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I know what you are probably thinking: “Ronnie, you and Lamar have made it your mission to support relationships and marriage. And, relationships are not perfect, they have their ups and their downs … their ebbs and flows. So why in the world would you tell someone to get out?”
And here is what I say to that: Lamar and I want everyone to be empowered with the right tools that will enable them to have healthy unions and to be able to face every storm or trial that comes their way. We believe that you should have thriving relationships, and not just relationships that are simply surviving. And while every relationship goes through its trials, there is a big difference between a bad spell and a five, 10, or 20 year period of suffering arguing, fighting, and just all out dysfunction.
Lamar and I get letters, almost daily, from people that are hurting. And they are staying in marriages, for 15 to 20 years or more, with a spouse that is a serial cheater, or that is verbally or physically abusive. These people are in relationships with no intimacy, no affection, and no cohesion. And, they are writing to us because they don’t know what to do next.
And my answer to them is, GET OUT. But wait … get out does not necessarily mean leaving the marriage. To me, getting out means doing whatever you need to do to move your relationship from it’s current state. And for some people … this may mean getting out literally. But for others, it may mean taking the necessary actions to make some changes. Either way, you can not afford to continue to live in your current circumstances. Here are 10 reasons why you need to GET OUT:
1. Because you deserve better.
We all deserve to have happiness in our lives … all of us … including you!
2. Because your kids deserve better.
If you are not going to make changes for you … then consider how your relationship may be impacting your children. Despite how good you think you are covering it up, your kids DO notice when things are not right at home. And your relationship could be causing your kids un-do stress and anxiety. And it also could be giving them a bad relationship example that they could carry on into their own relationships as adults.
3. Because your spouse is not going to change. (At least not when you want them to.)
The only person that you have the power to change is you. So if you are waiting on your spouse to change, you could be waiting a very long time. So instead of focusing on your spouse, focus on yourself. We ran a very good post on our site, Want to Change Your Spouse? Change Yourself. And in it, blogger and social media specialist, Briana Myricks, says: “the next time you want to complain about your spouse and all the things he or she could do to make your marriage better, think about taking the initiative yourself and changing some things on your end. You may be surprised how it affects your husband or wife.”
4. Because you’re not getting any younger.
You are never going to get this time back. You will never be in your 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s again. And when you look back over your life, what do you want to remember?
5. Because someone has to take the first step.
People always say, you can’t do it alone. It takes the effort of both people in the relationship in order for it to work. And for the most part, I believe that. But if you want things to change, you might have to be the one to take the first step. Both of you might not be on the same page at the same time. You might be ready for change and your spouse may be ok with the status quo. So instead of throwing your hands up and saying I am not going to do anything if he/she is not, then why don’t you be the one to take the first step. (And while you’re at it … check out the movie Fireproof.)
6. Because you are stronger than you think.
Change is scary … but all you need to do is look back over your life to see how strong you really are. Think about it, you’ve survived all of the stress and turmoil that you have been through so far … and here you are Still Standing.
7. Because your environment should not define your state of mind.
In the book, Desperate Marriages — Moving Toward Hope and Healing in Your Relationship, Dr. Gary Chapman says that while your environment affects you, it does not have to control you. Rather than being a victim, you can chose to overcome your present circumstances. In the book, Dr. Chapman helps you to realize that: people can change, that staying and being miserable OR getting a divorce are not the only two options that you have in your marriage, and that your situation is not hopeless. Yes, even if your are dealing with an irresponsible spouse, a spouse that is a workaholic, an unfaithful spouse, or a depressed spouse, you can find solutions that can save your marriage.
8. Because you have the key to your own happiness.
Another book I want you to check out is The Single Married Woman — The Story of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, by Dr. Sherry L. Blake. This book is for any woman or man that is shouldering most of the emotional and tangible responsibilities in their relationships and that desires A WAY OUT! Dr. Sherry says that if you want change in your life, then you need to: change your way of thinking, take responsibility for your role in the current situation, make measurable goals that are attainable, and just get started! You don’t have to make all of your changes all at once … but take it one step at a time. And while you can’t be blamed for the actions of others, you do have power over your own life. It is up you to change your reality.
9. Because you never know where life will take you.
Life is a journey … you could be homeless today and a millionaire business tycoon tomorrow. I have shared many times before that I was once so unhappy in a relationship that I could not even breathe. And when I decided that enough was enough, I got out. And now, I am so in-love … that I can’t breathe (but in a good way though.) I am here to tell you that your happiness is out there, you just have to go and get it.
10. Because you’ve already been warned.
Many people are waiting for some type of sign, miracle, or signal that will tell them what to do. One that will tell them to leave or, that will tell them to stay. But the sad thing is, they probably have already been told by counselors, by their friends, and by their pastors. And now, they have run out of places to turn. So count this article as one more sign, signal, or warning. If you want out of a bad relationship … then YOU need to take the first step.