Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

Every marriage deserves the right to be saved before it is ultimately abandoned.

The true conundrum is both individuals must want to salvage the relationship. Sadly, it often is just one of the two people who are truly invested in caring enough to do so.

Therefore, it is important to make foundational changes that involve both spouses.

Imagine this…
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A business partnership is failing. Only one partner shows up each day and tries to run the entire operation on their own. The other partner has become silent. Showing up when it suits them. The partner that is 100% invested gets counseling and tries to save the business alone. Eventually, it is fruitless, even with counseling they can’t possibly be all things to a joint partnership.

Now imagine another approach…

A business partnership is failing. Only one partner shows up each day and tries to run the entire operation on their own. The other partner has become silent. Showing up when it suits them. The partner that is 100% invested realizes they can’t sustain their business and brand on this scale any longer. They are overworked, overburdened, frustrated and stressed. They understand they can’t change the silent partner. No amount of work on their part will compensate for a person who is no longer committed to the business.

Therefore, they make foundational changes to protect the business. They scale the business back to a place that will work for them and given them time to regain the strength of their brand. Their power no longer in the hands of a partner that either temporarily or permanently no longer cares. Their power is invested back into the core business rather than one aspect of it.

The same is true for failing relationships.

Initially, individuals look solely to the silent partner to save the relationship. However, ultimately, the better approach is to restore and reinforce the original foundation of any partnership. It gives the brand a chance to survive and thrive in a whole new manner rather than band-aid an operation which has gotten lost in day to day operations.
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The following are ways to restore the core brand of a marriage:

1. Faith – As soon as a relationship begins to flounder it is critical to evaluate the faith and values which it was founded upon. If going to church has become less of a priority, make sure it is a number one priority again. Make faith and values non-negotiable. Make all other things less important than remembering what comes first in the brand of your relationship. Faith is a core brand attribute. It is one of the most important reasons that relationships maintain their strength.

2. Family – The second step should be re-establishing the brand itself. The relationship and family time must be penciled in the calendar above all else. Great brands have ‘shelf-value.’ The aspects that set them apart from all other brands. An investment in time in the marriage is crucial and in the entire family. Plan more nights around the dinner table or out alone as a couple. Plan more weekends away as spouses and as an entire family. Make time for additional memories to strengthen the foundation of the brand of this unique relationship.

3. Pare Down – When a business is failing, it is imperative to concentrate on the original brand and what made it successful. Even if it means knocking other products and services from the line. To save a marriage the same wisdom holds true. Social engagements, work engagements and generally time with others should become a low priority. After all, just as one product won’t survive if others aren’t taken away, there will be no couples social time and family friends if the marriage is one day dissolved. Time with others is irrelevant when the marriage is troubled. The time is better spent on individual, spouse and family growth. Once the foundation of the relationship is resolved, you can re-emerge and enjoy others even more. This also pertains to volunteering, activities, etc.

4. Counseling – Counseling is essential. A business would hire a marketing consultant to be able to determine where things went wrong, so should a couple. The dilemma is will both partners attend counseling? If both are unwilling than at least one should make the foundational changes above non-negotiable and begin counseling on their own. Remember the business word problem above…You can’t force a silent partner to care. However, one thing is certain. If you do not stay strong and true to the brand yourself, it is a given the business will end. At least under these circumstances, you have increased the likelihood of success and your partner may become interested again. Additionally, you have protected yourself as an individual and a family, staying emotionally and foundationally strong while the outcome of the business is determined.

5. Brand Operations – Stay true to all aspects of your brand and what your marriage and family are about. This means that while you transition back to when your brand was once successful, let go of things which you have accumulated along the way. Businesses seldom fail for lack of customers, they typically fail because an entrepreneur refuses to adjust their original vision. They do not want to listen to the customer. They want to tell the customer what they want. Thus, they get lost in the day to day operations of trying to fix something that is broken rather than alter their focus and operations. What is complicating your day to day operations? Do you need to clean out your house, get rid of a car that keeps breaking down, simplify dinners, lose negative personnel (friends and family who are not supportive), etc.

6. Promote Your Brand – Take a look around your house. When was the last time that you updated family photos? Frame a few more. Put them front and center on your kitchen counter and not in the living room you barely use. Keep things that you enjoy to do as a couple and a family front and center. If you enjoy cooking together, leave the cookbooks out as a reminder to do things which promote the strength and value of your brand.

7. The Original Brand – Couples need to remember that the brand began with them. It is not selfish to concentrate on this foundational aspect but rather imperative. The family is only as strong as the two people that built it. Sift through old photos and letters and other memories and take them out of the boxes. Blow up a picture of both of you younger and put it in a frame beside your bed. Frame a love letter and put it in your office. Anything that reminds you of how strong your original brand was.

If a marriage is failing and rebuilt with the strength of the once successful foundation it began with, it has a substantially greater risk of success.

At the very least, it is no longer one partner exhausted by the silent partner. One partner now has the power to make changes that affect the business themselves. If the silent partner resists and continues to refuse even foundational reinforcements, such as church, more couple and family time, fewer social and work engagements, etc. then the most the other partner can do is continue to focus on the brand.

With time, it will become clear if the partnership is worth saving. Anyone who has ever walked away from a relationship in favor of divorce realizes it has become the only viable option.

At the very least, with this approach, a spouse has done the smart work of investing and protecting themselves and their children rather than give that investment to a silent partner that never came around.

(Photos courtesy of Pexels)
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