Can They Change?

It’s a common question I hear from spouses: can my spouse really change?

The easy answer is YES.

The harder answer is, if they want to and if you take the right steps.

The most difficult answer is, if they want to, and if you take the right steps, and there are no guarantees even if you do get the right help; but it’s probably worth the journey to find out before you end it.

I’ve seen very tough cases over the years, and I truly have seen change, breakthrough, and yes even miracles you’d have never thought possible.

But it almost never comes by doing the same thing over and over again. It usually requires a different approach and it usually requires the motivated spouse who is trying to see change, to take some either drastic or calculated steps, if you will, to see change. It was that way with Samantha and I.

It might be an EMS Weekend. It may take getting a session with Rick over the phone or in person. It will also be a long term process and not a short term, quick fix. It may even take an ems weekend, then periodic sessions with Rick, or one of the other therapists, for a while if it’s a truly difficult situation which requires special circumstances.

As you can gather, there is no flash in the pan, overnight fix. While the ems weekend is a three day weekend, followed by a six week after care program, it’s also an intensive with thirty plus hours of insight and personal care unlike most anything you’ll find out there for both spouse’s.

When spouses get frustrated I usually ask them how long this dysfunction has been going on. I then remind them this will not be fixed overnight, and it probably shouldn’t be. There is a necessary process which must take shape to bring change, healing and brokenness to both spouse’s and each has their own timeline. It hurts like hell, if I’m being honest, but there is a purpose in the pain.

It’s agonizing when you are the motivated spouse, but wonder if you should go to the well one more time, so to speak. We’d almost rather talk about how hard it is, but not take steps to see change or growth as it’s an uncertain future. Some would be more comfortable using their mate’s resistance as an excuse to why they wouldn’t spend the money, or take steps to get help before ending it. (Please don’t misunderstand me, that’s certainly not the case all the time, but it is in fact the case sometimes).  

I’ve talked to many in tears who have come to me later and admitted they had no clue how painful walking away would be. Some let their pride get in the way as they wanted their spouse, the cheater, to be the one to get help. If the unfaithful one couldn’t see the need for help, they were comfortable allowing their frustration to motivate them to just sit and stir. It’s unfortunate as they may have missed a chance at change due to pride.

Divorce is ugly and I’ve walked many through it. Every one of them has told me of the nightmare it was, how unprepared they were for it and how gut wrenching it was for both spouse’s as well as their kids. Before heading down that road, I would plead with you to humble yourself one more time and really see that all efforts have been exhausted before you put yourself, your kids and yes even your spouse though the pain of a divorce.

In the end though, it may be time for that. You may have exhausted all roads to the point where you have no other sane options. Unfortunately there is no way around it and divorcing may be the very best thing for you and all parties involved.  It will take courage to walk it out.

But before then, I hope and pray you’ll reconsider and give expert care a chance to get involved.

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