How To Save Your Marriage If Your Wife Wants A Divorce

It’s your worst nightmare.

You come home from work one day, happy to see your lovely wife and there she is sitting at the table with a very troubled look on her face,

sad stick figure girl

Ok, I’ll admit that this picture is probably a very bad representation of what your wife looks like but bear with me here. I am trying to make a point.

So, you come home and there your wife sits with that sad look on her face.

The next four words that come out of her mouth are words that you will never forget.

They are life changing…

I Want A Divorce

That word…

I’m not going to lie to you.

I hate that word.

Divorce…

The “D” word…

It goes by many names and today I am going to do everything in my power to teach you how to beat it.

I am going to teach you how to save your marriage.  In fact, I wrote a very lengthy post on this topic, so if you have not read it yet, make a note to do so:

How To Save Your Troubled Marriage

But first you could use a little briefing on what you are fighting against.

So, saddle up soldier we are going to WAR and We Want You!

we want you

Our Enemy… DIVORCE

Am I getting a little too goofy for you with all the army/battle/war talk relating to divorce?

Ok, I’ll tone it down.

Right now we only know one thing.

Your wife wants a divorce.

She wants to be gone from you… forever.  You wonder why she seems to hate you so much and what on earth you are going to do to turn this all around.  For starters, take a look at this post:

Why Does My Wife Act Like She Hates Me So Much

If this is your first time going through a divorce then allow me to give you the low down of what you can expect to happen.

Now, before I get started I want to say that what I talk about here is purely hypothetical. The purpose of this page isn’t to teach you the ins and outs of divorce it’s to prevent it but sometimes understanding what you are up against can do wonders in motivating you to save your marriage.

With that in mind, lets begin.

Let’s pretend that you are unsuccessful in saving your marriage and your wife decides to go through with a divorce.

The first decision that the two of you will have to come to is whether or not you are going to have an uncontested divorce or a contested one.

What’s the difference?

Well, there is a gigantic difference.

Uncontested Divorces Vs. Contested Divorces

marriage

As a couple who is about to go through divorce there are going to be disagreements.

That’s a given.

But some couples disagree so much that they need to get the courts involved.

That would be a contested divorce.

And uncontested divorce would be a divorce in which the courts don’t get involved. It is generally a lot cheaper (but still pretty darn expensive) than a contested divorce.

But sometimes exes can be so vindictive that they will do some pretty nasty things to each other and demand to go to court to get,

  • More Money
  • Custody Of Children
  • Child Support
  • You Get The Idea

This is bad on a lot of levels because the family courts (where divorces go to get settled) are A LOT different than a court like the criminal court.

How different?

I am glad you asked.

Lets pretend that you committed a crime and you have to go to court.

Well, you have the opportunity to have a lawyer present, there will be a judge who presides over the case and there will be a jury.

judge jury lawyer

Ultimately in criminal court the jury makes the decision on whether or not the person who is going to trial is guilty or innocent.

Family courts (remember, they deal with divorces) are a bit different.

Instead of having a jury of your peers listen to your side of the story and hand down a verdict the judge listens and hands down the verdict.

In other words, there is no Jury to keep the Judge and Lawyers honest.

judge jury lawyer

And while you are still allowed to represent yourself in the divorce case the way the process works is so complicated that you can lose a divorce battle against your spouse (or ex spouse) just for not knowing the process.

In other words, the system is rigged to make you get a lawyer.

Lawyers cost money…

A lot of money.

Oh, but I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet.

When you do sign up to get a lawyer for the family courts guess what the first order of business is.

The lawyer asks you to give him access to see how much money you and your spouse share.

So, once they have a good idea of how much the two of you share they will most likely gut you or prolong the case on purpose to exhaust everything the two of you own.

In fact, the documentary, Divorce Corp cited many examples where people went into debt just trying to pay their lawyers fees.

Granted, is every divorce experience like that?

No.

However, I am sure the last thing you want is to get into some huge custody battle over your children and have some court appointed person come into your home and tell you whether or not you are fit to raise a child.

I guess what I am trying to get at here is preserving your marriage is definitely worth the battle.

But how?

How can you preserve your marriage when your wife is so steadfast in her wanting a divorce?

Overcoming Your Wife’s “Want” Of A Divorce

marriage divorce

I suppose the first thing that we are going to talk about is your wife’s need of a divorce.

You wouldn’t be reading this article if everything was fine and dandy in your marriage.

That’s the truth.

The only people who would invest time in reading this are men whose wives want a divorce.

Now, I don’t know you personally so I don’t know what happened in your marriage to make your wife want a divorce but she does want one.

This is a bit of a problem because it’s kind of impossible to save a marriage if the two of you are already divorced.

(Actually, that’s not entirely true. I have gotten some couples back together AFTER being divorced but I already know you want to avoid a divorce as much as humanly possible, right?)

So, I have this theory.

Lets call it the theory of headwind.

The Theory Of Headwind

Imagine that you are sailing a ship.

sailing

Everything is going along nicely and then all of a sudden you hit this headwind,

sailing

You are stopped in your tracks and you can’t get any further until you find a way to get around this “headwind.”

Do you see where I am going with this?

Right now your wife has this huge want to get a divorce from you. This is headwind to saving your marriage.

I guess the diagram would look like this,

sailing

So, it’s up to you to navigate around this headwind.

You see, marriage is one of those entities where both parties have an equal say and that means that you need to get your wife on board with saving the marriage if you are going to have any shot of implementing the 5 synergistic principles I talk about here (more on that in a second.)

The question you are probably wondering at this point is,

“Ok, Chris I understand what you are saying but HOW? How can I convince my wife to work with me to save this marriage?”

I’ll admit that it’s not exactly the easiest thing to accomplish but it can be done.

I am a big believer in the power of influence so I think we are going to have to use that to our advantage.

The Power Of Influence And How To Get Your Wife On Board

I am going to tell you a story and while it may seem like it has nothing to do with your situation it will.

Just trust me on this, ok?

Alrighty, I am HUGE fan of the Netflix show,

house of cards

Earlier this year season three of the show was released and I was pumped for it.

I felt like I had waited an entire year for it because I had!

Now, Netflix has tried to revolutionize the process of watching a TV show by releasing all the episodes at once.

Traditionally TV episodes would be drip fed at a week at a time but Netflix doesn’t do that.

Nope, they release all the episodes for consumers to watch at once.

A special term has been coined to describe this phenomenon.

It’s called Binge Watching.

Anyways, my schedule is pretty darn busy.

  • I have a job (running three popular relationship websites)
  • I have a family (a wife and daughter)
  • I also like staying in shape (so I workout and play tennis.)

But on the day that season three of House of Cards came out I cleared my schedule.

I didn’t work…

My wife was at work so no issue there (and our daughter wasn’t born yet)

Oh, and I pretty much said a big fat NO to the prospect of working out.

Instead, I just binge watched the entire season.

Seriously, I barely came up for a breath while I watched this bad boy.

Now, why would I tell you that story?

To tell you about the power of influence.

This show had so much influence over me that I basically neglected all my other responsibilities to watch it.

Something interesting is happening there.

Imagine if we could create this same type of influence over your wife that she would want to save your marriage instead of getting a divorce.

THIS is what we are going to try to achieve but how?

How can we create this type of influence over her?

How To Create The Type Of Influence That Will Make Your Wife Want To Save Your Marriage

Why is it so important to get your wife on the “save your marriage” bandwagon?

I want you to take a look at the fun little graphic I put together below,

save your marriage

Basically what this graphic is trying to represent is the fact that if you can successfully overcome the headwind of your wife’s need for divorce your chances of success are going to be quite good.

However, if you aren’t able to overcome this need for divorce then your chances of failure are very high.

EVERYTHING hinges on this…

No pressure though.

It is for this reason that I want to focus almost all of our energy into overcoming this headwind.

Now, I have already taught you that influence is your best way to combat this need of divorce BUT before I start teaching you how to create the right type of influence I want to talk to you about something.

Your Wife Needs To Come To This Decision On Her Own

I have been doing this for quite some time and would you like to know what I have found to be the case when it comes to saving a marriage?

BOTH people need to come the decision to save the marriage on their own.

Now, you obviously have already concluded that you want to save your marriage so we can check you off on our marriage checklist.

marriage checklist

But your wife hasn’t and that’s why we are here.

Of course, when some men find themselves in this predicament they do something really stupid.

They try forcing their wives to stay in the marriage in a variety of strange ways.

At the top of the list of strange ways is therapy…

Now, it’s not a bad idea at face value but when you have one person who is going to be uncooperative it’s a waste of money in my mind.

Remember, the name of the game here is that your wife has to come to this decision on her own.

I know what your thinking…

“Chris, if my wife has to come to this decision on her own doesn’t that mean that there is nothing I can do to help her come to that decision on her own?”

I am about to teach you about the power of influence which can make her come to the decision on her own there is also a sneaky little tactic that you can employ to prod her in the right direction.

Put Her In Situations Where She Might Come To The Decision On Her Own

Hypothetical situation…

A few days after you came home from work and your wife informed you that she wants “The D Word” you leave the computer open and logged onto this site.

Now, what happens when you leave your computer logged onto a site for a long time?

It goes into sleep mode.

So, your wife goes over to the computer, wakes it up and is ready to do some internet browsing of her own.

Guess what though…

The computer is logged into this site and it’s kind of interesting to her since technically you are reading this page because of her.

So, she starts reading this site and the content captivates her.

In fact, she is so touched by it that SHE COMES TO HER OWN DECISION that she wants to save your marriage.

I know… My Marriage Helper is awesome!

Your welcome!

Jen & Chris Awesome

Ok, all kidding aside what happened in this hypothetical situation that made your wife come to her own conclusion that she wanted to save your marriage?

Well, for one you weren’t the one constantly badgering her about it.

Instead, she read something, from me, that made her want to save it.

Before I started My Marriage Helper I did what any good student of the relationship game would do.

I did research on what the experts out there said was the best way to save your marriage from divorce.

Of course, as I have said many times on this website, I was very disappointed.

HOWEVER, in the midst of that disappointment there was one piece of advice that all of them seemed to give.

Care to take a guess as to what all the experts out there agreed on?

People often need an outside force like a friend, family member, book, website, etc to help them realize that saving a marriage is worth it.

But why?

Why does it sometimes take an outside force to convince a person that saving a marriage from divorce is worth it?

My “Admitting A Problem” Theory

I hate using my own marriage as an example for things but I feel I kind of have to, to explain this theory to you.

Alright, I am not perfect.

I just want to throw that out there right now.

So, lets “hypothetically” say that my wife comes up to me one day and says that she wants to go to couples counseling.

How do you think I would react to that?

Oh, and bear in mind that I teach people how to get back together/stay together for a living.

The Answer = I would probably go batsh*t crazy.

Why?

Because going to couples training is essentially admitting that my marriage is having a problem and that this problem needs OUTSIDE help.

I don’t like admitting that I have a problem and I certainly don’t like admitting that I need help to fix it.

I would liken it to going to the grocery store with a list of items that I have no idea where to find.

Instead of asking someone who works at the grocery store my pride takes over and I end up trying to find all the items myself, unsuccessfully I might add.

(FYI… I literally did this yesterday.)

However, I bet you if I had been there with a friend I would have had no problem asking where those items were if he had pushed me to do so.

Human beings have this belief that they can fix everything when they are own their own and sometimes an outside force is needed to not only convince them that they need help but to actually help them fix their marriage.

But lets say that you do everything that I am telling you to do and get some type of outside force to help make your wife realize that she doesn’t want a divorce and it still doesn’t work…

What then?

Well, then you are going to have to lean on the power of influence.

How To Use “Influence” To Overcome Your Wife’s Need Of A Divorce

influence

If you haven’t already realized I like to do something that is rare in my line of work.

I like letting my personality show.

As a result you get some really goofy things happening in my articles.

Lot’s of memes…

Lot’s of ridiculous pictures where I brag about myself…

Oh, and lots of fun little graphics explaining what I am teaching. Well, I promise you that I haven’t let you down as I created a pretty cool infographic on what you need to do to influence your wife to NOT get a divorce.

Check it out,

incluence

Pretty cool, right?

You are probably sitting there thinking,

“What the hell is this kid’s problem? I don’t even understand it.”

Allow me to explain.

I suppose we will start from the top with highlighting your good qualities.

STEP ONE: Highlight Your Good Qualities & Erase Your Bad Qualities

good

Think of someone who you are a huge fan…

Who is your hero…

Who influences you…

When you think of them what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Well, I can guarantee you that it’s not their bad qualities. In fact, you might find yourself defending their bad qualities from criticism.

Here is the simple truth.

When you are influenced by something you kind of get tunnel vision and overlook anything negative about it.

This tunnel vision effect is something that is essential for you to achieve if you want to have any chance of convincing your wife to stay married to you.

Thus, everything we are going to do from this point on is meant to highlight your good qualities and erase your bad qualities.

We want your wife to get this tunnel vision.

Of course, what’s the best way to that you can accomplish that?

By setting up a date of course!

STEP TWO: Alone Time Together (Setting Up A Date)

go alone

Alright, before I say anything I want to direct you to this page and have you look at synergistic principle number one.

What does it say?

You didn’t look did you…

Ok, I guess I will give the answer to you even though you were lazy and didn’t look…

Synergestic Principle Number One = Spending ALONE Time Together

Basically I want you to try to secure a date with your wife.

Now, when the two of you were happily married this wasn’t a tough ask but now that the mayor of splitsville is knocking on your door it might be.

But before I start talking about strategies on how to get your wife to agree to a date I think I should highlight the importance of why it’s crucial that you get the date.

My wife and I recently have a new addition to our family.

A Lilly…

And no I am not talking about a flower I am talking about our daughter.

Don’t congratulate us yet.

If you have ever had a newborn at home (that is colicky) then you can understand what I am about to say next.

It sucks…

I think people are afraid to admit that…

I think they think that it will make them bad parents to admit that but the truth is that when you have to watch a human being 24/7 who cries when you put her down… it’s tough to find the beautiful side.

Our parents on the other hand…

Well, they are thrilled to become grandparents.

In particular, her parents came over to watch the baby for a few hours so we could get out of the house and let me tell you that, that was revolutionary.

In fact, my wife and I joked that it felt like we got sprung from prison.

prison break

My point is that having the quality time together alone was awesome for us.

And a world where married couples often have work, kids or other commitments it can be kind of tough to find that quality time.

In fact, I am willing to bet that lately you and your wife haven’t had any of this intimate time alone.

This leads me to my next point.

Things haven’t been great for you and your wife’s marriage lately. So, getting your wife to agree to go on a date with you might be challenging.

Now, I am assuming that you are still married while you are reading this but I am also assuming your wife has either asked for a divorce or a separation.

If that’s the case I am not sure a “romantic date” is going to be an easy sell right off the bat.

You may have to show her something first before you try to get this “romantic date.”

That’s where the dating value chain comes into play.

The Dating Value Chain

Take a look at the graphic below for me,

dating value chain

This is something that I like to call the dating value chain.

The way it works is quite simple.

Your wife probably isn’t going to be too keen on a romantic date where you pull out all the stops.

So, rather than overwhelming her at first by trying to get her to agree to the date lets work her up to the idea.

You want to start off with something small like a cup of coffee and once you get her to agree to that you move on to the next box, the medium outing.

This should be like lunch in the middle of the day while the large outing should be something like taking her to a sports game or something of that nature.

Eventually once you get her to agree to see you three times then getting that romantic date should be easy, right?

Well, I left out one very important part of the dating value chain.

Attraction needs to be built in every single category.

Here, I will draw it for you,

dating value chain

Before when I was explaining the dating value chain I made it seem like it was transitioning from one box to the next but it’s really not. The only way to successfully transition is to build your wife’s attraction towards you up in every single box.

So, an ideal value chain works like this.

Attraction Built In Small Outing (transition to) Medium Outing

arrow

Attraction Built In Medium Outing (transition to) Large Outing

arrow

Attraction Built In Large Outing (transition to) Romantic Date

Get it?

Got it?

Good!

Lets talk about what to do once you get this romantic date.

Step Three: Positivity & Kindness

positive

If you go back to the basic “synergistic principles” to save your marriage there is one principle that stands above the rest as “the most important.”

Care to take a guess at what that principle is?

Yup, it’s bringing positivity and kindness to your relationship.

Here is the way I look at it.

Our thoughts cause us to feel.

For example, if you think about the time you kissed your wife for the first time you are probably going to feel good.

Now, the reverse is also possible when you think about the first time that you asked a girl out and got rejected. I am thinking you probably aren’t going to feel too good thinking about that.

So, the process looks like this,

the process

You will notice that there are only two types of feelings that your thoughts can give you.

Good ones and bad ones.

(I am sure technically there are a lot more than two but lets keep this simple right now.)

This little graphic is what is happening to your wife except instead of thinking thoughts that give her good feelings she is thinking thoughts that are making her feel bad inside.

By showing her positivity and kindness you are going to give her thoughts that make her feel good.

So, we are looking for this to happen,

the process

Bringing positivy and kindness to your relationship with your wife is essential if you are going to influence her to stop the divorce.

Of course, there is another clever little tactic that you can employ to influence her.

Flattery…

Step Four: Flatter Her

flattery

Who doesn’t like a good compliment?

Women, being especially conscious about things like looks LOVE compliments.

So, here is my question for you.

When was the last time you complimented your wife?

And I mean really complimented her?

Due to the divorce I am assuming you haven’t said a nice thing about her in some time and taking from the process I taught you above about good feelings and bad feelings it is probably very hard to compliment someone who has caused you so much pain.

But it needs to happen.

Now, I am not saying that you need to be ridiculous with the compliment.

You can start off small and slowly work your way up.

(Very similar to what I was teaching you with the date idea above. )

It would look something like this,

compliment chain

Notice how the compliments become bigger and bigger.

The way this works is that you can’t give your wife a huge compliment until you first give her a small one (she accepts it) then a medium one (with her accepting it) and finally the big compliment.

It is only until she accepts all three that you can swoop in with your romantic compliment.

Now, I know it seems weird not giving a romantic compliment right off the bat to the woman you are married to but things aren’t great as of late so better to be safe than sorry.

Step Five- Use Adrenaline To Your Advantage

adrenaline

There is a psychological principle that states,

Sexual attraction occurs with an increased frequency during states of strong emotion.

Let me give you an example of how this works.

Lets pretend that you go out on a date with your soon to be ex wife.

However, this isn’t any ordinary date.

This date is full of adrenaline, excitement and fun.

Basically the purpose of the date is to increase the state of emotion that your wife is in.

Ideally if you do that then according to this psychological principle your wife should find your more sexually attractive.

So, here is what I want you to do.

three dates

Notice how the adrenaline and excitement from the date raises your wife’s sexual attraction for you?

This is what we are trying to accomplish.

Basically the more sexual attraction your wife feels for you the more influence you will have when it comes to stopping the divorce.

Spice Your Marriage Up With Text Messages (Strategic Texting To Save A Marriage)

When you were dating your spouse it is very likely that those early text messages contained loving phrases like:

common texts

It seemed like the two of you were on fire, with frequent messages going back and forth.  Genuine affection and attraction ruled the day.

When the phone rang or signaled a text messaged had been received, you immediately leaped to grab it to check to see if it was from him or her.

Something happens along the journey of marriage such that the novelty of receiving that amazing text message from your loved one just wears away.

Must it be so?

You can definitely lift up the attraction and appeal in your marriage.  In fact, I wrote a post that deals specifically with how one can become more appealing.  Take a moment to check out some of the methods I recommend:

How To Be Attractive, Enticing, and Appealing To Men (or Women)

How can you get the magic back?

Well, the easy answer to the question of what happened is “Married Life”.

Those times when you looked so forward to receiving those amazing text messages from your boyfriend or girlfriend seems like a blurry image of the past.

And quite frankly, it is not unusual for couples, after some time, to lose some of the spontaneity and fun that existed earlier.

Things were so fun and new when you were in the courting stage.

It’s normal for communication between the sexes to wane over time. The thrill of talking to and texting each other will naturally fall off.

But must it be so?  What can be done to stem the tide or better yet, reverse the trend?

I think you know what I am going to say!

Ok…I will just say it and get it out there!

Texting between you and your spouse need not be a mundane and boring form of communication.

Texting between husband and wife need not be lacking in creativity and spontaneity.

But it takes effort to change some of those familiar routines you have grown comfortable with.

The Texting Bible for Married Couples

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 2.00.55 AM

You see, I am something of an expert on this subject as I have authored an amazing and comprehensive E-book on the topic.

Really!

It’s called, “The Texting Bible”.

I wrote and published this little relationship texting masterpiece (Vanity check: I like to call my works, “masterpieces!) because I could not find anything out there in the marketplace quite like it.

Many of my clients would constantly ask me,

“Chris, what should I say in my text to my husband (or boyfriend, wife, girlfriend) to get their attention”

or

“How often should I text”

or

“How can I re-attract my Ex using text messages”.  

I get hundreds of questions on many related texting relationship topics literally every day.

The thing people want is the magic bullet for how to arouse their spouse.  If you are looking for ways to turn on your husband, I wrote about this in this article:

How To Arouse a Man – A Guide For Women

Let’s return to my conversation on the Texting Bible which is in itself a book on how to attract and arouse your mate.

Naturally, I realized that there was a void or a gap in the marketplace for a resource that teaches people how to strategically make use of texts to accomplish what they set out to do in their relationships.

So I created a resource that discusses in great detail (with tons of examples) the how, what, when, where, and why of texting tactics within a relationship or marriage.

Hence, The Texting Bible” was born and is now utilized by thousands of men and woman seeking to make better use of texting as an effective communication and relationship building strategy.

That is how important I think the topic is to men and woman.

The Texting Landscape for Relationships

mirror

Before we dive into some of the lessons and tactics around how to more effectively make use of your texting, I think it is helpful to talk a bit about the trends we are seeing with regard to the use of text messages.

Now most of these things I am about to talk about are “trends” as they apply to couples today.

It does not mean you fit within these findings.

Your marriage or relationship with your significant other is truly unique…remember that.

No one marriage is alike.

But it is helpful to understand what is happening out there as it relates to the use of text messaging between couples.

You can learn to do more of something and less of something from the knowledge you gain.

And hopefully, by the time you are through reading my post, you will have gained a greater understanding of several things you can do to improve your marriage because you are going to walk away with some gems right out of my book, “The Texting Bible”.

There was a study that was published in the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy that revealed some very interesting insights about text messages and their application in relationships.

It revealed that 82% of husbands and wives (or boyfriends & girlfriends) will send each text messages many times a day.

Broadly speaking, if you are a younger couple, you send more.

If you are older, you send fewer.

Ok… nothing terribly surprising so far.

What was most surprising though was that researches concluded the more often a man would text his relationship partner, the weaker the relationship.

Likewise, a woman who texted their partner to say “I am sorry,” to address interpersonal problems or seeking to address relationship maintenance issues…. the lower their relationship quality.

Hence, frequent texting, particularly from a position of perceived weakness, is usually suggestive of erosion within the relationship.

On the other hand, when the texting topic focused on expressing affection and attraction, the relationship quality was considered higher.

Hence, the moral of this story is text less frequently and when you do, make the texts positive, interesting, and surprising, with a focus on attraction or affection.

The Evolution of Your Relationship Texts

creationist

When I think about marital spouses texting, I like to think of this form of communication as elevating the relationship.

But I am aware that as your marriages grows to be older, you are working against the tide somewhat in terms of making your texting communication stand out.

I think you know what I mean.

As a relationship matures, certain routines and habits take shape.

This natural phenomenon affects how husbands and wives communicate.

As time goes by, each of you just slide right into a set of behaviors that are comfortable and relatively boring, I am sorry to report!

So instead of making your texting communication personally interesting, spontaneous, and creative, they take on the form of drab, day to day efforts to “touch base”.

This behavior is best illustrated in a study performed by a data scientist named Alice Zhao.

After celebrating a marriage anniversary, she was compelled to analyze every single text she and her husband exchanged during the course of the relationship.

You may wonder, why on earth would anyone want to do this?

Well, because she is a data scientist, of course!

That is what they do!

data scientist

Seriously though, I am really glad she peeled back the layers of her own relationship because it really shows how couples typically communicate over the course of their marriage.

And guess what, I am going to teach you how to buck the trends.

But first, let’s take a look at what is typical for most marriages when it comes to texting each other.

The Newlywed Texting Effect

newleywed effect

What Alice Zhao showed with her research is that in those first early and exciting days of the relationship, couples exchanged text messages as if every moment between them was precious and golden.

They would check in with each other, often sending nice, little messages extolling their love and devotion to each other.

If one was to do a picture “wordgraph” of the messages going back and forth, it would consist of loving greetings and words like “Hey love”, or “OK, sweetie”.

I suppose we should give you Zhao’s actual “word graph” from when she first started dating her husband in 2008,

words

*Image Credit

Of course, as a marriage progresses over the years, the “lovey dovey” messages morphed into status checks where the husband and wife are confirming plans and using words like “home” more often.

Alice Zhao found that names were used less often and that the dialogue turned more to texting discussions about dinner or traffic.

Check it out,

words copy

*Image Credit

It is as if the polish and shine of a relationship will eventually wear off.

Before the couple realizes it, the texting communications end up dealing more with “keeping the peace” and confirming plans.

The word “love” was also used less often in the text messages the longer the couple was married.

“OK” became a more popular text word between the wife and husband as the couple worked through the logistics of life.

So if you are reading this and are not screaming out to yourself,

Yesssss, that is exactly what is going on within our marriage!,” then I would love to interview you.

Because my experience is that the inertia of our married lives weigh heavily on most couples and one of the byproducts is that texting communications can become stale.

So how do we break the mold?  I

mean, really, do you want your marriage to just become stale?

It will unless you take proactive action.

One of my 5 Essential Synergistic Principles to a Successful Marriage (which I write about at length here on my website) deals with “Revitalizing the Relationship”.

I don’t think you want just an average marriage or otherwise, you would not be here looking for answers to “spice” up your relationship.

You want your texts to stand for something special and I will show you how.  In fact, if you want the full dose of training on how to accomplish this, then by all means go check out my ebook, “The Texting Bible”.

As I explained before, it was written specifically for people seeking to improve their relationship through the effective use of text messages.

Shift Your Paradigm in How To Use Texting in your Marriage

paradigm

The most common question I get from clients on this topic is,

How do I better utilize text messaging in my marriage?”  

My response is that you need to undergo a paradigm shift in how you think about communications and texting.

Texting can enhance communication for many situations, both in a practical way and in very special ways.

I will teach you to focus your texting much more on “re-igniting the flame” or to say something very interesting or suprising.

Consider this your lucky day, because you will be getting some free content from my best selling ebook, The Texting Bible”.

So why is it necessary to shift the texting paradigm?

Because too often, texting behavior in a relationship results in withdrawals and what you want to do is make deposits.

You might be wondering,

What the heck is Chris talking about? What are these withdrawals he is referring to and what does he mean by deposits?”

I know…. language can be confusing, so let me break it down in case you haven’t read my other articles.

When I talk about a “withdrawal”, I am referring to behaviors and communication that tend to be negative and results in the relationship suffering.

You see, I think of relationships (and texting) as something measured by the totality of the things you say and do to and for each other.

And I think of all these things being captured within a “Relationship Trust Account”.   Or we can call it a “relationship bank”.

relationship bank account copy

Just like a real bank account, you goal is to build up a large, positive balance.  The larger the balance, the more secure is your future.

relationship bank account copy

When a withdrawal is made, your account grows smaller.  When a deposit is made, the account grows larger.

relationship bank account copy

So in a relationship, you want to do things (both you and your spouse) that will increase the value of your marital account.

What can go wrong with marriage and texting?

It turns out that a lot can go wrong and the end result is that their are often small withdrawals made over time.

After a while, the marriage will suffer.

We want to change that dynamic and to do so, we need to shift your paradigm…the way you normally looking at things and do things!

To better understand the kinds of problems couples experience when they text each other,  let’s take a little tour.

As you know, I am really keen on helping my readers understand the nature of problems confronting marriages.

It’s good to have perspective. Only then are you best prepared and motivated to do something about your old, stale texting ways!

Typical Problems Couples Have With Texting

marriage and texting

One of the things I see in my dealings with thousands of people bent on making drastic improvements in their relationships is that they do not have a very good grasp of the fundamental rules of texting.

Sure, most everyone knows how to text and some people are extraordinarily fast in churning out text messages.

But what is often lacking is a keen understanding of strategic principles that can aid you in keeping the relationship fresh and interesting.

The Timing and Length of Your Text Messages

Clicking in a relationship is all about timing, right?

That is probably mostly true in general and very true with regard to your spousal texting strategy.

Think about it.

When you receive a text from your husband or wife, would you rather it be during a time when you can actually read it without distraction.

Well, you may say that picking the right time of day to actually send a text is nearly impossible to predict with accuracy.

And you would be mostly right…but not completely.

“Less is More” As It Applies to Texting & Marriage

less is more

I couldn’t resist putting a “less is more” meme in.

What I want you to do when you text your spouse is to embrace the theory that “less is more.

The time to send a message is when you have not sent a message for a long while.  When the message arrives, you want your marriage partner to think, “Wow, I just got a text from…”

You need to make the message count.

Here, here… let’s all rise up in unison and chant,

“Make it Count”!

“Make it Count”!

Ok, enough of that!

Seriously, what can run a marriage aground is when both husband and wife fail to realize that strategic texting is somewhat an art form.

It should not be overused and when used, the text messages to your significant other should be memorable and creative.

The “art” comes in making the message interesting, surprising, and creative.

The Future of Couples and Digital Communications

future

You realize, some day soon, texting will become just a passing fad.

I know…. that sounds almost blasphemous!

But futurists and technologists seem to think that texting as a form of communication will give way to other more personal and efficient ways of reaching out to your marriage partner.

What are those new ways of the future?

You are just going to have to wait for one of my future posts.

I promise I will talk about it at great length.

What was that?

I heard someone thinking to themselves that I should reveal more!

Ok, you win.

Here is what I think is around the corner for all marital couples with regard to digital communications.

Texting is inherently slow, sloppy, cumbersome, and relatively unsafe at times.

Now, I know some of you have fast fingers.  But you can’t get around the fact that this style of communication is far from optimum.

What I believe will eventually replace it will be technologies that will allow for couples to selectively transmit (thru embedded chip technology) certain thoughts.

Ok, you are probably thinking,

“What the heck is Chris talking about”?

Let me expand the thought.

Embedded means chip technology that is actually placed under our skin.

Thoughts emerge from the electrical circuitry of the brain (neurons).

There will be controls and filters (e.g. editing and playback) in place such that you can select which thoughts you wish to transmit).

Only those outfitted and authorized to receive the incoming thought will be able to process the communication.

Of course, this type of communications technologies is still far in the future.  But future is always moving and can arrive sooner than we all think.

Look at all we can do with our smart phones.  No one imagined that would be happening 20 years ago.

Think about it.

Your husband or wife could be headed to the store and you could shoot (transmit) them a thought like,

grapes

Ok… Back to the real world..

Meanwhile, let’s return to the present world of digital communications in marriages!

Let’s get back to what texting your spouse is NOT ABOUT.

Your messages should not been long.  Y

es, I know that you only have 160 characters to work with.  But when you send too many long text messages to your wife or husband, you are doing little to make your text messages interesting, creative, and special.

If you have something important to say, call.  Sending a series of 3,4,5 text messages stack upon each other is overkill.

You can disagree, but the seductive nature of texting frequently tears away at a couple.

Everyday, I see couples rarely making eye contact with each other.

Their smart phone becomes their new lover.

Hmm… Rather than going on and on about the state of society this video pretty much sums up my thoughts…

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the idea of texting.

Any form of communication has it’s benefits and texting has several.

But there are also disadvantages.

It’s easy for couples to experience information overload as they become so attached to the mobile phones.

Once seduced by this form of technology, our relationship communications ironically can come under even greater strain.

This is primarily due to the hit and miss aspect of texting….. like to ships passing in the night.

It is nearly impossible to accurately convey what you really mean given the limitations imposed by texting.

Your spouse may often get mixed signals.

They may not be able to tell how you “really” feel about something given that text messages do not adequately convey emotion and tone.

Throw in our propensity of sending long, boring, rapid fire text messages, we have the makings of trouble in paradise.

A Little History Lesson on Texting!

nailed it

I will show you a better way of texting your lover.

But first, let’s take a stroll down memory lane.

Do you have any idea why text messages can only contain 160 characters?

You would think it was based on some complex equation, right?

Maybe it was based on an extensive study of how humans best communicate. Or perhaps, there is some technical limitation to how many words can be used.

Nope!

It turns out that it was based on the average number of characters that were found on postcards that people sent out.

This one guy looked at a lot of postcards and concluded that there was an average of about 150 characters.

To double check this finding, an analysis of telex transmissions (i.e. by a telegraphy network for business professionals) was performed.

There is no limit on the number of characters that a telex message can have, but again the finding was that even telex messages consisted of approximately 150 characters.

To be generous, text messages were assigned 160 characters.

Aren’t we lucky!

Texting Gnat – Going Nuts At Texting

text gnats

Some time ago I came up with a phrase, Texting Gnat.

It was meant to capture what I often see when I coach men and women in how they go about texting in their relationships.

Too often, a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife will become a Texting Gnat when factors conspire to cause them to just get a little crazy with the quantity of messages they are sending out.

I am not sure if it was during one of my Podcasts or if it was an email I received, but one of the visitors to my website (exboyfriendrecovery.com) reached out to me because she was truly inspired by my advice.

She believed that being a texting gnat was not only a common problem with many of her friends, she went further and turned it the phrase into an acronym for me!

She insisted that it stood for Going Nuts At Texting.

Or

GNAT!

I loved her word spin and the name stuck.

As I have said, there is undeniably a seductive quality to texting.

Sending texts and then waiting to receive a response can turn into an obsession.

The Pied Piper, Texting, and Your Marriage

pied piper

Your mobile phone can be the Pied Piper of Relationships.

Once you get hooked on firing off message after message, the desire to send more can overwhelm you.

There are many reasons for why we behave this way.

Are you familiar with the story of the Pied Piper?

One version of the story has this individual dressed in colorful clothing, using his magical flute pipe to lure away the children from town.

Up and over the hill they went and through a valley and eventually into a lake where the children were drowned.

Now, I have nothing against colorful clothes.  And a magic flute sounds pretty good to me as well.

I guess when you think of our colorful, and seemingly magical mobile phones, there are some parallels.

The moral of my story is don’t let text messaging govern how your communicate in your relationship.

How do you help your marriage survive this newest of communication devices?

Simple!

It’s through strategic texting where “less is more”.

That should be your melody.

So why do people so frequently turn to texting as their default for communications?

There are many factors that could be influencing your spouse (and yourself).

I truly understand why husbands and wives are seduced by the charms of texting.

The key motivators that attract us to texting are the following:

It’s inexpensive, easy and convenient

We can control when we respond and fire off and receive messages .  Most everyone does it, so it’s cool in that regard.

We are Afraid

So we would rather text out the information as opposed to dealing the person face to face or talk with them on the phone.  Our thinking is to avoid any “real” commitment to a conversation. With texting, we can slide in and out of conversation easily, steering away from being cornered.  It just seems less threatening.

We are increasingly busy people.

Studies show that with texting on the rise and with the multitude of social media websites, humans are processing 5 times more information than before.

Being overloaded in life causes husbands and wives to use texting more frequently. The smart phone becomes our crutch in a busy, turbulent world.

We can just get the need to touch base over with an not worry about having a personal encounter. (the busy factor)

We may be poor at face to face communications

In order to cover up our poor interpersonal skills or the awkwardness some feel when they communicate person to person, people will use text messaging as a communication crutch.

We fall under its spell 

This is the texting Pied Piper effect I discussed earlier.

Once you come under the spell of this communication device, its effect can be hypnotic.

Hence, the Text Gnat is born.

Trust me…we all have been a text gnat at one time or another.  Unfortunately, some people live in this zone far too long and it can have very negative consequences in many relationship areas of your life. Some of my clients are so attached to texting they do it in their sleep.

Now, you may not fit all of these descriptions, though I bet if you are social media savvy, your life is much busier than it was for people your age 10-15 years ago.  And I would also venture to say that you are almost certainly hooked on texting to some degree.

I feel certain that texting within our marriages will remain an important way in which we connect with each other.

But I advise most of my clients to dial down the number of texts and dial up the quality of their texts when you are connecting with your husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend.

The Quality of Your Text Messages is a Reflection of the Health of Your Marriage

quality

When texting first came upon the scene, it was hip, novel, and exciting.

If you had a special person in your life…. the two of you would just go crazy sending each other messages.

The first text message was sent about 23 years ago by a software engineer.  Texting is pretty old technology by most standards.

Well, the times, ‘they keep on changing” and texting, while still a popular form of communication, needs a face lift on how it should be best employed to keep your marriage interesting and communications robust.

In a little while, I am going to walk you through some situations in which your can make better use of texting in your relationship.

Remember, “INTERESTING” is the key outcome you want to achieve with your texts to your spouse.

If you continue your present course and ONLY send the normal, somewhat boring…”touching base”  types of text messages, what you will achieve is “mediocrity”.

There needs to be a paradigm shift in how you employ texting to attract, seduce, excite, and humor your spouse.

It’s time to up your game and learn “less is more”!

How NOT to Use Texting in Your Marriage or Relationship

dont do that

Let’s take a look at the ways in which you should NOT use texting to communicate with your marriage partner.

These common traps often end up causing communications to go haywire in your relationship.

If you want the COMPLETE story on the Do’s and Don’ts of Relationship Texting…. then check out my ebook, “The Texting Bible”!

Anyway…here are many of the pitfalls husband and wives are drawn into.  Look out for these traps.

Delivery of Bad News:

Remember, texting communications is on its face, often “impersonal” and vague.

As much as you think your are conveying your true sentiments, just know that more often than not, your spouse is on the other end of the message trying to wring out the meaning and emotion.

Text Fighting:

You want your text messages to hubby or wife to always represent a gem of good news or fun or attraction/affection.

Using texting to fight is juvenile and only serves to aggravate the existing situation.

Text Gnat:

Don’t be an insect!

Need I say more?

Over the Top Apology:

Over the top apology texts too often include negative comments about yourself and potentially commitments you may not be able to make.

Worst, by succumbing to sending a long rambling text apology, you lose some of your personal power.

You can come off as begging.

And that is not going to serve you in the long run.

Desperation and Begging:

So let’s delve into what texting desperation looks like.  Oddly enough, many of my clients are not aware how they may be perceived when they fire off these types of messages.

And that is your first clue.

Never, ever, send off a text message in a moment of haste or when you are emotionally fragile.  In this case, haste definitely leads to waste.

Desperate text messages end up wasting your time, your Ex’s time, and sets you back further.   Back away from texting when you feel these very primal urges coursing through you.

The Ultimatum:

No one likes to be backed into a corner.  Remember, we are all part of the animal kingdom and what do animals do when backed up and threatened?

That’s right…. most of the time they fight and strike back.

Of course, we are talking relationships here and whether the recipient fights back or cowers and is obedient…. just know that neither of these outcomes are healthy in the long run.

Why do some people resort to sending such text messages?

Well, it has a lot to do again with human psychology.

Sometimes when an intense desire to “get your way” merges with anger, we can get a dangerous cocktail from which ultimatums emerge.

So let’s just avoid falling into this perilous texting trap.

Texting in Anger:

Anger is one of our most primal emotions and more often than not, when your anger emerges, the Genie is out of the bottle.

But in this case, you seldom get what you wish for.

When you recognize you are filled with anger toward your Spouse, then redirect it.  Don’t try to bottle it up because that seldom works.

Indeed, it can be emotionally and physically unhealthy.

Instead of focusing your anger outward, channel it into a physical workout or talk with a close friend or therapist to exercise the anger demon.

When Drinking:

None of us are perfect.

We can have too much to drink and before we even realize it, we have sent a message or two or three or…. you get the picture.

Now you may be thinking that this is not such a big deal.  So what if we end up sending a message that is, ugh, let’s say, is not artfully worded.  Not too much harm right?

Wrong!

Too often when our inhibitions are lowered by alcohol, we end up pouring out everything we are thinking and sometimes when that filter is removed, we misspeak or worst turn nasty or mean spirited.

This is probably the one category that deserves very special mention. The reason is because texting when you are drunk is one of the most frequent, common pitfalls people fall into.

It’s like the mother of all bad texting decisions.

When drinking, people succumb to sending angry texts, ultimatum texts, begging texts, annoying texts… basically just about every negative type of text can emerge from our psyche when we are tanked.

Avoid Text Confessions:

Some things are much better left to face to face discussion.

This one definitely qualifies.  If you have something to get off your chest, don’t do it by text because chances are that you will never be able to adequately explain what it’s all about in a text message.

Why do people confess?

Mainly to relieve themselves of guilt.  Like a huge weight, guilt can hang over one’s psyche and the temptation to expel it with a text message can be overwhelming.

Usually, texting a confession immediately leads to regret.  While you may feel an initial feeling of relief, it will soon be followed by anxiety and regret.

Why?

Because sometimes you don’t get adequate feedback. The recipient may not respond to your message….. perhaps for a long time.

Meanwhile you are stewing over whether you said things correctly.  Sometimes what happens is you do hear back from the recipient and they are confused, dazed, upset, angry, livid…. any number of reactions are possible.

So what are you going to do?

Send them another text and bury yourself deeper?

No, it’s best to steer away from confession texts.

Replacing Mobile Connectivity With Conversation

cell phones

One of the common complaints I get deals with texting in the presence of your spouse.

Ouch, that can be a real downer if it happens with frequency.

Sure, there will be times when it can’t be avoided due to the criticality or importance of the information.

But when you are constantly texting in the presence of your husband or wife, they will invariably feel short changed.

There is only so much time in the day and if your spouse is absorbed with their text messages or engaged with their iPad, Facebook, or Instagram accounts…something has to give timewise.

Someone has to pay the price.

This is often a withdrawal from the marriage trust account.

I receive thousands of complaints such as,

We never talk anymore”

or

“It’s like we live in the same house, but are invisible to each other”.

It’s a huge downer when you get caught up in the texting Pied Piper effect at the expense of your marriage.

When you add up all of the time available to connect with your lovely husband or wife, it turns out to be much, much less than you would think.

Studies have been done that demonstrate that after your take into account the time you sleep, rest, eat, play, work, attend to family matters, attend to hygiene matters, drive or fly, wait, shop, and many other things….. you only have precious minutes of quality time you can spend with your spouse each day.

I have found when I talk to couples about their lives…they have no clue that they have become prisoners to their habits and routines. Some of those habits and routines are destructive to their marriage.

Marriage Connectivity Game Plan

bear it

So let’s look at turning that around!

The hallmark of strategic texting for couples is all about quantity and quality.  Send out fewer texts to others so as to not rob time you can spend with your wife or husband.

And those texts you do send to your significant other, MAKE THEM COUNT.

They need to be special and interesting.  Less is more.  Less texts…but much more interesting.

Bottle Up All Your Bad Texting Habits!

Here is what I would ask you to do.  It will be fun, I promise!

Sit down with your spouse and write down your Shared Texting Vows on a piece of paper.  In a moment, I will give you an example.

I know…. it may sound silly and maybe even stupid. But, do it because the symbolism and act of doing this together will get forged into both of your minds.

As a result, you become more committed to the things your write down.

Then I want you and your spouse to take this piece of paper and START CHANTING over it.

HOLD IT…. that’s not right!

That’s only to be done during a lunar eclipse.

GOT YA!

I was just screwing with you!

Please don’t chant over your vows.

That would be silly.

Well…actually if you guys really want to cement this experience in your minds you can chant if you wish!

What I want you to do next is to roll up the paper you have written your vows on and place them in an empty wine bottle.

Cork it.

Then you and your spouse can do one of two things.  You can agree to place your bottle in conspicuous place in your home.

That way, when you walk by and see it, it will serve as a reminder of the promises you made to each other.

Or, you can drive out to a pretty lake or if you live near the coast you can head out to the ocean.

Have a picnic.

Frolic in the sand and waves.

And at sunset, toss the bottle into the water.

Now you are each devoted to do what you have vowed.

What might be the things you and your spouse are willing to commit to?

Remember, we are talking about those seductive, bad texting routines that can take us away from our spouses.

Here are some examples:

  • Don’t Use Cell Phone When out to Dinner
  • Keep the Devices off the Table At Home When You Eat Together
  • Never Text Talk about Important Issues
  • Put the Phone away on Dates.
  • Leave the Phone out of the Bedroom (sex)
  • Never succumb to Text Fighting
  • Don’t Become a Text Gnat
  • Surprise your Spouse with an Amazing Text

Make Your Texts to your Spouse Interesting

interesting

To keep the marriage magic alive, your texting to your husband or wife needs to become magical.

Remember, I don’t want the two of you texting more.

No, No, No.

What you should be looking to do is find ways to make your texting stand out.

What we want is for your husband or wife to be wowed when they get a text from you.

They should not get many in the first place, but when they do, it should make the feel very eager to read it.

They will feel this way if you have established a new routine of texting only when you have something very interesting to say.

Not only do you need to train yourself on how you go about texting in the future, you are also re-training your spouse on their expectations.

You want your husband or wife to expect something a little special when they get that text from you.

That is what will set you apart from everyone else that texts them.

This strategy will hopefully break the Pied Piper spell texting sometimes has on people and importantly, it can build a greater level of attraction between husband and wife.

The Texting Sandwich

While I encourage married couples to spend less time texting and more time with each other, a text message to your spouse can be a powerful attractor.

There is a simple, but effective technique I encourage all of my clients to use.  It call it the texting sandwich technique.

Essentially, if you want to arouse interest in what you have to say, you sandwich the “meat” of your text between a shocking, attention getting opening and then end the message with “leaving them wanting more”.

You job is to entice your spouse to desperately want to talk to you because of what they just read.  I realize you can’t do this with every text that travels between the two of you.

But if you are living by my philosophy that “less is more”, then there will be ample opportunities for you to “Wow” your spouse with something interesting, humorous or even titillating.

Condition your spouse to expect something interesting from you, otherwise if your texts are plain, boring, and just strictly informational, you may not even get a reply.

And then your feelings get hurt.

When you send your marriage partner a text, you want to condition them in such a way that they are thinking, “perhaps this text from her (him) is one of those juicy ones”!

There are a variety of ways you can accomplish this and there are many situations in which the use of strategic texting can ignite your relationship.  I urge you to check out my e-book, The Texting Bible, to get the entire scoop. It’s 350+ pages of content which is impractical to cover here.  But let me walk you through some examples.

Different Texts For Different Situations

Love and romance need to be nurtured.

You have to work at it, as its shape is constantly changing as the two of you change.

Hence you need to shape it in a way that keeps it fresh, sometimes exciting, and always beneficial to both of you.

This should be reflected in some of the texts to your spouse.

A couple usually has their own unique way of talking to each other.

My advice would be to keep your romantic messages short…not brief…but do not turn it into a lengthy kind of thing.

Part of being interesting is using the element of surprise.

So, surprise your spouse once in awhile with a heartfelt message.

Helper

Helper 2

helper3

 

To keep that sizzle in your relationship, it can be useful to send flirtatious text messages to your significant other.

Don’t do it every day, because the texts will lose their sting.  But surprise your lover with a flirty message once in awhile.

It’s tempting to go the R rated or X rated route, but remember, the best flirt is usually the one that leaves more to one’s imagination!

Just Imagine what your significant other might be thinking after they receive something like this.

Imagine how quick you will get a response:

lucky

black one

underneath

 

Humor is a great thing.

It keeps us more relaxed.

It allows you and your spouse to have fun together, which cements the relationship.

Humor is like a bonding agent that helps the two of you fuse together.

Surprise your husband or wife with such a text and you might just turn around what was otherwise a dreary day for them.

I think of humor texts as little puffs of joy you can pass on to those you care about.

The more you can personalize it, the better.

dirty pic

(then send a pic of a dirty dish telling them they forgot to wash the dishes)

you wanna see

(Then send pic of just dark screen, telling them it’s nighttime)

Most everyone likes a surprise.

And if you can leverage the mystery angle once in awhile, it can go a long ways in building this image of you being a really cool person.

I like to build in some mystery in my relationship by occasionally leaving these little clues.

If you do it throughout the day, it does wonders in building excitement and surprise.

Think of it as a romantic or mystery scavenger hunt.

You want your spouse to scavenge around trying to collect and answer the clues.  Perhaps the prize is a candle lit dinner or a really sexy night at a fancy hotel.

The fun in all of this is not necessarily the prize at the end of the mystery.

It’s the chase.

If your significant other is chasing after these little text clues you leave, it can can be spell bounding and enormously exciting.

Are you ready to cast your spell!

Here is an example of a mystery series of text clues that can keep things fresh and fun.

You start off with this message:

challenge

This text will certainly result in a response.

But ignore it.

Wait 30 minutes and then send another text:

keychain

When the person opens the P.O box, there will be a note in there telling them to text you with the answer to a question only they would know.

Now you have them under your spell.

Send them this new text message upon receiving their text.

Hotel

You should not have too much difficulty figuring out what happens next.

It suffices to say that all marriages benefit from Revitalization.

And making your text messages to your spouse stand out is one big opportunity area!

Why Does Your Husband Or Wife Lie?

Can we all agree lying is a shameful thing?

Are we all on the same page there?

I mean, a liar is essentially a dishonest person, right?

Hold it now, not so fast!

Yes, the act of telling a falsehood or an “un-truth” as some would describe it, is not a desirable quality in most cases.

When we stoop to telling a lie for the sake of advancing our own hidden agenda…. well, that is clearly deceitful.

If you suspect your husband or wife of being two faced, taking liberties with the truth…. just know that you are not alone in that department.

One of the most alarming lies one spouse will tell another revolves around faithfulness.  When cheating is involved, the marriage can go south in a hurry and questions as to how you should feel about the whole matter will dominate your life.  In the post below,  I discuss this problem and offer some solutions:

Should I Hate My Husband For Cheating on Me

What becomes more problematic is when your spouse goes from being a fibber that equivocates on small matters to a full fledged, practiced liar bent on white washing every version of truth.

We will explore the different types of relationship lies and what motivates couples to lie to each other.

You might be surprised at what you learn!

Liars Are Everywhere!

liars

I know quite a few husbands and wives that tell terrible lies.

And likewise, I know liars that are terrible at lying. But we should be careful not to condemn your spouse for their lying ways too soon or with too much sense of righteousness.

After all, we are all liars.  You, me, your spouse…we all fall victim to the invisible hand that at times pushes us into the realm of lies.

Borrowing loosely from the bible….

Let he who has never told a lie, cast the first accusation.

Indeed, that is pretty hard for anyone to do without admitting they too have lied about things.

Spouses that deny their deceptive ways are either seriously out of touch with reality or just once again telling another fib.

As all the lies begin to build, you will come to feel that your marriage is broken.  You may wonder if you should call it quits or if there is a way to confront all the lying behavior and start over.  In the post below I discuss how you can go about lifting your marriage up:

My Marriage is Broken – How Do I Start Over

From Where Do Our Lies Originate?

true story

Lying is at the very core of our behavior. It is very often a divisive and destructive pattern of behavior.

Ok…so since I am in a quoting mood, let’s call upon Abe Lincoln for a little sage advice.

If he was to speak on this topic, he would probably say something like….

abraham lincoln marriage

Admit it…

You totally laughed when you saw that picture of “Honest Abe?”

Anyways, have you often wondered why your husband or wife always seems to lie to you.

Have you worried that it will cause lasting damage to your marriage?

Well, we are going to find about these things and along the way, you will learn some valuable lessons!

The Science Behind Lying Spouses

rocket science

As with most everything related to marriages and relationships, there is usually a rhyme and reason for how and why things happen.

I like to call upon the sciences to help us navigate these tricky topics.

Over the years, I have come to learn that it is not wise to jump to conclusions about how couples should interact.

I like to merge practical experience with scientific research.

First, you should know that we all have been corrupted by lies since we were small.

Now that does not necessarily excuse some of these whoppers that your loving spouse and partner has told you.

But let’s first seek to understand a bit more about the “why” of lies.

The “Why” Of Lies

Eventually, we will arrive at a point where it will be time to talk about how to reduce deception and dishonesty in marriages.

Trust that I will get you there in due time!

Anyway, let’s get back to the origins of our lying ways.  Science suggests that we began  bending the truth around age 5.

5 years old

The thinking was that lies emerged in youngsters as they became more exposed to adults.

But what the latest research reveals is that people begin lying much earlier…as early as 2 years of age.

age of lying

By 3 years of age, 50% of children have told fibs.

By age 8, every kid has lied.

But these revelations are not all so bad.

The truth, as it turns out, is that lying in children can lead to better cognitive abilities.

It takes creativity and imagination to spin a yarn after all.

So you see, there is always a little silver lining to be found in the murkiest of places!

Look, I don’t want to sugar coat this problem of dishonesty in relationships.  It is almost always a problem and results in the erosion of trust.

Remember, a marriage cannot stand if it is erected on a stack of lies.

Unfortunately, within some marriages, lying takes the form of a disease so to speak.

The spouse may be so compelled to lie due to their mental makeup, that their behavior can be best described as pathological.

What is a pathological liar?

If your husband or wife is a pathological liar, then why?

It turns out that the brains of such individuals are different in some ways.

You see, most brains require multiple pathways to orchestrate and construct an untruth.  Pathological liars have more pathways.

Their brains are better suited to misguide people.

If your spouse is a pathological liar, it is probably due to them having about 25% more white matter pathways.

Think about it.

To tell a lie, you have to play a sort of mental chess game.

You have to remember the details of what you said and evaluate if that information accurately dovetails with other known facts.  It’s a bit of a trapeze act.

Now, if you have more neural and white matter pathways, it becomes easier to tell a lie and get away with it because of the efficient way the deception can be constructed.

Pathological liars tend to be to be more impulsive and with more white matter pathways, they can more easily navigate through the maze of information.

It’s like constructing a puzzle in the mind.

The practiced liar can assemble more of the pieces together, faster.

The Art of Digital Deception

deception

As we poke around in the world of deception in which all spouses participate, we should explore what has changed, if anything, that makes lying more easy.

Well, as it turns out, technology has enabled liars to some degree.

I refer to it as the age of and art of digital deception.

Ever since email, texting, and social media came into our lives, the art of deception has benefited from some new tools.

Back in the old days (so they say), if you were pretending to be sick and skipping out of school, you would call mom and dad in and perform your best coughing and sneezing routine.

It was not always an easy sell!

Of course, Ferris Bueller perfected this routine,

bueller

Well, thanks to communication technologies, it is easier to pull off a great many deceptions.

Everything has a price and sometimes you pay twice.  Yes, we all love our smart phones and social media has been a godsend.

Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration!

Technology can be wonderful and it’s not cheap if you want all the bells and whistles.

So you pay up, to keep up.

But your computer, smart phone, Twitter and Facebook accounts can all be used as instruments of deception.

And by the way, how can you sort out truth from lies when it comes to online content and texts?

It’s not easy.

Indeed, it’s probably impossible.

Though I will say this about online content.  You always have the option to double and triple fact check by reviewing other sources.

But can you be assured that the text message your husband or wife sent you is accurate?

Did they just make up something?

After all, there is no voice inflection to analyze.

You cannot see their face and examine their body language when you comb through their texts.

The Many Colors of Truth

truth

It can be a problem and your spouse can put their own spin on the truth quite easily when using texting or email communications.

You see, when people lie, linguistic patterns change.

Indeed there are ways to examine whether they are telling the truth.

If your spouse is prone to talk around the edges and not give much in the way of details, it is possible they are in the deception mode.

On the other hand, when relationship partners lie to each other, they can also resort to elaborate storytelling.

elaborate story

So pay attention to the extremes in communication, but be careful not to judge too quickly because, quite frankly, ascertaining what is truthful can be a slippery slope.

Just as there are many shades of color, that which is the “truth” is not entirely clear.

Sometimes, we are not dealing with your husband or wife being deceptive or telling untruths, but rather the situation may reflect multi-faceted complexities.

Truth Scanning Tools

in case of zombies

Help is on its way for dissecting what is the truth and weeding out the lies.

Scientists tell us that even now there are keyword algorithms that exist in helping us evaluate text so as to ascertain if the information is presented in a deceitful manner.

Imagine having a tool where you could truth scan the latest texts and emails from your spouse or anyone for that matter.

truth keyword

It is not far around the corner as these keyword algorithms get perfected and marketed.

Did you know that wives and husbands lie more to each other on the phone than when they send each other texts or emails?

This is because digital communications provide a record of conversations.

So your spouse consciously or subconsciously realizes they have more risk if they fudge the truth when using email or text.

Though it should be noted that relationship partners tell more lies when texting, than email.

So even now, there are some natural truth scanning tools we can employ.

I remember having a client that simply went ballistic when she examined her husband’s mobile phone and reviewed all of his past calls.  Some of them were directed to his Ex.

Yep, there is a fair amount of truth scanning already going on.

Can you spot a Liar?

liar

Are the eyes of your lover the windows into their soul?

Well, perhaps there is some truth to this notion.

Changes in the dilation of the pupil signals when someone is lying.  But these changes are small and a very sensitive device is needed to detect pupil dilation.

Our pupils dilate involuntarily when we lie.

So our eyes are a form of a truth machine and the reliability of detecting truth from deception is 85% accurate when using this ocular detection method.

Imagine if your cell phone had an ocular detection device.

How often would you ask your spouse to take such a test?

This too is coming as the next wave of technology will continue to shake up our lives.

Will it be for the good?

Frankly, I would be cautious when it comes to using such technology.

Such lie detection devices, should they become available to the masses, could open up a Pandora’s Box of new problems.

Does Your Spouse Even Know They Are Not Telling the Truth?

I often have clients who contact me asking about why their spouse seems so confused about the truth.

You significant other can be completely certain of what was said or what happened, yet the other marital spouse may have an entirely different memory or understanding of the same event.

How does this happen?

It turns out that false memories can form as a result of brain activity in the hippocampus.

And this seems to happen frequently which would explain some of the confusion a married couple may have around a certain topic or event.

A stored memory can get connected to another memory, thereby resulting in false memories.

The confluence of these different memories merging to become one or a series of edited memories can unfold in such a way that even you husband or wife has no clue they have staked out a claim on a lie.

Is it OK For Couples to Deceive Each Other?

ok with this

So what’s wrong with a little lie or two?

Perhaps a few little white lies are not so bad.  But when the deception becomes the rule, versus the exception, dysfunction rules the day.

Sorry to tell you, but lying in relationships is rampant and surprisingly common.  It’s a complex and seemingly unpredictable phenomenon.

A 1996 study by Bella Depaulo, Phd., found that people lie about twice a day on average.

Over a day, both men and women deceive those they socialize or interact with about 30% of the time.

Hopefully you are not rolling your eyes right now wondering just how many falsehoods your spouse has told you!

Hang in there.

By the end of this post, I hope to give you some practical advice on how to help your lover walk the straight and narrow.

Unfortunately, some relationships are like magnets for deception and lies.  You throw two people together, mix in some ego and fear, add a pinch of chaos, and before you know it, deceit is running rampant.

Few couples are spared, including those between the Husband & Wife, Boyfriend & Girlfriend, or Parent and Child.

Lies covers a wide swath of topics.

Couples lie about the far past, near past, the present moment, and even what is intended in the future.

Couples dating each other lie about 33% of the time when a conversation takes place.  Often, a person will stretch the truth to build up one’s ego.

Other times, the root cause of the deception revolves around attraction tactics.

But don’t get too hung up on all these statistics. Your relationship is unique and may or may not reflect these trends.

The good news, is that marriages fare much better.  Married couples only lie to each other about 10% of time.

Men tend to lie more about themselves.  Women tend to bend the truth to protect someone else’s feelings.  Is this ringing a bell for anyone?

Surveys show that 75% of couples in a committed relationship, admit to regularly lying to their partner.  So it seems people can lie about certain things, but ironically are comfortable in telling the truth about their lying ways.

Root Causes of Marital Lies

root cause

It has been demonstrated that your spouse’s untruthfulness can emerge from several root causes.

It’s not just that your lover lies for the sake of deception.  There is usually a telltale reason for why your husband or wife will bend the truth.

Let’s take a look at some of these reasons in order to make some sense of why your significant other may be motivated to deceive.

I think is is important in order to understand the root cause of the untruth and the magnitude of the deception.  You see, liars are better understood and possibly easier to forgive when we understand the motivations behind their behavior.

I want you to appreciate the complex landscape around truth telling.  You have heard of the saying, “best not to throw out the baby with the bathwater”.

That is partly where I am coming from.  Try to take a fuller picture of what is going on with your spouse.  To often, a frustrated and disappointed spouse who was lied to will  cast their marriage partner into the doghouse.

That should be your last resort.

The Seven Reasons Why Your Spouse Will Lie To Your Face

    1. To Avoid Confrontation:  The catalyst for our lying is found deep inside us and it is called “fear”.  Fear can motivate us to do and say some pretty crazy things. Your husband or wife may elect to disguise the truth in order to avoid a disappointing reaction.  Avoidance springs forth from fear and can lead to deceit.   Or perhaps your husband or wife are fearful that they will get into trouble.  I had one client whose husband was petrified to tell his wife about his late night poker game with his close friends.  So he would change the times, dates, and locations of these poker outings and make up elaborate reasons for why he had to be away from the house for several hours.  When a spouse feels compelled to lie for fear of being found out, these mis-truths can just take on a life of their own and before long, an entire secret world emerges from the web of deceit.  So to avoid  confrontation, your husband or wife may construct an entire fantasy world.
    2. To Build Up Oneself (Ego):  We all have an ego, right?  There is no wrong in pumping up one’s ego a bit.  But when we are frequently making up stories or telling fictitious lies to cover up the real truth….well, we are entering into the slippery world of deceit.  I have learned from my consultations with clients, that men usually have more of a problem with this then woman.  I am not certain why, though I suspect it has a lot to do with cultural expectations.  The man is suppose to be the strong one…the winner.  So if your husband is stretching the truth to build up his ego, don’t lose too much sleep over it.  This becomes much more problematic if the behavior becomes the norm in such a way that you seldom know whether your spouse can be trusted with the truth.
    3. To Avoid Hurting Someone’s Feelings:  This form of lying tends to fall into the white lie category which I think is generally not a big problem.  Many of my women clients admit that they will bend the truth or even outright lie in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.  They rationalize that by coloring the facts, they are doing a good thing.  After all, who wants to make damaging and hurtful comments to someone else, particularly if you are close to them.  As with most things in the realm of truth and deception, we need to strike a balance. I believe in many cases, it’s OK to spare someone from unnecessary emotional pain.  Now, the “truth purists” will say, “No, we should always tell the truth”.  OK, I will tell the whole truth.  I believe that advocating that type of thinking is hogwash.  There will be occasions when it is very appropriate to roll out a white lie.  Why?  Because I said so!  So there, let the “truth purists” put that in their pipe and smoke it!
    4. To Serve One’s Own Agenda:  I really am not fond of these types of liars.  Those who frequently deceive only to advance their own agenda or plan are in my book selfish.  Show me a person guided by the principle that their agenda is the only one that matters and I will show you a person who is doomed to have relationship issues.  Of course, we all have agendas to some extent and therefore we are all guilty of being self serving.  But I am focusing on the degree in which some people can be obsessively devoted to their own agenda.  When there is little collaboration and husband and wife are always lying to each other…it’s the marriage that suffers. That should be at the top of each person’s agenda.
    5. To Avoid Shame: Your husband or wife could also be motivated to tell their lies because they wish to avoid shame.  Shame can come in many forms such as belittlement or ridicule.  So while this is not a white lie per se, deceptions or outright untruths can emerge from your spouse’s need to save face.
    6. Delusion Lying: This form of lies is a tough one to talk about.  You may not like me much after you read what I have to say.  But, I am just trying to be truthful!  I think we all suffer from delusions.  Yes, I believe that to be true.  It is a complicated world out there.  What we think are facts and what we wish to be facts is often separated by a very thin line.  Facts and beliefs are frequently merged and at times…delusions emerge.  So bear in mind that we can delude ourselves and we can be deluded.  As a result, certain untruths about things we think we know will arise.  What I am saying, just to be clear, is that all of us have an amazing capacity to delude ourselves and we can also be easy prey for others who wish to fool us.  Just file that away and try to keep an open mind.  Now, there is another form of delusional lying that emerges deep within a person’s frequent need to completely overhaul the known facts about things.  I hope your spouse does not fall into this category because it does make for a very troubled marriage.  It’s one thing to tell little lies to ourselves and others about things.  That is partly an emotional survival mechanism embedded deep in us.  It’s an altogether a different thing when we choose to turn clearly known facts upside down to suit our own jagged purposes.
    7. Habitual Liars: I had a woman contact me the other day to tell me she was convinced her husband was a habitual liar.  He lied about everything, she contended.  It did not matter the size or seriousness of the mistruth.  She stated when her husband had a chance to fib, he took every opportunity deceive.  It’s not terribly unusual for your husband or wife to fall under the spell of often telling lies.  Such deceit is clearly damaging to a relationship.  Sadly, some people that lie with such frequency, may not even be aware of how often they stoop to deception.  Their twisted behavior becomes second nature and often very obvious to their significant other.

15 Top Lies Husband and Wives Tell Each other

Spouses pull from all corners of their imagination to lie as they see fit.  The root causes, which we described above, serve as triggers for these lies to emerge. What might these untruths look like?

From my vantage point of experience, they are often pretty obvious and cover a wide swath of topics.

They range from small, innocent, or even playful lies to those that are downright awful.

Let’s take a look at some of the common examples I gathered from my clients:

  1. “I seldom lie to you.”
  2. “I am not mad at you.”
  3. “I have already made plans…”
  4. “I will be ready soon.”
  5. “I hate you!”
  6. “The kids must have eaten that last of the dessert.”
  7. “No, I was not smoking (or drinking).”
  8. “I don’t need you.”
  9. “I’ll be to bed soon.”
  10. “Yep,  I took out the trash.”
  11. “Sure, that is a beautiful outfit.”
  12. “Back in the day, I was the best…”
  13. “I quit seeing her (him) years ago.”
  14. “No worries, all the bills are paid and up to date.”
  15. “Sure, I believe in God.”

How To Stop Your Spouse From Lying

stop

You can’t completely stop your wife or husband from telling lies.

It is in our make-up to tell little fibs and big whoppers. So accept that.  But you can reduce the motivation and frequency of lies, particularly those that potentially can be damaging to your marriage.

Usually, when we are lied to, we tend to freak out.  We sometimes act with anger, resentment, and throw the mistruth right back into our husband’s or wife’s face, using the worst accusational tone we can muster up.

Fear is the Driver of Most Lies

I would recommend you use the flip side of the emotional coin. So while many people are quick to react in a negative way, I want you to do the reverse.

Most of the time, when a spouse lashes back in anger when a lie is discovered.  That type of reaction does little to prevent lying from re-occurring in the future.  Indeed, the  “lying spouse” has even less incentive to tell the truth  As they process your reaction, they often correctly conclude that if you are told something you don’t like hearing, you will flip out again.

Remember, fear is the driver of most lies.

I would recommend if you are face to face with a suspected or discovered untruth, be calm and rational.  Don’t  jump out of your skin with rage and condemnation aimed at your spouse.

All you are doing is ramping up the emotion and that is seldom the road to modifying your spouse’s behavior.

Ask open ended questions to entice your husband or wife to open up and tell you the truth.  The lie is a withdrawal from your marriage trust account.  So we want to address this behavior.

But a very negative and adverse reaction from you, directed at your spouse, is also a withdrawal from the relationship trust account.

Change the “Liar’s” Playing Field

Liars tend to be creatures of routine. They instinctively come to develop a habit of lying about certain things, all too comfortably.

It’s a bit of a game they play in their mind. They find ways to rationalize the lie.  The root causes of lies spurs them on to spin new lies as it may suit them.

You need to break the pattern.  You need to help your husband or wife find a new and emotionally, healthier habit.

So try to take away the fear factor.  If you catch your spouse in a lie, react the opposite of what they would expect. Coax them to reveal the truth.

So, once the truth has been revealed, explore why they felt it necessary to tell the lie. This will help you understand the root cause and it will also help your spouse get more in touch with their feelings.  It’s possible your husband or wife are partially deluding themselves.  Or perhaps they need to confront their fear.

Then reward you spouse for their truth telling.  Go hug them and tell them how much you love them and how you appreciate the risk they took in telling you a difficult truth.

Forgive them.

The Lie Injures Both of You

But they should know the lie hurt you.  To help them form a new behavioral habit, there needs to be a catalyst.

Don’t use anger or threats.  Use empathy and understanding.  Let them see that their deceitfulness comes with a price…it injures you and the marriage.  Explain to them that ultimately, the lie injures the liar.

Give them some gentle pushback, but the reward from you is the primary lesson they must take out of the encounter.

If you take away their incentive to lie, there will be less lying.  You won’t be able to eliminate every future untruth, but this approach can result in a lot more truth telling.

Tell your spouse that every time they lie, but then catch themselves and tell you the truth, they get a special kiss for truth telling.

Reward the good behavior.

Forgive the bad behavior.

Build a bond of trust with your spouse.

Do Not Treat all Lies the Same

Now the approach I described above is far from foolproof.  Some lies rise to such a level that behavior modification and kiss and forgive is not the appropriate medicine.

If you are dealing with a serious repeat offender, tell your spouse they are ultimately responsible for learning to stop their frequent lying.  It’s a behavior change they have to embrace.  Your spouse needs to learn, with your help, to change from a habit of defaulting to a lie to a new behavior where they will feel “safe” in telling the truth.

Research studies show that it takes about 60 days (on average) for people to learn a new habit. But it can be much faster for some or take longer for others.

Not all lies respond to these tactics.  Some lies are so bad…such as various forms of  betrayal… that there is no surefire, single thing you can do to make it all better. At least not in the short term.

In these cases, something transformative needs to happen to change their behavior or outlook on the relationship.  For some lies (e.g. habitual, compulsive liars), drawing the line and practicing zero tolerance is the most effective way to create a transformative change. Marriage counseling and therapy may be necessary if the frequency and severity of the deceit overwhelms the remaining trust between the couple.