By Théun Mares, March 2, 1998


Théun, my wife and I have decided to separate for now. Can you offer us any guidance on where to from here?


Your marriage had to come to this sooner or later, for as you well know, I have been pointing out to you and your wife all along that there is no warmth in your marriage, let alone love. Where there is no warmth a relationship CANNOT survive, no more than a plant can grow without the warmth of the sun!

Yet, there is also NO NEED to make hasty DE-CISIONS and therefore I believe that your approach for now is a good one! It will do both you and your wife the world of good to separate for a while!

By each of you being in your own SPACE, that is, WITHOUT the continuous influence you have upon one another's perception, your FEELINGS will become much clearer and with that you will IN TIME achieve the needed CLARITY on what is the best thing for you to do!

So, yes, by all means separate for a while, but NOT as enemies, but rather as two FRIENDS, each striving to UNDER-STAND your OWN feelings about each other and about your marriage.


I made many efforts for to take out my husband from a flat of his parents and we moved to a separate rent flat. But he is very lazy and lacking initiative. He got accustomed that although I sometimes tell that I think about his behaviour to him I am not stopping to lavish care and love him. And he go on to behave as before.

I try to understand how it will be best to show him that he is not right and myself to not turn into a strict and boring mother.

Now after we moved to a new place, I got battle him and told him that he should choose between his mother and me. And I said to him what I think about his infantile behaviour. He was offended and said that he will live without me for a while.

It is easy for me to leave him now but is not easy to fight for him. Even if he want to stay with me because it is comfortable for him.

What strategy can you to advise for me? Or is he hopeless? I hope that it is not.


My dear friend, your battle is not easy, not by any means.

From what you share your husband has a severe attitude problem and has been spoilt hopelessly by his mother.

So I am afraid that whatever you do and manage to get him to see, his mother will again undo. But I think you already know this, which is why you told him to choose between his mother and you. So the REAL battle you are facing is with his mother!

However, having said this I must also go on to point out that it is A's CHOICE as to who he wants in his life - his mother or you. And you cannot make this choice for him. Only he can make that choice.

So if I were you, I would find the appropriate time when you and A can sit down QUIETLY to talk. Then tell him that you wish to speak from the heart, and that you want him to LISTEN without defending himself, and then once you are finished you want him to speak to you from the heart as well.

Once he understands this, and agrees to it, then pour out your heart to him. Tell him how much you love him and care for him, and how much you believe in him and in both of you together. Use examples from within your marriage where it has been good between you, and share these with him, telling him how happy it had made you.
Then tell him also what does NOT work for you in your marriage. Be HONEST and do not hold back anything, even if you know it is going to hurt him. Speak your TRUTH ruthlessly!

Then ask him to speak, and just LISTEN. Do not interrupt him, even if he starts to defend himself. Just let him speak and say whatever he wants to say, but listen very, VERY carefully.

Listening is one of the most POWER-FULL tools, for if you TRULY listen, the speaker starts to hear his own words reflected back to him, much like an echo, and very soon he will hear himself talking bullshit, and he will start to talk himself into his own clarity.

After he has finished speaking, smile nicely at him and say thank you! Then say that you need time to digest and to absorb what he has shared with you, and that you expect him to do the same with what you shared with him. Then make a time when to discuss again what you both found out about your discussion.

All of the above presupposes that there is NO alcohol involved during the discussion. Once people are drunk you cannot talk to them!

Relevant Courses:

Relationships III - Investing Responsibly in a Permanent Relationship

Relationships I - Relationships in General - or - This Darned Elusive Happiness

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