Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


When Your Think Your Marriage is Over, Think Again!

posted by Linda Mintle

Sarah and John were at a family dinner. During a trip to the restroom, John pulled Sarah aside and said, “I’m done. No more of this. I want out of this marriage. ” Sarah, stunned and speechless, wondered what prompted such a big decision. She, like many spouses, was unhappy in the marriage but had not gone to counseling.

According to the Gottman Institute, unhappy couples wait an average of six years to get help. And the wait doesn’t usually make things better. But should this couple divorce over their unhappiness?

Not until they’ve tried a few things first.

One of those things is something rather new called “discernment counseling.” Developed by veteran marriage therapist, Bill Doherty, at the University of Minnesota, discernment counseling aims to help couples decide if divorce is really the next step. The idea came to him after talking to a family court judge who told him that many couples he saw in court handled their divorces so well that he couldn’t really understand why they were divorcing. Doherty figured that the judge was on to something. A reconciliation service may play a role in helping couples stay together.

In typical couple therapy, one spouse usually wants out while the other wants in. Doherty built his model of help around this dynamic. He processes with couples what is good about the marriage and how they arrived at this point of contention. He also asks what they have done to try and save the marriage.

Three options are suggested: 1) Keep things as they are 2) Try a 6 month reconciliation with marriage therapy or 3) Divorce. So far, 25 couples have gone through his process with 40% choosing the reconciliation option. The rest are considering their options or pursuing divorce. Basically, Doherty is offering a service for high risk couples, giving them time and space to really talk about what went wrong, decide if the wrong can be repaired, and discuss their willingness to try options before declaring divorce is inevitable.

Because marriage is a sacred covenant, the idea of slowing high-risk couples down, and allowing them time to process their most important relationship, seems like a great idea to me. Regardless of the outcome, couples owe it to each other to think through their relationship and try to repair it. This process takes time. During that time, some may find that there is reason to salvage the marriage.



Previous Posts

Waiting: The Trying of Patience
Flying is no picnic these days. I dreaded the two-stop flight I recently took and for good reason. I was delayed on each leg. Fortunately, I had long lay overs and didn't miss connections, but several people on my flights did and found themselves waiting in airports for hours. What should have been

posted 7:27:31am Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Loving Your Body, Imperfections and All!
Is it so difficult to accept the bodies we’ve been given, to celebrate them as uniquely designed by God and created in His image? Apparently. Loving, even liking, your body is a rare thing in today’s culture. It seems we all belong to the sisterhood of the dissatisfied traveling pants! If we

posted 6:00:33am Oct. 16, 2014 | read full post »

What Type of Decision Maker are You?
Last week, I was going out of town for the weekend. I spent hours going over my wardrobe choices. What if it rains, gets cold, I want something more formal, etc.? My husband opened his suitcase, threw in a few outfits and was done with it. No looking back, waffling or hanging in the air with poss

posted 6:00:55am Oct. 14, 2014 | read full post »

5 Coaching Tips to Improve Adult Mother-Daughter Relations
Mandy was at the end of her rope with her mom when she called me for coaching. Every conversation ended with frustration. Why couldn’t the two of them get along better? Why did her mom constantly criticize her and tell her what to do? But Mandy’s biggest concern was how could she handle her mom

posted 6:00:18am Oct. 13, 2014 | read full post »

Why Our Wants May Not Turn Out to Be Our Likes
When our first dog died, we thought we wanted another. We did, but when we got the dog and our schedules all demanded more time, the dog became more of an imposition. Don’t get me wrong, we love her to pieces, but sometimes our happiness goes out the window when we are all trying to figure out how

posted 6:00:09am Oct. 09, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.