48% of first time marriages end in divorce. The 60 Day Challenge may be the answer.
- Lack of communication
- Financial difficulties
- Feeling constrained
- Trust issues
- Divided expectations
But are these "reasons" or are they merely outcomes of the root cause? To answer this question, it's important to understand the dynamics of a struggling marriage.
As a relationship coach, I view marriage as a union between two people in which each partner commits to meet the needs of the other partner.
Marriages begin to fall apart when a couple allows the daily stresses of life to get in the way of meeting the needs of the other person.
Over time, married couples become numb to fact that their needs are not being met. And so they become self-focused on themselves or on other things—like work, the kids, school activities, and anything else that helps them meet their needs in some manner.
When this happens, the meaning of the marriage is diminished.
We all know that marriage requires effort, but no one ever taught us what that really involves.
The truth is, marriage is about two people growing stronger together. It's about two people growing their love together. And it's about overcoming the challenges along the way to keep making progress together.
But if your marriage is heading towards divorce, what can you do to save it?
That's where the Sixty Day Challenge comes into play. In a nationwide survey I conducted (February 2015), 66% of those polled believe that the Sixty Day Challenge is an effective way to save a marriage from divorce. There are three simple steps:
1. Meet Your Partner's Needs:
In any relationship, constant arguing is a sure sign that each partner has become self-focused. They’re not trying to meet the needs of the other person.
To meet his (or her) needs, you must understand what his needs are. But regardless of what he says his needs (outcomes) are, the most important need of all people is respect.
How can you be present for him? How can you show him love?
At first, it may seem unfair that you're meeting his needs and he’s not meeting yours. But think of it this way—you're acting as the catalyst for changing the relationship, and that's a role of great strength and purpose.
2. Be Prepared For Challenges:
When you start meeting your partner's needs, he'll be surprised at first.
He might become suspicious about your new attitude. He might even start an argument over your loving behavior.
Resist the instinctive urge to fight back. Rather, reassure him that your actions are based on love.
Keep in mind that arguing is the human mind's unconscious method for testing a relationship. Our response determines if we pass the test or not.
Deliver your best response! The tests do lessen.
More importantly, you're helping your partner to rebuild trust in the relationship and to create new relationship habits.
3. Resist The Temptation To Give Up:
The Sixty Day Challenge may not be easy, but "giving up" is. Any worthwhile endeavor—like true love—is worth fighting for.
Tell yourself, "one more day." When you get through one more day, you become stronger than the previous day.
You’re growing in the process; the relationship is growing too. And before you know it, "one more day" becomes day sixty.
There are variations to this challenge. In practice, I might recommend a thirty day or ninety day timeframe, depending on the temperament of the couple.
What can you expect during the Sixty Day Challenge? Well, divide the timeframe for the challenge into three equal parts.
The first part is the toughest as you are both breaking old limiting relationship habits.
During the second part, the acceptance of new relationship habits starts to take root.
And in the third part, there's typically a major shift (or breakthrough) in which both partners acknowledge there's hope for a greater future together.
When you've completed the Sixty Day Challenge, ask yourself the following questions:
- How has our relationship improved?
- Are my partner and I ready to grow our marriage together?
- What do we need to do to make our love even stronger?
If necessary, repeat the challenge based on your lessons learned.
When two people drift apart in a marriage, it's because they're failing to meet each other's needs.
The Sixty Day Challenge is an opportunity to not only meet the needs of your partner, but ultimately to meet your own needs as well. Of course, a little faith helps too.
Are you up for the challenge?
Best of luck!