These were my final words at the end of my plea to my buddy sitting reluctantly in front of me. When your conversations have to take place in a small cafe; your words are only allowed to get so loud. I raised my arms up and put my hands behind my head. He lowered his head to his lap and put it in his hands. His marriage was on the verge of disaster and all he could do was sit there…

Hit rewind and go back 3 days.

My buddy proceeds to tell me over the phone that he is done with his young marriage of only a year and a half. I listened patiently on the other end of the line, well aware that this was a familiar call from him time to time. This time was different though, this time he actually sounded like he was finished. Hearing the reality in his tone, I told him that it was time we took things to the next level and meet up. He agreed, finally, to meet up and discuss all the issues. I prayed hard and prepared myself for battle.

Before reaching the almost verdict stated earlier above, we discussed a variety topics and ideas on how and why to save his marriage. He wasn’t really interested, but he was respectful enough to hear me out and listen to what I had to say to him. Here are 3 things to review before signing on the dark black line of divorce.

Review the Background Information: After grabbing a quick snack for the long journey of discussion ahead of us, we settled down at a table and I asked him to tell me about the past. Without hesitation he started out with the word “SHE”. Quite frankly, it was “her this” and “her that”. I listened to him quietly, doing my best to keep the half smile off of my face. “She never does anything I want or ask her to do.” “She never treats me with respect.” “She never lets me finish what I’m saying before she jumps in with her own opinion.” This went on for a while until I finally stopped him and told him we were going to switch gears.

Remove Her and Focus on Him: Frustrated from all of the past discussion about her failures in the relationship, I asked him a different question. I asked him what he was contributing to the relationship and to keep what she was doing out of it. There was a pause, a long pause and a distant look in his eyes. I could tell that this was new territory for him. He started out with the word “she” again, and I stopped him in his tracks. I had a half laugh and said NO, what are YOU doing in the relationship? I asked him what he was doing special for her or what he did to help her out. I asked him if he had ever talked to her about all of the issues he was going through. Among a few quick excuses, I continued with my thought and went to the next important point.

Resolve to Change You! Not Her… I went on to tell him that I was once told that I am only capable of changing myself; I can really never change anyone else. I can’t force anyone to do anything. The only real person I can control is myself! He nodded in agreement, and tried to insert a “but”, but I held him off. “Do you love her?” He replied, “yes”. “Do you want to stay with her?” He replied, “yes”. “Are you willing to do whatever it takes and make some changes in your life?” He again replied, “yes”. This is where you insert the statement, “You don’t have a choice”. I told him to pull his head up and take the lead in his marriage! Talk to her about the issues. Talk to her about the past and seek resolution! Make an effort to keep what you wanted so badly in the past rather than taking the easy route by signing the papers. Don’t make divorce a choice and you won’t look at it as a choice. The change in you will affect her in many ways and your leadership could bring the marriage back to having a solid foundation! Stand up and LEAD!

I am fully aware that this scenario will not work in all marriage situations; but my advice to every man on the edge is to give every effort before giving in to the papers. Men need to know that there is hope in marriage and in the future of marriage.

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