020:Discernment Counseling Transcript

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Dave Schramm  00:03

Back by popular demand, we welcome Dr. Bill Doherty back to the show to discuss discernment counseling, which is all about gaining clarity and confidence related to a couple's willingness to stay together and be miserable, move forward with divorce, or commit to working intensely together to save their marriage. We also discuss how common it is to think your marriage might be in trouble and tips for moving forward and making things better. Our guest Dr. Bill Doherty is a professor in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota. In our minds, he is one of the nation's best experts when it comes to marriage and family therapy and helping couples navigate relationship challenges and avoiding divorce. His books include the intentional family and take back your marriage. Among his many awards is the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Family Therapy Academy. We think you're going to absolutely love Dr. Doherty's second visit with us. E njoy the show.

Dave Schramm  01:07

Hey, welcome to stronger marriage connection the doctors are in. My name is Dr. Dave, I am a professor here at Utah State University. I'm alongside licensed psychologist Dr. Liz Hale, and we are dedicating our life's work to bring you the absolute best research, the tips, the tools to help you have the marriage of your dreams. And back by popular demand, we had Dr. Bill Doherty from the University of Minnesota on as our first guest when we launched this podcast and we had an amazing discussion. If you have not tuned into that one, you've got to go back and listen. But today he's back. We're talking discernment counseling, among other things. Dr. Bill Doherty, welcome back to the show.

Dr. Bill Doherty  01:50

Great to be you with you again.

Liz Hale  01:52

So lovely having you, Dr. Bill. One of your key messages today is that modern commitment means taking the necessary steps to prevent divorce. And especially when times are really hard, discernment counseling can be part of that great effort. I've had the privilege of studying your program and becoming a certified discernment counselor myself, and congratulations on spreading the word. You know, I have couples calling me frequently asking me for discernment counseling. So the word is getting out. Nicely done on your end.

Dr. Bill Doherty  02:24

Yeah, with with practically no deliberate marketing. So that's what pretty good.

Liz Hale  02:32

Right. Well, that's even more impressive. We know that traditional therapy is not best for ambivalent couples, and ambivalent couples are when one person's leaning in while the other one's leaning out. That's when traditional marital therapy is just not helpful. But that's where discernment counseling comes in. Tell us why that is, please.

Dr. Bill Doherty  02:52

Well, when people divorce, a lot of times folks say, "well that couple decided to divorce". It's hardly ever a mutual decision. People don't sit down at the kitchen table and somebody says, "well, maybe we should break up and get divorced" and then "yeah, I've been thinking about that, too." It sounds like you're going on vacation, right? Somebody is almost always out ahead. And there's lots of research that supports what I'm saying here. Somebody has been thinking about divorce, often the other person has not been, or if they are they're far less serious about it. They don't tell their spouse. I mean, it's a scary thing. It's a scary thing to be thinking of ending the marriage. Or they maybe confide in friends, or maybe they go to a therapist. And then at some point, either sometimes in a big argument, they say I want to divorce or some other time they bring it up and it's often a shock to the, what we call, the leaning in spouse. We talk about the leaning out and the leaning in person. The leaver or the leaning. It's often a shock to that person, it kind of throws them. And so you have those people in different emotional states, you know, one is sort of glad to get it out, and they're leaning out. And the other is propelled into this crisis that they didn't want to have happen. And so, we call these mixed agenda couples, different agendas. Now the person who is leaning out often hasn't made an irrevocable decision. They're just miserable and they're bringing it up. They have maybe some hope, maybe not a lot, but they haven't delivered divorce papers. And so this couple, traditionally, they go to a marriage counselor/marriage therapist and they often fail, as you said, Liz, in that situation, because marriage therapy/couples therapy is set up for a situation in which both people have a basic interest in repairing the relationship, they're both there. And they may think it's the other person's fault, mostly, but they're there because we want to see if we can fix this. In mixed agenda couples, the leaning out spouse is not only unsure they want to stay in the marriage, they're not sure that therapy is going to help at all. Okay, so we call dual ambivalence, when a person thinks "I'm not sure I want to be in the marriage, I'm not sure I want to be here, I'm out of energy." And then you have this other gung-ho person who says, "I want to save the marriage." So in couples therapy, there hasn't been a way to deal with these people other than to try to launch the therapy, you know, just get going. Well, what happens is the leaning out person is not in it, and after a session or two they tell the therapists, well, this isn't working. And that's 100% of the time, sometimes they come around. But this is a presentation of what's common. And so I developed discernment counseling as a way to help people assess whether they want to work on the marriage, or whether they want to get divorced, or maybe neither of the above. But we say the goals are clarity and confidence, about a direction for the marriage, based on a deeper understanding of what's happened to the marriage and each person's contributions to the problems. Clarity and confidence based on what's happened and what's my role. And as Liz was saying, we talk separately to the leaning out one and the leaning in one because they have different agendas. The leaning in one, what I try to help them do in discernment counseling, is bring their best self to this crisis. Present themselves in a way that makes them more likely that their spouse will want to work with them, to seek therapy and to restore, and to not make the common mistakes that they make, like begging or pleading or scolding or calling her parents and saying, "what kind of daughter did you raise?" This doesn't help your case. What I say to those people, it's more often guys, I say "you're making yourself the least attractive spouse on the planet right now, and your goal is to encourage your spouse to work with you." So with them, bringing the best self forward and to really try to hear and understand the pain that their spouse is in. No more denial here. What's this person's saying? How am I part of that? And just really hear. With the leaning out one, we're trying to help them make a decision about whether to try to restore the marriage with couples therapy, whether to divorce, or whether to do neither. And we try to help them have a more complex narrative and more complex understanding of what's happened. When people are looking to divorce there's a story they tell themselves. This is why how we used to be, this is how we are now, and here's how we got to this terrible place. Everybody's narrative of their own marriage is incomplete. Often self serving. It's just human nature. And so we try to help them understand what's happening in a more complex way. That puts them as an actor in the drama, not as the passive recipient of stuff their spouse has given them.

Liz Hale  08:46

Their accountability, their responsibility, right?

Dr. Bill Doherty  08:49

Yeah, we co-create our marriages. So we try to help them, in a non-blaming way, understand how they have been part of the creation of this marriage. And then we help them focus on what we call three paths. Path one is co-ownership in either divorce or getting help. Path two is the separation/divorce path. And path three is a six month effort in couples therapy, maybe with other help, and with divorce off the table to see if you can put your marriage onto a path of reconciliation and healing. Then make a decision at the six months whether you think at this point, after help, you can make it work. And the big breakthroughs with this is to understanding that when people are thinking about divorce, they think they only have two paths: gut it out and be miserable, because they don't see change happening. Or divorce. And it's tough to be choosing, particularly if you're looking at decades ahead and you're unhappy. And we offer up a third option, which is not to be there forever. Because that's too big, it's too big a leap for somebody who's right on the precipice. A six month period, but you have to take divorce off the table. If you've been having an affair, that has to be over. A six month all out effort, with both people having an agenda for what they're going to work on. So that's what it is in a nutshell.

Liz Hale  10:29

It's so hopeful. So hopeful Bill.

Dave Schramm  10:32

Yeah. That's amazing. The research, Bill, is loving this. And I'm curious, as far as research effectiveness, can you give us a case study or something?

Dr. Bill Doherty  10:44

Yeah, we have a journal article we followed at the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project at the University of Minnesota. We followed 100 consecutive cases for two years and ambled to look at which path they  took at the end of the summer counseling, which is limited to five sessions. So we followed them for two years, and then saw who reconciled, who got divorced, and who did neither. And we found that they all were very high distress, in fact to be clinically research nerdy, they were, on average, a standard deviation less happy than clinical couples going to therapy are. I mean, they were really, really in bad shape. And about half of them managed to save their marriage, and most of the other half got divorced. And then there were some who did neither, they were just on hold. And then there's been some other smaller scale research, qualitative research on something we hoped would happen, we have a little bit of evidence for. That those who get divorced do a better job of co-parenting. Because that's one of our goals if they are going to divorce. I mean, we're dealing with the intensive care unit here. So you're going to have people who are not going to make it. But is the death better? if you will. And so we're looking at whether, particularly around co-parenting, if the divorce process is better. And the last thing I'll say on that is that the only failure of discernment counseling, in my view, is if nobody learns anything. Divorce is not a failure of the process. Some folks, by the time they get to us, they're too far gone. But we want them to learn something here. Not just "I married the wrong person" or "This person is a jerk" or whatever. But what happened here, and one of the things I say to divorcing, leaning out spouses is "you can't divorce yourself". We carry ourselves with us. So if we could reduce the divorce rate of subsequent marriages, I would be happy.

Liz Hale  13:12

Me too. I often say that to couples - "wherever I go, there I am". So I'm going to leave this marriage and I'm going to go over here and have this marriage over here. But I'm gonna hear the same darn complaints now from my new partner as I heard from my former partner, right? Because wherever I go, there I go.

Dave Schramm  13:33

We'll be right back after this brief message.

Dave Schramm  13:45

And we're back, let's dive right in.

Liz Hale  13:48

Do you have any couples standout to you Dr. Doherty, about those that have benefited from discernment counseling? Do you have an example or two on a personal level?

Dr. Bill Doherty  14:00

Yeah, so there's lots that sort of go through my mind. In our last conversation, we talked about how couples therapy cannot be helpful sometimes. In discernment counseling, we do an assessment and one of our assessment questions is about what they've done to try to repair the marriage. And more than half of the people that come to us have tried couples therapy before so I'm thinking of a couple who has been in marriage counseling three times. And part of the demoralisation, helplessness of the wife was they had tried three times to prepare. So it's sort of like you're seeing the doctor and there's three rounds of chemo that you've done. Okay, well, maybe it's time to let it go. And when I dug down into what the counseling was, it was very brief each time, each time the counselor ended up seeing the wife until the end, saying she had more of the problems and the husband was off the hook. And in one of the cases they didn't learn anything about their relationship, they were given little tips and tools and card games to play. Which can be fine if you're going to a marriage enrichment workshop. But when you're in serious trouble, and you haven't had sex for nine months, and the therapist is handing you little tools... Anyway, the husband wasn't that motivated to repair but now he's motivated because his wife threatened to leave them. And I was able to help him bring himself forward and show what he was when he was hearing more, what he was getting about his preoccupation with his work, his distance. You know, his wife was classic, she was the wife doing everything and he just did his job, but he didn't listen to her complaints. And he was able to understand how lonely that made her feel, how taken for granted she felt, and that she had a career before now didn't and she was disatisfy. He would blow that off before and now he was not blowing it off, he was he was getting it, he had his wake up call. And the wife admitted he was already changing. But on her end, she didn't see what more she could learn because she was reading all the books, been in personal therapy for 11 years, they tried couples therapy. And I was able to help her see that she was focusing on her husband's limitations and not her own. I mean, she was an expert on his psyche, and not so much on her own. And I pointed out to her, this is an example of language, I'm not using discernment counseling. I was talking to her by herself and she gave me a couple paragraphs about her husband's limitations, and blah blah blah, and why she thought he couldn't change. And then I said, so we've talked a bit before but give me a sense of how you look at your contributions to the marriage, I know you've thought about this. And she gave me a sentence. So I said, you know, you're a person who is good with words. And you gave me two paragraphs about your husband, which made sense to me, you're pretty good analysts there. And you just gave me one sentence with no compound clauses about your contributions. And so we delved into that more. And here's the thing that people may not realize- if somebody is thinking of leaving their marriage because their spouse won't change, a lot of times, it's because they're not sure they can change, or they don't have their own agenda for change, and they put it on their spouse. So that's what she came to, she realized that she spent all of her time focusing on how her husband had to change to make her happy, and that she had given herself away. And that she wasn't looking at how she was part of this marriage. So with that in mind, it was now clear to her that she should choose this path three and work on the relationship. Because part of what she realized is, back to what you're saying Liz, she had changes, she had things she needed to work on in this or any other relationship. For instance, she would raise an issue, get passive, and if he didn't respond she'd just back away and then freeze him out for three days. That was her conflict pattern. This is not exactly a good way to do intimacy and marriage. And if she gets divorce here, why is she going to necessarily be any good any better and another marriage? Okay, so she realized not only did she she really cared for this guy, but that she could work on herself in the couples therapy, to learn to have what I call solid self - to be connected intimately and to have good boundaries and know what you feel, what you want, what you stand for, to have both of those. A solid self. And so here's the irony, and this happens all the time in discernment counseling - by focusing on her own flaws, she felt more hopeful. She could do something about those. You can't change your spouse, but you can change yourself.

Liz Hale  19:56

There's got to be nothing better than when you see a couple turn around like that. I see miracles in my office and there's just nothing more thrilling. And I'm just so grateful for the tool of discernment counseling Dr. Doherty, thank you for that.

Dave Schramm  20:12

I think, Bill that there are couples who are listening right now to this and thinking, "yes, this is what I need, I need to go see a discernment counselor to kind of help us decide on what direction/path we need to go". I also think that there are some listeners right now who have had thoughts or it's crossed their mind or they've had a blow up and think "should I get divorced or not?" You're probably aware of some research that I did with Dr. Alan Hawkins and a colleague of yours Dr. Steve Harris. They're at University of Minnesota, who's also trained in discernment counseling. We did a study on divorce ideation, we want to know how often are people thinking about divorce. We surveyed over 3000 people in the United States and one of the many questions we asked was, "have you ever thought your marriage was in serious trouble?" And 53%? Said Yes and 25%, one out of four of our sample indicated they thought about divorce within the past six months. So in other words, thinking your marriage might be in trouble is fairly common. Have you found similar findings? And what do you make of that?

Dr. Bill Doherty  21:17

Well, I know you guys did the groundbreaking research there. I was so thrilled with that research because you were looking at the whole population. In therapy, we see people who choose to come in our door. And so we go in depth with a few people, but your study looked at a nationally representative sample. So I was really excited about that. But what it says is that thoughts about divorce, thoughts about serious problems in the marriage are pretty common. And people are not to panic. It's a wake up call. It's not Doomsday, it's a wake up call. And so for people who are experiencing that wake up call now, who are listening, a key thing is to be willing to look in the mirror about yourself in the relationship. To not just focus on what you're not getting from this other flawed individual. But to invite yourself to look at how you may have signed an unconscious contract, many years ago, that you were not going to be fully honest with the other person, for example. That when the other person who gives temper tantrums would yell at you or put you down, you would take that. And that you wouldn't say, "This isn't gonna fly. Nobody calls me names like that. I know you're upset with me but I'm not gonna have this". You find out your spouse is some drunk. Okay. Hmm. Well, do you just sort of take the boots off and put them in bed like the old cowboy movies? And then give them an aspirin in the morning? Or should you have said "this is a wake up call, we got to really talk now". What I'm saying is we co-create by accepting or not what our spouse does and then we add in our own contributions to problems. And so doing that kind of inventory, on the assumption that I've been a part of this, is a really important thing, a really important thing to be thinking of as a leaning out spouse. And then getting help before you're so demoralized that you're ready to call the divorce lawyer. This means being honest with your spouse. We give some give some language to this. So how do you bring up the fact that your marriage is in a lot of trouble without condemning your partner? And so we offer some language on this modern commitment at the Doherty relationship institute. So for example, you can tell your spouse who maybe has refused to go to therapy with you something like "i'm scared now. I'm scared for our marriage because I love you and I want to be with you but I'm finding my hope declining. I'm finding, and this is very scary to say, my commitment kind of wavering. And I don't like these feelings. It scares me. I think we need help. And I think we're getting into trouble, I'm certainly in trouble in this marriage. And would you please, please come with me and get some help". Notice how none of that blamed the spouse. What people are more apt to do is to say, "I'm sick and tired of you doing this and this and this and this. I've been telling us for the last four years. Let's go to therapy so you can fix yourself". Well, you will get about 99 times out of 100, a defensive response. A - what you're saying about me is not true, or it's exaggerated. Or B - you're just as bad and by the way, those shrinks charge too muhc money and they don't help anybody. Well, there's one more bit of evidence that this marriage can't work and you just elicited it. You just made it happen by the way you brought it up. Vulnerability without attack. That's an example of what to say. Now, I want to say something for the leaning in partner, because there'll be those people out there listening in to. So your spouse is signaling that they may want divorce and you don't want it. What can you do? And my daughter, who's just brilliant at these sorts of things, said to me one day, "your good friend Peter called me from Boston, he has to go and teach his high school students in five minutes, he calls me and said his wife just said she wants to leave him". This is not a true by the way. But your friend calls, you have five minutes, what would you say? And so what came out of me was to find a calm time and to say, "I clearly have not been listening well enough to you. Clearly you're telling me you're in a lot of pain, a lot of stress in the marriage and I know I'm a part of that, maybe even a big part. And I haven't been listening to you. Would you be willing to tell me again and I will only listen, what is making you miserable and unhappy in our marriage. And I can't promise I'm going to fix anything right now but I realize I haven't been hearing you". And then the directions are to only listen. And at the end say "Thank you. I'm gonna take this to heart". Don't defend yourself. Don't attack. And that would be an example of something that a leaning in person could say. "I know I've not been listening and I have to try". 

Dave Schramm  28:08

Humility, that soft humility, open heart humility. Yeah. Bill, I think back to even some research that I've done in Missouri. I taught a divorce education class for nine years about three times a month, and so I taught 1000s. So they've already been through th process, right? They've been through it. Some will even reconcile after they watched the class. But I decided to survey six months to a year after they've divorced and I asked them some questions. One of the questions was do you have any any regrets? And 25%, one out of four, said that they have some regrets about getting a divorce. And about 12%, or one and eight, said that looking back they no longer were confident that they made the right decision to divorce. So even after the fact, some have this longing, like I wish I could have done something more, but now feel like it's too late.

Dr. Bill Doherty  29:08

Well, it's interesting because I researched with couples while they were in the divorce process, we did this through the family court here in Minneapolis. And in 12% of the cases, both people said they would be open to a reconciliation service if one were available. Both people. And most of these folks were far along in the process because people took it right after the divorce education class, a lot of people postpone that. So these are people well into the process. When we broke it down by where they were in the process, those numbers are even higher. In other words, if you get people at the point at which they file, or even better, before they get the divorce professionals involved. So when I talk with divorce lawyers and mediators about this research, I say there are a lot of what we call divorce ambivalence. In fact, 40% of individual spouses in our study said they were not sure if divorce was the right thing to do, or they didn't want the divorce. 40% at an individual level. So we call this divorce ambivalence and we have a way for divorce lawyers and mediators, if they want to, we have a little questionnaire they can give people to assess their divorce ambivalence. And we've done research and actually just finished with this study in Iran with the same questions and it brings out the ambivalence. So here are the four things people can check. One is, I'm done with this marriage and I can't think of anything that would change my mind, even if my spouse made major changes. Two, I have mixed feelings about the divorce. Sometimes I think it's good idea and sometimes I'm not sure. The third is, I would consider reconciling if my spouse made major changes. And the fourth one is that I don't want this divorce and I would do anything to keep my marriage. And again, it depends on the study, but between 30 and 40% of individuals are not in the first one. In other words, they have divorce ambivalence - mixed feelings, they would consider reconciling or they really want to. That's a lot of people. Divorce lawyers use this questionnaire in their office and it's the same percentages. There are a lot of people who are not sure this is the best thing. And part of my mission is to at least prepare therapists and others, like clergy, to recognize this ambivalence and not just charge ahead. Because the judge who originally approached me about, Judge Rich Peterson, he said, in this court everything is designed that once somebody files to get them through, boom - like a chute opens, get everybody through, like clearing criminal cases, clear it. And give them help, give them support, minimize the damage, the kids and all that. But if somebody says, I'm not so sure this is what I want to do, everything is lined up to say, no keep going. Kind of like pre wedding jitters. We already rented the hall. You already have the dress here. But you know, with weddings, people say, "Oh, it'll work out". Well, with pre divorce jitters, they're not given enough support. But you can slow it down. Stew Webb, who is the founder of collaborative divorce law, who I approached when we first did this research, I was wondering what he would think of it. And he loved it, he said why not help people do what's best for them as they see it? And just because you're a divorce lawyer doesn't mean divorce is the best thing for them. And then he says something I quote a lot. And that is, "divorce is never an emergency decision". A separation might be, another is if you're being harmed, or if somebody is taking all the money. But divorce is a legal process that plays out over an extended period of time. It's never an emergency decision. To move out could be. There are emergencies that are threatening situations. But divorce is not that. So you can slow it down and look at your options. Look in the mirror, get help, be humble about the fact that your marriage is in trouble rather than certain that you figured it out because you haven't.

Liz Hale  33:48

So well said. So we understand now that with ambivalent couples, where one's leaning in one's laying out, discernment counseling can be the best approach. And individuals can find your discernment counselors on a particular site? I don't even know what that is Bill, remind me.

Dr. Bill Doherty  34:04

Discernmentcounselors.com. And they can actually take this little quiz with the four categories, they can see where and everything and get some immediate help. So we want to help people learn how to bring it up to folks. So for example, if somebody thinks discernment counseling might be good for them, we recommend you to send them the link, after you've talked to your spouse about all of this, so they can read about it. Okay, now one advantage of discernment counseling for the leaning out spouse, who's often the ambivalent one about therapy, is that it's no more than five sessions and you only are choosing to go to the first one. Each time you decide whether to do a second, a third, a fourth or fifth. So we did that on purpose. It's a low bar of commitment. Would you come once? And we can learn from it. Second thing is that unlike couples therapy, and this is the key difference with couples therapy, the goal is not to improve the marriage. The goal is not to solve the problems or to bring people closer. The goal is for them to see if the problems are solvable and if they want to work on them. And as you know Liz, this is a big part of the training because the people that do this are couple's therapists who are used to getting in there and trying to help people fix things. If you try to do that with somebody who isn't so sure they want to try, it'll fail.

Liz Hale  35:39

It sure will. For those couples that are on the same page, they both want to come in and they want to get some skills, they realize that they both have a role, and they're both all the way in. And in your book take back your marriage, in the second edition, you have some questions. It's a list of do's and don'ts for people to really seek out a therapist that might be not harmful, but helpful. What are some of those things to watch out for Bill?

Dr. Bill Doherty  36:04

Well for one thing, find out anyway you can, and this going to be hard, but find out whether somebody does a lot of marriage counseling, couples therapy, or whether they're primarily an individual counselor who does some couples work. A survey done some years ago found that 80% of private practice therapist say they do couples therapy. But you know that not many are trained, they haven't been trained. So don't see somebody whose website says they've dealt with depression, anxiety, ADHD, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, you know, oh and couples. Right? They're signaling something here. And then look for, because everybody has a website now, look for indications on their website that they are supportive of marriage and commitment. Look for some signals that they are happy when couples make it. Say you're calling and you say "I'm afraid if we don't do this my spouse could divorce me" and you were to get back from somebody, "well, whether people divorce or not really doesn't matter to me. I'm here to help people just have a good relationship, whether that's married or divorced". You should run for the hills, because that's the classic neutrality. And you're looking for somebody who will support you in that commitment. The rest is hard Liz, as you know, because how people actually conduct sessions, you don't know until you get there. But once you've gone there, does the therapist set a structure for this? Or let just let one of you do all the talking and the other kind of be the more silent partner? Do they let you interrupt each other? Are you going in and having the same arguments there that you have at home? And with the therapist saying afterwards to you, "hmm you both seem upset". Like, come on. So you have to have somebody who structures and somebody who connects with both people. So do both of you feel heard? Do both of you feel you have a connection? Those are the key things. Is there a structure? Is there a plan? Is there some sort of like, okay, this person is leading us through a process? Those are the things you get when you're actually in it.

Liz Hale  38:45

Good reminders, I like that.

Dave Schramm  38:48

Yeah. Wow. Dr. Doherty, this has been another amazing discussion. I vote we bring you back on 20 more times, how about that? We just keep plowing through, because it's so helpful. For me, it feels like there can be hope, there can be healing and help if we just kind of pause, intentionally pause and say, "Hey, what do we want?" "I apologize. Let me hear you, understand you".  All of these things that we've been talking about can be very powerful for both those couples who are in the midst of it, as well as maybe a parent who's listening, you know, "how do I help my child or a cousin or someone who's going through something like this?" So very helpful. And Bill, before we wrap up, we love to have a takeaway of the day of all the great stuff that we've talked about. Do you have something that you hope that listeners will take away today?

Dr. Bill Doherty  39:44

Well, I guess two parts. One is, although divorce is sometimes tragically necessary, when people are often behaving disfunctionally and badly, most divorces are unnecessary and can be prevented if you approach it with humility and commitment and passion to heal what you've co-created.

Dave Schramm  40:16

Yeah, I like that. I think my takeaway is even somewhat related. And that's regarding the thoughts, the thinking patterns, the divorce ideations and just thinking about divorce. It's relatively common and having that doesn't mean that your relationship is doomed. It's more like a little signal. It's a little kind of a bell going off that says, "hey, maybe we should look into this a little bit more". It's not time to panic. But consider yourself normal if that thought has ever crossed your mind. It's a little signal that maybe we need to do some more. Liz, what's your takeaway today?

Liz Hale  40:51

A couple of things. You know, I love the new languaging that Dr. Bill Doherty has mentioned about saying to a partner, "Look I am scared, I am sad, I'm worried for us. I don't think either one of us are happy. I feel like we need to get some help. Would you be willing to come with me? I will do anything for our marriage and for you. I want us to really save this and then get back on track. I believe in us." Just new languaging versus the blaming. Every time I point the finger at you, as the adage goes, there's all those fingers pointing back at me. I have to look at the mirror, I have to be accountable and responsible. Only then can we start to make a difference in our relationships.

Dave Schramm  41:36

Yeah, well said. Dr. Doherty, any final thoughts before we go?

Dr. Bill Doherty  41:41

No, I like listening to you guys. That's beautiful.

Liz Hale  41:44

That's how we fell about you, by the way.

Dave Schramm  41:47

Yeah. Well, we sure appreciate you. Again, the great books, we're gonna post those in the show notes along with the websites that we've talked about, those will all be in the show notes. But that's all we have time for today on another episode of stronger marriage connection. Thanks so much for your support and we'll see you next time. Thanks for joining us today. Hey, do us a favor and take a few minutes to subscribe to our podcasts and the Utah marriage commission YouTube channel where you can watch this and every episode of the show. When you hit the like button and leave a comment. Your feedback helps us improve the show. And don't forget to share this episode with a friend. You can also follow connect with us on Instagram, at stronger marriage life and on Facebook at stronger marriage. Be sure to share with us what topics you want us to explore or what you loved about today's episode. If you want even more resources to improve your relationship connection, visit our website at stronger Marriage dot War, where you'll find free workshops, webinars, relationship surveys and more. Each episode of stronger marriage connection is hosted and sponsored by the Utah marriage commission at Utah State University. And finally, a big thanks to our producers Rex Polanis and Alexis Allcott and the team at Utah State University and you our audience, you make this show possible