What To Do When Your Marriage Feels Utterly Hopeless

Photo: getty
What To Do When Your Marriage Feels Utterly Hopeless

You may have a hundred reasons to leave your marriage, but I have one reason you should stay. At least, until you understand what it was that attracted you to him enough to hand over full power and authority for your happiness.

Until you know this, you will never be fully free or happy. Does this marriage advice sound a little harsh? Well, experience tells me it is very fair.

I have seen too many women throwing their hands up, leaving the tea towel on the kitchen table, and heading for pastures new only to realize that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Or, worse still, they are scared to walk barefoot on the grass for fear of being bitten once again.

RELATED: 7 Ways To Save A Boring Marriage Before It's Too Late

I am all for a happy ending, and that is yours for the taking when you are ready to take responsibility for your happiness and lean into the idea that every decision you have ever made has brought you to where you are today. So leave, by all means, but only after you have learned how to save your marriage and make yourself happy from the inside out.

Only after you realize it isn’t your husband's job to keep you happy.

Only after you are prepared to admit that a marriage takes two to make it or break it.

Only after you know exactly what unhealthy habits and beliefs you brought to the marital table.

Only after you have learned the truth — that only you can make you happy.

Only after you have worked out what it will take for you to be happy.

Only after you have taken a journey inwards and become as well acquainted with yourself as you are with all your husband's faults.

The state of your marriage says as much about you as it does about your husband. It seems easier to pick fault with your one-time Prince Charming than to face this one simple truth. You probably already know this to be the case, which is why it is so difficult for you to admit that there are problems.

This is where you find the golden nuggets which you will later use to re-ignite your love life (with or without your current partner) and create the firm foundations for a life you love. Certainly, you may well leave before you have gone through this process of self-recognition and you may well find happiness in the next man you meet, and the next and the next.

But freedom and true happiness will never be yours until you have become sufficiently acquainted with yourself to know how to make yourself happy and how to lose the reliance on outside influences — people or material goods — to dictate your happiness.

When my clients say, "I am feeling hopeless about my marriage" and ask me what they should do, my answer is: "Do nothing. Absolutely nothing for the moment." Knowing how to save your marriage means to stop doing what you are doing. Put your relationship and your partner to one side for the moment and concentrate on you.

We create our own happiness and then we go about attracting people into our lives at that level. So if we have low expectations, guess what? We aren’t going be inundated by offers from well-adjusted, well-positioned, healthy, loving individuals.

RELATED: 3 Steps To Save Your Relationship When You've Drifted Too Far Apart

So if we believe we are unworthy, unlovable, or we believe that it's dangerous to give our trust to a man, then we will attract someone who has matching beliefs or fears.

You have set the bar and only people who are at the same level are attracted by it. So before throwing in the towel and taking your chances out there in the big bad dating world, why not work out how to raise your bar to a level where it hits own happiness levels and see if your husband is willing to meet you there?

I’m asked by my wide-eyed and curious clients, "What will that take?"

"Simple," I say. "It will take becoming the empowered women you were always supposed to be."

It will take becoming so irresistibly attractive to your partner that he will be desperate to reach the bar. It will take making a decision to turn your attention inwards and working on one question: "Why did I so easily give the power over my happiness away?"

This question allows you to start building a relationship with yourself and getting to know all those beliefs, thoughts, and values which led you to where you are today — lonelier than you ever felt possible while married to the guy who once upon a time made your heart somersault. So if you are feeling hopeless about your marriage, put the pointy finger of blame away (but not before noticing where the other three fingers are aiming. Yes, straight back at you).

Here is the simple truth: your husband wants to be happy, he wants you to be happy, he even wants to make you happy. But he isn’t 100 percent responsible for your happiness or even the success of your marriage.

If you are unhappy, I can assure you he is too. He is probably sick of feeling defensive and is beginning to wonder if there isn’t a better option than the one he currently has.

He wants to love and be loved. So do yourself, your husband, and your marriage a favor and work out how to let him love you without handing him the power to make you happy. He doesn't want that. He wants an equal partnership.

Remember, he isn’t your enemy. That is just your mind protecting you, so take a moment to remember the guy you fell in love with in all his gorgeous glory, put him to the side for the moment and turn your attention to falling in love with yourself one glorious step at a time.

RELATED: 21 Small (But Crucial) Pieces Of Marriage Advice I've Learned After 10 Years Of Marriage

Allison Reiner is a Personal Development Coach, Mentor, and Speaker. Join Allison's Facebook community, a support network for people who are ready to reignite their love but don’t know how to.