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Hope is Not a Strategy

During an initial consultation, I often sit across the conference room table from a person struggling with deciding whether to divorce. There is no question that divorce is a major disruptor to the status quo, and they are wise to be seeking answers to questions of “what happens if…” 

For many people, part of this painful struggle is caused by a speck of hope for their marriage – hope that the relationship will get better, hope that behaviors will change, hope that they won’t have to deal with all the changes that a divorce brings. But there’s a big problem with that…

A couple of years ago, there was one individual who kept returning to our office for consultations – for over a year.  He so desperately hoped his relationship would work out, but then things would get unbearable and he would end up back in my office.  Every time he left my office, he would return home to the same spouse, the same arguments, the same situation that would eventually become unbearable again. I looked at him one day while he was sitting across from me and I told him, “You are addicted to hope.” And he looked at me and said, “You’re right.”

Hope is essential to our survival. Without hope, we wither, we perish. And yet, if all we are doing is holding onto dwindling hope, and not taking action to change our situation, we are just wasting our lives away. The undeniable truth is that causes lead to effects.  If you don’t like the effects you are currently facing, then you have to take action to change the underlying causes.

I have spent years “hoping” for a slimmer figure. But when I don’t make it a priority to exercise, or don’t plan my healthy meals, and I continue my sedentary lifestyle eating convenience food on the run – my figure does not change. It doesn’t matter how much I “hope” – I will never attain that slimmer figure without changing the cause of my current weight. 

If you are stuck in a broken marriage, hoping for a better one will not, in and of itself, result in a better relationship.  Does this mean divorce is your only solution?  Absolutely not – there are effective relationship-transforming resources available to help build a better marriage. But if you do nothing, not only will your situation not improve, it will often get worse. This can result in even more detrimental and long-lasting impacts on the children, more damage to personal relationships, more stress affecting your physical and emotional health. More and more of the same.

As we begin a new year, I find myself “hoping” for better results in 2023. However, to achieve these better results – I need to take action.  The actions I need to take require a plan. And that plan needs to be intentional and based on realistic outcomes. The same applies to someone evaluating a divorce.

And that’s where we can help. We can educate, support, and empower those struggling with the decision to divorce and help them create a plan for their next chapter. If you (or someone you know) is struggling in a broken marriage, there is hope for a better future. But hoping alone is not enough. We would love to help you take that courageous step and create a plan of action to translate that hope into a future full of bright possibilities.