Jan 152014 6 Responses

This Is Holding Your Marriage Back

In his book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith proposes that many executives make the mistake of believing the skills which allowed them to rise through the corporate ranks will be the same skills which get them to the next level of leadership. He confronts this idea with the simple reminder that what gets a leader promoted to one position will not be what is needed to get to the next level—what got you here won’t get you there.

The same mistake leaders make in business, individuals make in marriage. We foolishly believe that what we did in the past will sustain our marriage in the future. It’s a tragic mistake. As Goldsmith would say, “What got you here won’t get you there.”

A couple comes into my office. The wife is done. She’s had enough. In her eyes, she has put up with him for too long. He hasn’t seen her hurting heart. He hasn’t noticed her lack of joy. He hasn’t noticed The Warning Sign of a Bad Marriage You Might Miss.

She is done, but he’s confused. He doesn’t understand what has suddenly changed. For him, life is the way it has always been. While he knows she’s not always happy, he doesn’t understand why today is so different from last week or last year.

“She’s changed,” he says.couple-holding-hands-posters I nod in agreement.

“I haven’t,” he says. I nod in agreement.

He believes the problem is her; he doesn’t see his own failures. He has failed to realize “What got you here won’t get you there.”

Couples often see change as the cause of marital problems when in reality it is the preventive cure of marital problems. Change is a necessary ingredient for a healthy marriage. If your marriage isn’t changing, it’s dying.

When a spouse (usually the man) says, “I haven’t changed.” I ask, “Why not? Why haven’t you grown, learned, explored, discovered and repented of sin, formed new habits, gotten better? Why haven’t you changed?”

My Spouse Deserves a Better Spouse

My wife is a gift. She is not someone I deserve; she is someone who was given to me. This is Why We Should Still Give the Bride Away as a reminder of what she is.

One thing she deserves is for me to be the best person I can be. Clearly I can’t be perfect, but I can always be improving. Because of this, I must always be changing. And so should she. If either of us stay the way we have always been, one of us will leave the other behind. Part of the fun of marriage is to change together. We are both in a process of maturity—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Failing to change is failing to be the husband or wife your spouse deserves.

What’s Holding You Back

For some marriages, failing to change destroys the relationship. For others, a failure of change hinders the growth of the couple. As one changes and the other doesn’t, the couple loses their connection. Consider:

What communication skills have you learned in the past five years to improve your marriage?

What is a bad habit which you no longer possess?

What have you heard or read about marriage in the past year that makes you a better spouse?

How have you grown professionally in the past few years and what lessons can you apply to marriage?

How is this season of life better than previous seasons?

How is your sex life better today than last year? 5 years ago? 10 years ago?

On a regular basis, I stand before a couple and listen as they repeat marriage vows to one another—”…to have and to hold, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health.” Imagine how sad it would be if ten years from their wedding day the couple showed up unchanged—having learned nothing, grown in no way, having not matured. It wouldn’t be the sign of a great marriage; it would be the sign of failure. Marriage depends on change.

No matter how great your marriage, whatever got you to the place that you currently are, will not get you where you want to go next. Only if you learn, grow, and change will your marriage improve. (Start here: My 5 Favorite Books each can be applied to marriage.) It’s true in business and marriage: “What got you here won’t get you there.”

6 Responses to This Is Holding Your Marriage Back
  1. […] Silence is an often overlooked indicator of a bad marriage. Listen to your marriage this week. Are y... kevinathompson.com/the-warning-sign-of-a-bad-marriage-you-might-miss
  2. […] Other couples go through a season where the love feels lost and they come to the understanding their... kevinathompson.com/how-to-stay-in-love-til-death

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