse: Friendship in Marriage TMP

In my work as a Marriage Coach, I talk every week with people who have heard from their spouse some variation of “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore. I want a divorce.”  

I am not writing to address the pain and shock of hearing these words.  I’ve been there myself and I understand the trauma those words can bring.  

May I suggest that the “I love you, but…” phrase can actually represent an opportunity to reconnect?

I always talk to my coaching clients about this idea:

“Yes, we do need a divorce.  We need to divorce our old marriage, not each other.”  

Marriages often get lost in the journey of life.  

Young couples get so engaged in parenting that they lose their connection as a couple.  

Men trust in the old model of marriage that tells them it is enough to be the provider and patriarch of the family, causing them to fail to understand the foundation of marriage is intimacy (and I don’t mean sex).  

Women often put all their energy and focus into raising the children.  It sounds noble, but putting the kids before the marriage is only hurting everyone involved. The best gift we can give our kids is a great marriage. Click To Tweet

These are some of the reasons I hear weekly to justify divorce:

  • Couples reach a crisis in life when they come to believe that time is running out and they haven’t found fulfillment in life or in their marriage, and so they need to divorce to seek happiness.  
  • Couples lose emotional connection with each other and seek to meet that need outside of the marriage.
  • Men get complacent in “Companionship Marriages,” and they don’t realize their wives are starving for emotional connection until they make the shocking announcement they are leaving.

These are, in my opinion, not reasons to end a marriage.  They are obvious indications that the marital relationship needs to be repaired.  

Contact Us

Marriage repair begins with reconnection.  

The couple who has drifted apart and must come back together with the mutual goal of “divorcing the old marriage” and building a new relationship based upon relational health and the use of new relational skills.  

I believe marriage rebuilding often begins with friendship.

I have talked to hundreds of couples over my professional life, and I’ve observed many of the happiest couples began as friends.  

I’ve often heard, “We began as friends with no thought of being a couple.  As our friendship grew, we became closer.  We became best friends. Then the day came when we looked at each other with the surprise of finding that we had romantic feelings for each other.”  

These are some of the marriages that I believe have the highest probability of surviving the trials of marital life.  

I think this can be the key to saving troubled marriages.

What is the foundation of early friendship?

It’s mutual interests and the enjoyment of each other’s company.  

We enjoy our conversations and we have some laughs together.  

We are equals in the friendship.  

We do not attempt to exert control over each other.  

We do not smother each other or require our friend to give us all of their time and attention.  

We have parts of our lives that are independent from each other.  

We are not dependent upon each other for self-esteem or meaning in our life.  

We choose to spend time together because we enjoy it.

The recipe for re-connection in marriage

Are you your partner’s best friend?  

Are you the person they can come to with their fears, hurts, successes, dreams, hopes, opinions and beliefs, with confidence they will be safe in the sharing of these intimate things?  

Do you listen and accept without judgement and without telling them how to fix their problems?  

Are you an emotionally safe friend?

We can take broken marriages and put them back together in a form that is so much better than the marriage that preceded the announcement that “It’s over!”

Is it possible that your marriage needs to start over with friendship?  

If your spouse is telling you the marriage is over; your best hope for saving the marriage may be to enter the Friend Zone.  Go back to being your partner’s friend and work on the goal of “dating your wife/husband” This is a hard transition to make for most people.  

Contact us today online, or call (972) 441-4432 to help you reconnect with your spouse and bring friendship back to your marriage.

Learn More