Marriage Ultimatum – Why it Does Not Work

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Considering a Marriage Ultimatum?

marriage ultimatum
 

I am often asked about marriage ultimatums. Though I am sure that there have been a few times in history when marriage ultimatums have worked, let me provide a little insight as to why they often are futile.

 

Why a Marriage Ultimatum Typically Fails

 

Marriage ultimatums usually fail because when a spouse gives an ultimatum they are professing that they are ready to play their last card. The only problem is that this rarely occurs as it is more of a threat than something that they are ready to carry out.

 

It Only Works Once or Twice.

 

The other issue with marriage ultimatums is that if you have threatened divorce, separation, or a change in the status quo once, yet never acted upon it, then the next few occurrences seem to carry less and less weight.

 

Another Option

 

Instead of giving ultimatums, I would encourage a spouse in a troubled marriage to take on a different approach. Here are the steps that I would encourage:

 

Step #1 – Work on Yourself First

 

I have found that there is always something that a spouse can do to create the atmosphere so that change has a better chance of happening. On this site as well as in our book on marriage we give couples very tangible steps to take in order to help promote viable change in their marriage.

 

Step #2 – Give it some time

 

Time is a very valuable commodity though few seem to want to use it in our day. The hand of Providence over long periods of time has a way of softening hearts and bringing people to a place of repentance.

In our fix it yesterday culture we tend to want every problem eradicated as quick as possible. However, I typically find that problems are seldom fixed when you want them to be fixed and in the way you want them to be solved.

 

Step #3 – Watch our Video on The Top Mistake Couples Make in a Fight

 

Sad to say, but many couples do have great motives when it comes to solving their marital issues, just absolutely lousy methods. And, we have found that our teaching on The Top Mistake Couples Make in a Fight shows couples exactly why they have failed to penetrate the wall of emotion that is between them and their spouse.

 

 

Step #4 – Express a Fear of Hopelessness

 

Instead of giving an ultimatum, I advise couples to establish a time with their spouse to say something to this effect:

 

“You know that I want this marriage, and I want to obey my marriage vows. However, if you persist in this behavior, I am afraid of losing hope that our marriage will ever change. I am also afraid of where my feelings will tempt me to go if your behavior is no different in six months from now.”

 

Let me tell you why this works better than a typical marriage ultimatum:

 

1. Marriage ultimatums are typically delivered in a way in which the other person feels as if they do not have the power to act on their own volition.

2. Marriage ultimatums usually make you to look like the parent and the other the child. (Though the case may be so, it never helps for this paradigm to be present.)

3. Marriage ultimatums give the impression that your love is conditional in nature.

4. Marriage ultimatums are typically delivered in an emotionally charged atmosphere which is almost always a recipe for disaster.

Order our Christian Marriage Book
How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting with One Another

 

  • Learn our 2-step Process to Solving Marriage Issues
  • Use for your next Bible study
  • A Biblical Yet Refreshing Approach

 

 

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3 comments on “Marriage Ultimatum – Why it Does Not Work
  1. Julie says:

    I made many horrible mistakes in the beginning of my relationship with my husband and he found out. After 10 months of my husband threatening divorce and telling me I don’t deserve him ( which on some levels I did not)among some much more , my husband has finally come around and wants our marriage back and to be in the family home. However he left twice and has been out more than in and I just don’t know that I want him back in the house. I love him but after all the stress and anxiety of everything I forgot why I fell in love with him. I read your articles and I find them wonderful however despite telling my husband I still have faith I don’t know that I believe I do. I’m putting on a good front but in reality I think I’m just going thru the motions hoping it will one day change. My marriage was never great but it was mine and my mistakes are the reason why it is the way it is now. His reactions didn’t make anything better but I feel guilty thinking maybe I should let go now that he says he’s committed again.

  2. Eddie G. says:

    How do you continue to fight for your marriage if your partner states she feels after 10 years together that th she marriage is the longest relationship she’s had and she just feels she can’t fullfill a long term relationship for many personal reasons. Additionally she says I’m a good person and provider but I’ve failed to satisfy her emotional needs. I admit I’ve been lacking I the emotional needs area. She has suggested we stay together for the sake of our children and that we stay in separate rooms and possibly as time passes seek . partner. I know I cannot do this so I guess I’ve got some serious praying and mediation to do to reach a decision

  3. Andria says:

    When it’s really bad and it’s affecting the children and he just doesn’t care… How do you show love, honor, commitment … But yet show your children that it’s not ok… (Our marriage and family were great for nearly 2 decades then his parents died and some friends stepped in ton”help” by keeping him at their house by offering him all sorts of work for money – for YEARS! instead of ours being home, turning him into an alcoholic & against me so that he became very emotionally abusive and the wife of this couple became way too close – they even wrote a letter about me together for a counselor she had a pet nickname for me and went to … SOOO much to write that it would be too long and you would just be dumbfounded anyway. But it’s too hard… And the kids are starting to think that’s what’s normsl and they are depressed and anxious and unhappy and hate life and it’s because of me because I can’t make it right for them….

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Marriage and Relationship Coaching

Over the Phone
Call Us at 1-888-642-3036
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Available on Amazon

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Order our Christian Marriage Book
How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting with One Another

 

  • Learn our 2-step Process to Solving Marriage Issues
  • Use for your next Bible study
  • A Biblical Yet Refreshing Approach

 

 

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