Now there are two kinds of divorce that happen, sort of at the same time. One is the legal divorce, and the other one is the emotional divorce.
We get the two confused.
We think we’re going to stop the emotional divorce by stopping the legal divorce. The more you try to stop the legal side of divorce, the more rebellious he or she feels.
The more you use pressure, the less they see your inner beauty and your charm.
Everybody thinks, professionals and non-professionals alike, they say to have a happy marriage or a happy relationship, you have to work at it.
But I say that it’s the working that makes it not work.
Again, I find support for this in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. He says, “Consider the lilies of the field. They toil not, neither do they spin. Yet, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
When you criticize, you’re working at improving your mate.
When you complain to your lover, you’re working at improving him or her.
When you argue, you’re working at improving them.
When you try to reason with them.
When you tell them how much you love them.
Both when you’re reasoning and when you’re telling them how much you love them, you are trying to change them. You are working at changing them. And it’s that working at changing them, that is the only problem.
Proof? You want proof?
Stop all of that, and watch the relationship get better.
Stop all of that working. Allow and accept, one hundred percent, whatever your mate thinks, feels, or does is perfectly okay.
It’s perfectly okay.
And watch them improve themselves.
Their negative feelings towards you will weaken rapidly, because their negative feeling needs something in you to fight with. And when you sincerely see what’s on their side, when you sincerely agree with them, and when you lovingly and sincerely go one hundred percent totally, instantly, and happily your mate’s way, when you do that there’s nothing for their negative feeling to build on.
You have put the white flag up.
You’ve thrown your gun down.
That forces them to do the same thing. They cannot shoot you when you have no gun. When you’re not defending yourself, THEY want to defend you.
It’s not normal to not defend yourself, but it is healthy.
It’s not normal, it’s not natural to not defend yourself.
Now, the idea of defending yourself is a fantastic idea. It’s a great idea. It’s a healthy idea. But when we tell the other person that they are wrong and we are right, and we pressure them, they become more negative and more hostile.
So we’re not really defending ourselves. We’re giving them a stick that they always hit us with. And our giving them a stick that they always hit us with is not defending ourselves.
We call it defensive, because that’s what we think we’re doing. The way to defend yourself that works is to defend your mate or lover.
Agree with them.
Do not disagree at all.
It’s not to your advantage.
It’s a dumb thing to do.
Now, I’ve seen these ideas work in my own marriage, and in hundreds and hundreds of other people’s lives. I’m 76 and my wife is 56. We’ve been married 30 years.
She made better grades than any student ever has in the whole history of Our Lady of the Lake University, here in San Antonio. She’s gorgeous, she’s sweet, she’s a fifth-grade school teacher. She’s made “Who’s Who” among American school teachers. Everybody falls in love with her.
We’ve had rare, but sometimes serious problems.
Immediately, I follow these principles. She loses her negative feelings right away, or within an hour or two.
These ideas always work.
You see, they’re not natural because our feelings are spoiled brats. They want to choose the goal and they want to choose the methods. We want to go to London, England, and we want to go by horseback.
Well, you can’t go to London, England by horseback.
You’ve got to let your head choose something.
Let your head choose the goal, so your feelings say, “I love this person and I want back with them.” This is what your feelings are saying.
“Okay,” your head says, “then you’ve got to do these things. You’ve got to agree and stop criticizing – cheerfully, happily – accept whatever your mate wants.”
“But I feel I would lose.”
There you go. The feelings want to choose everything. And the feelings, this time, are wrong. You lose with this method.
Your relationship will improve when you stop working at changing your mate and warmly allow your mate to be whomever they are.
If they want to be cold, it’s perfectly okay.
They want to be hostile, they want to think that you’re guilty of something that you’re not, it’s perfectly okay.
It’s perfectly okay.
It’s only a preference that I get her or him back, or that they be more loving. It’s not a need. The more that you think of it as a need, you’re not going to get it.
If it’s only a preference, you have a lot of power there.
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