The Truth About Monogamy, Divorce, And How To Build A Successful Marriage

The Core Philosophy & Psychology Needed To Turn Your Marriage Around

Do you ever think you’re weird because you struggle sometimes in your marriage?

Ever feel shame that you don’t have what you want in your relationship?

Ever hide because you don’t want others to know how much you are struggling?

Ever raised your voice or hurt your child?

I hear you.

Everyone around you struggles in marriage, with or without kids.

But you wouldn’t know it because most people feel bad about their struggle, so they hide it.

I’m sure you can relate.

I have yet to meet a couple that were not challenged to some degree.

As a marriage coach and relationship specialist, I work with this all day, every day.

If you are married, or you are going to get married, it’s important to read this thoroughly.

It will help you be more realistic and set your relationship up for success.

If you are smart, you’ve probably noticed how the media and your culture inundate you with misinformation about how relationships are supposed to be.

For example, you might still think that when you find the one all will be well and you will be completed by them.

Or maybe some of you think a “conscious” relationship means that you somehow transcend your issues, triggers, and neurosis.

Not so much…

I tried that one…

When you finally do commit to a long-term relationship and the warm fuzzies of the honeymoon stage wear off after six months or a year or two, you finally get to the goods of a REAL relationship.

One of the first things you discover is that relationship is challenging.

You think…“I’m not so sure about this monogamy stuff. The literature is reflecting its limitations….Hmmm..,” you wonder.

You struggle, blame, judge, and even hate. You have thoughts of divorce…

“Monogamy makes no sense, at least with this person” you declare.

You shut down, you distance, you run away.

You do and say mean things or you just freeze in fear.

If you are paying attention, you’ll notice you do all the things that you did as a child, (but probably don’t remember) or you act like our parents—the thing you’d swore you’d never do.

Here’s where it gets interesting…

Because you purchased an outdated marriage philosophy that suggests marriage is supposed to feel good most of the time, you start to suffer.

Why?

As I just stated….and it bears repeating, many times…

Because your fantasy of what you thought relationship was supposed to be, doesn’t match your lived experience of the real relationship you are in now.

Hmmm. This is a bit of a quandary…

You start to look elsewhere and wonder if the grass is greener with your X, or that new person you just met, or your co-worker….

If it weren’t for the social stigma and your internal feelings of being a failure, divorce wouldn’t sound too bad.

If you are smart, you discover that a marriage is full of pleasure yes, but that it is also full of pain. It’s not just happy, but it’s sad. It’s not just blissful, it’s depressing. You don’t just experience warm fuzzies, you also experience cold iciness, rage, and deafening silence.

In other words, you begin to see that marriage, like night and day, has two sides, dark and light, challenge and support.

And when you judge yourself against the one-sided marriage paradigm that was sold to you, you suffer.

“What is wrong with me? Why is everybody else happy but me?”

You compare.

You feel like a victim.

You feel anger, shame, guilt, and other feelings you can’t quite describe (you just know they feel bad).

You get depressed thinking that perhaps you made a mistake or something is wrong with you. Or, you blame your spouse and hold them accountable for your pain, because that’s the only thing that makes sense, which is also depressing.

“Maybe there’s something wrong with me?”

or

“There’s definitely something wrong with the person I’m with.”

Some of you might feel alone and struggle to tell anyone about what’s really going on, perhaps because you don’t know how to talk about it or you don’t have anyone you can open up to in vulnerable way. You might not have “those types” of friends.

And, even if you did have friends that would accept you in your funk as you fumble through your marriage, your culture trained you to hide your relationship struggles and marriage problems.

So, what do you do?

Hide of course. You put on your upbeat face and continue hiding. You unconsciously embrace the game everyone plays in this culture to be a half-version of you.

This doesn’t feel good. It’s not supposed to.

Yet when it’s quiet and no one’s looking, you might be courageous enough to look in the mirror and acknowledge that you are in pain, that you don’t know how to get through it, and that you are in unknown territory.

You might take the next step and admit you can’t do it alone, so you finally start googling marriage problems.

You read a little and eventually you get to a point where you need a human being to talk to.

So, you reach out to someone for help.

You might first talk to a close friend, a pastor, a therapist, or your parents to get their council. But often what you receive is not what you need. The most common response you can get is advice, problem solving and fixing—all well intentioned with the agenda of getting you back to “normal,” which translates into getting you back to your happy place.

Other people aren’t comfortable when you’re struggling.

They have no idea how to truly help you, mostly because secretly, they are in the same boat, but in denial.

This lack of validating your experience has you feeling more alone and even stupid.

Remember, other people don’t want you to suffer. Your suffering makes them uncomfortable.

So, if you are not careful and you want their approval/acceptance, you might abandon your true feelings and take their advice and try to get back to being happy again.

Of course, this doesn’t work at all.

Meanwhile under your mask, your suffering ensues.

Next, if you are religious or spiritual, you may look to our texts and self-help books to support you. You might even pray to God to make your suffering go away. You might even meditate and try to psuedo-embrace your pain all the while secretly wanting it to go away.

You feel hurt, frustrated, alone, and maybe a little crazy or stupid.

Your self-doubt increases…

Yikes!

This entire process is very common, normal, and I see it every day.how to have a successful marriage

So, know you are not alone.

Really, you’re not.

I’m going to guess that every single human being struggles with relationship, especially intimate relationships like marriage.

Monogamy is a tight container…

…claustrophobic at times, right?

Why is this?

Think about your family…

…you spend that long, like 18 years for most of us, with someone, it’s going to grate on you…especially if…

…you have no relationship tools to address all the intense shit that comes up in a family (at least families that are being honest).

In my experience as a relationship guide, people finally get into a marriage and have no idea what’s at stake and no idea how to proceed. It’s like being lost in a thick forest in a far away place with no map.

Add kids to the mix, years of financial stress, miscommunication, less and less sex, and an inability to do real conflict, and now you have a recipe for affairs, divorce and a stuck marriage.

If you are honest, you finally start to admit you have few to no skills in the long-term relationship department.

I had convinced I was pretty good at relationship since I had so many friends and women that wanted to date me. 

But it turns out, after 7 failed relationships, I didn’t know much about intimacy…

…until I finally got help…

So, if you are like I was, you are hurting…

And, you think you can somehow figure it out on your own…

The feelings you bottled up or tried to hide, begin to leak out, sometimes as a slow drip, and other times as a raging mountain torrent.

Your “stuff” starts to spill out side-ways.

Because you probably feel afraid to take action one way or the other, so you stay frozen in inaction, unsure of how to proceed.

Meanwhile your body starts to bear the burden as you compartmentalize your pain and stress in silence, all the while you get sicker and sicker year after year.

What is going on here???

You are a normal person who is slowly inviting a crisis.

The more you see the patterns and are honest about the pain, the more you increase your odds of getting out of the entire mess in a proactive, strong way.

Or, you do nothing and beckon a crisis to come knocking…

The longer you avoid and deny, the greater the pain gets and the harder it is to overcome.

But let’s say you wise up and decide to risk being honest…

In fact, let’s say you start to face your relationship issues once and for all!

Eventually you start to see that you just learned what was modeled to you. You realize there was no relationship class in school. You, like everyone, just digested what was modeled to you by the grown ups.

So, here’s the deal…

When you don’t want to find out for yourself what a mature, adult marriage is all about and the wild, rigorous, enchanting, painful path it forces us to face, you will end up settling on a myriad of outdated and ineffective views given to you by your parents, culture, traditions or teachers.

And in doing so, you perpetually avoid the massive opportunity for healing and growth that is staring you in the face day in and day out for years on end in your marriage.

It’s such a set up for failure.

And, it’s not your fault (no really, it isn’t your fault).

Because when you bought the old marriage paradigm you were a kid.

It’s sort of like Santa Claus.

When you finally find out the fantasy of Santa Claus isn’t real, it hurts.

The same is true in your marriage.

The difference between your marriage and Santa Claus is that no one had the courage to tell you that your views on relationships are child-like fantasies.

So, you kept trying to succeed for years upon years using the old way of relating, what I call “relational ignorance.”

Relational Ignorance sets you up for a big huge buzz kill, and things like heart pain. And, when you choose to keep playing it this way, it’s supposed to suck, a lot.

So, the important point here is that you must see through the myth of marriage, the mirage of monogamy.

Marriage is not a destination where you find your soul mate and live happily ever after, folks.

That’s a fantasy….

Marriage….

Monogamy…

…well…it’s a path.Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 4.59.58 PM

Marriage is a long, windy path—sometimes steep and sometimes flat.

Marriage can be…

…a very intense path…

…a confronting path…

And monogamy is stifling at times…but it is…

…a path that leads us to our ultimate fulfillment…

…because we are not meant to live alone.

We are designed to partner…

And if you want to secure a solid, long-term relationship in order to not live alone or die alone…

Then you’ll need the very best equipment for the complicated road ahead.

You’ll need a proven system that works.

A system that takes out the guesswork and makes “complicated” make sense.

Tools that makes complicated relationship dynamics simple and straightforward.

Left to your own devices, you’ll keep repeating pattern after pattern with very dismal results.

Left to therapy, you’ll simply go in and vent about your marriage problems while the therapist gets paid to listen to you, while not offering a proven system that changes this for you for good.

So, if you want to have a great marriage that lasts, I’m providing you “gear” to make the awesome journey easier, less stressful, and more fulfilling.

Your gear has 4 foundational pillars you’ll need to put in place in order to get the marriage you want. Here they are:

  1. Map
  2. Compass
  3. Tools
  4. Fuel

If you want to change your relationship with your partner, or a future partner you may meet, it’s time to get real about it really takes to create, and sustain, a thriving partnership over time.

Now, before we dive into these four pillars, I want to invite you into a metaphor here…

…I see an intimate partnership as a vast wilderness journey around the world with a whole range of experiences. And when you first fall in love and decide to get married or make an exclusive commitment with just him, your child-like mind drifts to a happily ever after fairy-tale that all will be nothing but unicorns and roses. There will be magic and love and wonder.

But not too long into the journey you discover your fairy tale turns into a nightmare like a scene from Lord of The Rings and you’re fighting for your life against someone who may have turned on you. Can you trust him? Will he betray you? What happened to this grand adventure and why is it now so hard? Why am I acting so insecure and why is he acting the way he is?

It can be sobering to wake up out of a fantasy about what an intimate relationship is really like. When it starts getting hard, you might compare yourself to other people and think they must know something you don’t. You might feel even more insecure and he probably picks up on that.

But the truth is that intimate relationships are just plain hard. It is difficult to maintain a rocking marriage over many years. Few people actually do it, including your friends who may look happy on the outside but are really struggling behind that closed door.

It is essential to know that you finally make a bigger commitment to one person, as in the case of marriage, you are agreeing to treat them as the number one companion you have to make this journey in life. They are your travel partner, your ally. And you are theirs. You chose them, no one else. For better or worse, you have chosen to make this huge journey together across a landscape with far more challenges than you bargained for.  

So, given that the terrain is extremely unknown and within a few years, you’ll be completely in the dark about how to work with his triggers and yours, it is absolutely essential that you have a map.

Just like in the vast wilderness, a map will not only help you determine where to go, it will also keep you from getting lost.

In fact, you might be a little lost right now. Well, it’s quite possible you have no map, or the relationship map that was given to you is outdated or simply doesn’t work anymore. Gulp.

Okay so let’s review the 4 pillars necessary to build an indestructible foundation in your current or future relationship.

Pillar 1- Map

Having the proper map or context is essential. Ditching the outdated fantasy that pop culture sells you and trading it for a context that means in order to do partnership well, you’ll need to grow and develop yourself. You can learn to embrace that relationship is a path, not a destination, and that path is designed to help you become more true to yourself and each other.

Pillar 2- Compass

Every couple has a “direction” made up of two individuals that have enough shared values to make the crazy journey of long-term relationship in the most collaborative way possible, without betraying who you are. Both people must see how the shared direction is helping them get what they want individually.

Pillar 3- Tools

If you are going to make a commitment to share your life with someone, it’s best to have some street level tools that will help you communicate, laugh, and cry together. With rusty tools or no tools couples will frustrate over and over.

Pillar 4- Fuel

Without food and water, you won’t make it. The fuel is your home-base. Much like a shared water bottle or gas tank, whatever you do impacts your partner and visa versa. Therefore it’s essential to learn how to regulate each other’s emotional state through kindness.

In my own marriage, my wife and I “travel” our lives extremely well together. We have a shared map, a compass, shared tools, and plenty of good clean fuel to help us get where we want to go.

We consistently put in effort to understand each other, to listen, to care for each other with mutual love and respect. We don’t use sarcasm or make disparaging comments to each other or about each other with friends or family.

We take space away from the relationship so as to come back more resourced.

When we are overwhelmed, or scared, we hold each other through the challenging time.

When upset with our children, one of us can “tag out” and the other person steps in to take over.

We set goals together and run our family like a well-oiled business because that’s what it is.

We stay up late to process what we are individually going through in our lives and get up early to exercise and take turns with getting our kids ready for school and their day.

We collaborate in an ongoing way how to best raise our kids year after year.

We have really hard conversations when one of us is going through a personal crisis or obstacle and as one person’s values shift, the other person adjusts.

We don’t allow tension for days on end and both work to take 100% responsibility for what is getting triggered.

We do our own personal work to keep clearing out the projections that can get in the way of deeper intimacy.

We wrestle with our sexuality and the vulnerable dance that can occur many years into a marriage and work to learn about ourselves and each other’s shifting bodies and changing preferences and needs.

When we go home for the holidays we have each other’s backs going into our family dynamic.

We dream together and vision our lives. And on and on…

My relationship with my wife is a grand adventure.

Please remember the metaphor of traveling this crazy, wild world together.

Even if the two of you stay in one town your entire life, the biggest adventure you’ll make in your life is exploring who you are together and separately. If that’s true, then wouldn’t you want the best gear possible? I’m offering that to you here. Now, of course, if you want a deeper dive, you can always take a course from me or join The Relationship School™ community. Remember, like me, you didn’t learn this stuff in school and until you learn, relationship will be seen as a very rocky road.

Trust me, these foundational pillars will take your marriage to the next level and teach you how to live successfully inside the container of monogamy.

These pillars squash the onset of what could be a divorce.

These pillars invite you into a more authentic relationship that welcomes all of you, and your spouse.

Without an effective, proven system, your closest, most intimate relationships will continue to be one of the hardest parts of your life.

And, because deep down, you are some kind of warrior, you will someday choose to stop running.

…and instead face what you keep running from.

And when you do…

…your relationship life will reach new levels of joy, fulfillment and meaning.

You will triumph over your trauma.

Your love will deepen.

You become grateful for your most supportive, and challenging, relationships.

That’s right,

Grateful for both—the challenge as well.

And when you reach this place, you will look back and laugh at how little you knew.

You’ll have gained so much you’ll want to inspire friends, family, and co-workers….

..that there’s another way to do relationship.

…and you were the person to break out of the herd and be a leader, finding another way to create an awesome marriage.

You will gain the respect and admiration of your community, because you, and you alone, took it to the next level.

Remember, relationship is what you, and the rest of us, are all designed for. It’s who you are. It’s how you live.

If you lost everyone in your life and had to live alone, you wouldn’t last long…

And monogamy, if we have the proper view and tools, is an alchemical journey catapulting and demanding the best in us, in order to become the brilliant beings that we are.

But remember, you must say “NO thank you” to your old ways and learn a new system that gets you the marriage and relationship you want.

When you become a yes to growth and have a willingness to learn how to really face all that comes up within the confines of marriage, monogamy, and long-term partnership, you are on your way to marriage empowerment and fulfillment.

Are you ready?

4 Comments

  • BrookBascom

    Reply Reply April 14, 2018

    This is amazing. I have recently joined and still sifting through all courses and work. I want to share this with the man I am dating and having a difficult time with, as we figure out our relationship. Do you have anything (courses, etc.) for the men in our lives to participate?

  • jan

    Reply Reply April 24, 2018

    Thank you for your In sightful articles about meaningful relationships. I’ve been struggling with a yo-yo relationship ship for over six months. Repeated abandonments. I wonder if my partner might be bi- polar? On again off again. Running hot or cold. Three marriage proposal s, two handfastings all undone within hours of making promises. Tantric sexual experiences. Vows of soulmate and twin flames. Now just returned from 5 days vacation in his hometown..he tells me he’s in a relationship with a woman he hasn’t seen in Sixty years…that he and she are soulmates meant to be together. I feel used and abused and discarded. There is no saving this relationship. It never was. thanks.

  • Nancy Dantzig

    Reply Reply March 21, 2019

    Thank you for your great articles. I am in a marriage of 18 years. I am getting really frustrated because my husband refuses to discuss anything, he won’t do it without anger and rage, namecalling,blame etc. which shuts down the conversation from my side, I can’t stand it ! He spends hours on Facebook connecting with old girlfriends and 2 old fiances. I just don’t get that, 98% of his friends are women who he talks to nicer than he speaks to me . I can’t say anything because when I do it is met with rage.
    Before we were married he was a real social swinger and I feel like maybe he should have never been married. He is always right and I am always wrong ! He refuses to compliment me and I shouldn’t have to hear him say I love you. Any suggestions ? I would really appreciate any feed back you can give.Thanks so much. Nancy

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field