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How to Solve Relationship Problems Without Breaking Up

How to Solve Relationship Problems Without Breaking Up

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Every Couple Goes Through Hard Times.



Has your relationship been feeling hard lately? Arguing, bickering, sullen silences, critical comments, and rampant invalidation? If so, you’re not alone. Virtually every couple has gone through rough patches like these where things feel challenging: Frustrating, hurtful, angering, and stressful.


When your relationship is in a fragile place, even the most innocent comments or situations can trigger a conflict and it feels like a new fight is always simmering just under the surface. Even when you try to have fun together, it quickly goes off the rails. You might even start avoiding each other in order to prevent a new disagreement.


Relationship problems like these are exhausting, but mentally and emotionally draining too. Your relationship should be a source of comfort and support, not one of stress and anxiety. If you’re normal, at a certain point, it starts to feel unsustainable to keep going as you have been, and start searching for solutions. You may even start entertaining the “final solution” of breaking up or getting divorced.


Can This Relationship Be Saved?


If your relationship has been having problems for a while, you may be feeling helpless about how to save your relationship, and worried that things might not work out between the two of you. It is normal to wonder if this relationship can be saved. Of course, this is a scary place to be in, particularly if you really want a relationship to work. But it’s true: When you’ve been trying over and over again to communicate and solve the problems in your relationship and it’s not working… everyone starts to wonder if this is the end of the road for their relationship.


When relationship problems persist and nothing seems to help, it’s normal to start to doubt your compatibility, or think that you and your partner are just too different in your values or personalities. You may be wondering if your partner CAN learn how to communicate, or whether they are even willing to work with you to make the marriage or relationship better. You might think about trying marriage counseling or couples therapy, but then think, “How would a marriage counselor saying what I’ve been saying have any impact at all? What’s the point of marriage counseling when they refuse to change?”


While this mindset is absolutely normal and natural, if it’s indulged for too long it’s likely to end in divorce or a break up. Why? Because you’re convincing yourself that nothing can be done, and in doing so, may be closing yourself off to solutions. I’m here to tell you that you may have more options than you currently realize.


Thinking About Leaving Your Relationship? Not So Fast…


If you’ve been feeling badly in your relationship for a while, you might even be harboring escape fantasies: Browsing online for apartments, thinking about what you’d say to the kids, and what your life might look like if you’re finally free of the relationship that’s been feeling so frustrating and hurtful. It can start to seem like divorce or leaving is the only option.

But that is rarely the case. Just because what you have been doing hasn’t worked, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a path forward that will work. (It just might look different than you were anticipating).


As a marriage counselor, I know first hand that some relationships cannot be saved. However, many more can. And, sadly, most of the time people get divorced because they don’t know how to resolve the problems in their relationship, and lose hope that things can ever get better. However, it is very rare that evidence-based couples counseling doesn’t work when two people care enough about their relationship to try (and are given the right tools and supports to be successful).


Consider this: Even if you do divorce, and form a new relationship with a new person, chances are that sooner or later you’ll arrive in a similar place — feeling frustrated by your relationship, and at a cross roads where you either grow together or grow apart. (Read: Why Your Relationship is Worth Saving)


It’s easy to start creating a narrative about how “things shouldn’t be this hard” or “this is not normal.” The truth is that unless this is a genuinely toxic or abusive relationship, all normal couples go through times just like this. You’re normal. I dare you to find one person who’s been married or partnered for more than about 4 years who has not, at some point, felt exactly the way you do.


There is hope for your relationship: Couples, with the right support, can grow together and not just resolve their problems but come out the other side being stronger, happier and genuinely more satisfied with their relationships — not in spite of going through the hard times, but because of them.


Learning How to Grow, Together


When couples inevitably get to the point where communication has broken down, and resentments build up… they have the opportunity to do some serious growth work together. Through this process, you have the chance to be understood, cared for, heard, and respected by each other. You also get the chance to solve problems together as a couple, and work together to build the type of life and relationship that you want.

Without going through the hard times, you wouldn’t have the opportunity or motivation to get really real and embrace the challenge of growth that your marriage requires.


How to Save Your Relationship, When It Feels Like It’s On The Brink


There is a path forward, that can bring you two back together again. It’s actually fairly simple (but not easy).

Listen to this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast for advice from a marriage counselor for how you can get your relationship back on track.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

xo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby



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How to Save Your Relationship Without Breaking Up

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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How to Stop a Divorce and Save Your Marriage

How to Stop a Divorce and Save Your Marriage

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Relationship Help

What to do when your husband or wife wants a divorce… and you don’t.

(Note: This episode was first released in January of 2017. Why again now? Because divorce filings are most common in February and March, and in August and September. I hope the information in this podcast helps you head a split off at the pass… LMB)


One of the scariest things that can happen over the course of a marriage is when one person gets so fed up and frustrated they ask for (or threaten) a divorce. In my experience as a marriage counselor, this can break one of two ways: It either leads couples into a “transformational crisis” where they make positive and often long-overdue changes to their relationship, or it’s the beginning of the end.

Preventing Divorce

Today on the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I’m going to be giving you some real-world advice on what to do if your husband or wife asks for a divorce.

How you handle yourself in the hours, days and weeks after your partner has asked for a divorce can make all the difference as to how things unfold. I believe that you often can stop a divorce from happening if you are able to stay in control of yourself and rise above the immediate emotions of the situation. (Particularly if asking for a divorce is more of a “cry for help” rather than a serious and pre-meditated intention of your partner).

Listen to the podcast for some insight into why divorce happens, and to get practical anti-divorce advice on how to handle yourself if you want the best shot of saving your marriage.

When You Can’t Stop a Divorce

And, unfortunately, there are also situations where people are blindsided by divorces that they cannot stop. In these instances, as awful as they are, you need to make a shift out of your feelings and get into “survival mode.” There are practical steps that need to be taken in order to ensure your long-term financial safety and the wellbeing of your children.

To give you some guidance on the next practical steps forward I’ve enlisted the support of my colleague, professional divorce mediator Denisa Tova of faircoloradodivorce.com. She’ll be giving you some insight into the process of divorce, and the steps you can take to ensure that your divorce process is as collaborative, civilized, and healthy as is possible.

I hope that all the advice helps you find your way through this confusing, and scary time, and that the path forward is one of growth for you — no matter how things unfold.

With love and respect,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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How To Stop a Divorce and Save Your Marriage

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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How to Handle a “January Relationship Crisis”

How to Handle a “January Relationship Crisis”

Relationship on the Brink? Don’t Panic: It’s Just January.

Christmas shopping is over… and now you are shopping for a marriage counselor.

Welcome to the January Relationship Crisis

I’ve been a marriage counselor and couples therapist for a long time, and have observed that certain times of year are particularly difficult for couples. The period just after the holidays is one of them. Why? Holidays, despite being fun and fantastic in many ways, often put strains on a relationship. Stressful trips and time spent with extended family, financial strains, and sheer busyness can sap the energy out of a marriage.

But also, more insidiously, is that people who have had issues with their relationships and who have been considering making changes (as in, breaking up or asking for a divorce) often table those discussions until after the holidays. Then, with fresh energy to make sweeping changes around the time of the new year, they sometimes blindside their partner with all the things they’ve been keeping to themselves since October.

If this is happening to you right now, and you’re feeling scared and hurt, there is something I want you to know:

This is a good thing.

I’m sure that you would prefer to not be going through this. However, the fact that you two are talking about your relationship — or even fighting about — it is a positive sign. It means that you both care enough to try to fight for your relationship, and make it better.

How do I know this? Because I’ve been a marriage counselor for a long time. When relationships are really in trouble, one of the things that happens is that fighting stops. When someone stops fighting, it means that they no longer believe that change is possible. They’ve given up. They might not even care anymore. And that, my friend, is the drum-beat of a breakup or divorce looming on the horizon.

So if you’re fighting right now, take heart: It means that you’re both still in the ring. (Even if you’re currently verbally punching each other in the nose.)

Here are a few tips to help you use this opportunity as a turning point for positive change in your relationship:

What To Do When Your Relationship is in Crisis

  • Seek to understand your partner’s point of view, non-defensively.
  • Let your partner know you’re willing to work on it.
  • Communicate that you care that your partner is hurting.
  • Focus on the positive aspects of your relationship.

What NOT to Do When Your Relationship is in Crisis

  • Get defensive
  • Launch a counter-attack
  • Refuse to discuss issues
  • Minimize or reject your partner’s feelings
  • Become over-focused on problems at the expense of everything else

Of course, all these things are difficult to do when you are feeling angry or hurt. That is normal. Many couples require the support of a third person to help them have talk through emotionally loaded topics without it turning into a fight. In my opinion, couples who use this opportunity to get some help get a chance to increase their understanding of each other, make necessary changes to their relationship, and do important work that will make their relationship better, stronger, happier and more fulfilling than ever before.

So many couples who go through this together, and use it as an opportunity for constructive change, get to the other side and say: “We’re so glad this happened.” Because without that rocky patch, nothing would have changed.

Growth is scary. It is not always comfortable. It takes an enormous amount of courage, hope and love to stay in the ring with each other and work through tough stuff — especially when you’re hurting and angry. But saving your marriage is worth it.

So hang in there, and use this time to launch a positive new chapter in your relationship.

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby



Growing Self Counseling & Coaching
Growing Self