Reblogged from Marriage Crisis Manager on February 22, 2017

Guest blogger Tim Backes of specializes in assisting divorced and separated couples as well as legal professionals and making their lives a little less hectic when it comes to the painful process of separation and communication. In this article Tim shares some great advice on how to talk to your kids about the family’s future.

Divorce is an agonizing experience. It’s tough on many things — your emotions,
finances, and most of all, kids.
While you can shield your children from a lot of things, divorce is one of those things
that needs to be dealt with head-on. If a potential divorce is brewing in your
marriage, kids will probably pick up on it . They feel the energy of an impending
separation or divorce as something large and looming in their lives.
When the day comes for you to address the issue directly with your kids, there are
ways to do it that are much healthier than other ways, and if you get one thing right
in how you divorce, you have to make sure it happens when dealing with your children.

Delivering the News
Once you have decided to divorce, and you know the date your spouse will move
out, plan a meeting together approximately two weeks beforehand. Both spouses
should be present with the children if at all possible, and both should approach the
conversation in an adult-like way. You will focus on the facts and know that blame
and shame will not be a part of this conversation:

1. Remember, the truth will set you free. Children are often more in-tune
with what’s happening than many parents realize, so don’t try to mislead
them or minimize. Let them know the divorce is due to a problem between
you and your spouse and not in any way related to them. Be firm that you
will divorce, and will not be reconciling. Tell them truthful, general things
like, we just aren’t a good fit anymore and we grew apart. If they ask
questions, answer them honestly. Take responsibility when necessary.
2. Put the kids first and remember the Golden Rule. Divorces can fall within
the range of an amicable split to a knockdown-drag-out. If you have children
you owe it to them to put your heated feelings aside and act mature and
reasonable toward each other and them. Promise yourselves you will never
speak poorly of each other to your children.
3. Express your willingness to be available. This does not mean dropping
what you are doing to run to your child every time they need. It has to be
reasonable. When it is your turn to have the kids, they need to stay with you,
and when they are with your ex, you will not rescue them when they are
disgruntled. When your child is upset with your ex just support them by
saying life is tough, and that they need to work out parent issues with the
parent they are angry with. Refuse to be in the middle. At the same time, let
them know you are available by phone should they need or want to connect.
Ask them if they would like you to call on a regular basis and even at a
regular time. If your child reaches out, be there. Listen to what they have to
say, even if it’s something simple like a short story about something that they
learned in school that day. This helps them maintain some sort or normalcy
in their lives, which helps make them feel safe.

Just because you are getting a divorce does not mean you will no longer be a family.
You will always be a family, and families exist in all sorts of configurations. It is not
divorce that messes kids up so much as does the consternation and anger expressed
between the parents. To have the best result you can possible have, control your
behavior with your ex, and always be respectful. You can bet that your kids are
watching, and they need to see you treat their parent decently and fairly.

Contact Tim for more information on

When your partner makes a request about something that is important to them, it is crucial that you take it to heart.

When your partner makes a request about something that is important to them, it is crucial that you take it to heart.

When a spouse pleads with their mate to go to marriage counseling, you can bet they’re frustrated – trust me, people don’t just ask their partner to go to counseling if they’re only a little annoyed. Instead, when your partner says, ‘Hey, can we go to marriage counseling?’ it’s pretty indicative that they’ve already made repeated unsuccessful attempts to improve the relationship on their own, and failed.

Yes, your spouse needs change and has cajoled, nagged, bribed and suggested, only to find their requests either ignored or met with delays and excuses. At the point they seek counseling they’re not looking for divorce – yet, but that will probably be on the table later if nothing is done.

Spouses seek the services of a therapist to help persuade their partner that the situation at-hand is serious, and once in my office, here’s what I’m likely to hear:

“I asked him to look into why he has a very low sex drive and he hasn’t done anything.”

“Her obsession with cleaning leaves me and the family with no quality time. I ask her to give us some time but she won’t sit still, so what am I to do?”

“He promised me he would look for a better job after we got married. It’s been four years and he hasn’t done one thing.”

The common dominator in all of these situations is that the unhappy spouse has made an important request regarding something they need or want, and their partner hasn’t been responsive. Get this if you get nothing else from this blog post: It is impossible to exaggerate how much damage being unresponsive to requests does to relationships.

Once your spouse has made a request, and then reminds, and asks, and asks again, and still nothing happens, they will enter the Frustration Zone, and at that point your marriage has entered into a negative spiral that could very well end in, well, The End.

So what about you? You’re the recipient of the complaints. Do you get a say? Of course you do! As we ponder what’s going on between you and your spouse, I will want to know two things:

1. Is the request your spouse making reasonable? Sometimes our spouses ask us to do the impossible or even things that make no sense, other times what they ask of us is entirely doable, and within the realm of reasonable expectations, such as regular sexual activity or spending time together, so which is it?
2. What is the obstacle that makes you unable or unwilling to meet the request? Be honest with yourself.

If your spouse is making an unreasonable request of you a Marriage and Family Therapist will be your new best friend. They will tell your partner this and kindly ask them to back off. If the therapist sees that the requests are reasonable, however, you’ll soon find out that your lack of response will eventually move your spouse from frustration to the much more serious level known as being fed up.

A person who has fallen into in the Fed Up Zone got there by passing through four phases that unfolded over months or years. They are:

1. A request was made.
2. If the request was not responded to, an angry plea was made.
3. If the request was still not responded to, an anguished plea for change will be made such as, “I don’t how long I can do this, I’m barely hanging on here,” or “This is very serious!”
4. If the request is still not responded to, the disgruntled partner will stop asking, and quietly watch and wait for a response. They give up and enter the “fed up” phase characterized by a dismantling of their emotional connection to the other and allowing the relationship to die.

The fed up phase has several characteristics that will end when the disgruntled partner completes their disconnection process and an emotional divorce takes place. When that happens, the mate will be mostly apathetic about their partner and the relationship.

The metamorphosis of disconnection will be apparent by the following signs.

1. Ambivalence sets in and the partner both wants to and doesn’t want to be in the relationship. “I can take it or leave it,” is the idea.
2. A new life blossoms away from the partner. The disgruntled one finds joy and meaning in life somewhere else, and sometimes with someone else.
3. Language changes … references to the future together will be few and far between.
4. Brutal honesty. No longer exhibiting political correctness, you will now hear for the first time how he always hated your sister and mother.
5. New boundaries. Before he was willing to do things he really didn’t want to do with you, now you can forget it.
6. Warnings. If you haven’t been contributing to the family finances, your partner may suggest you take up activities that will lead to you being able to support yourself – “I think you ought to be thinking about getting a job or going back to school,” or “You may not want to be counting on me to support you forever.”

People show signs when they begin to disconnect from a partner. It happens because needs weren’t met, respect wasn’t given, the relationship and time together wasn’t cherished. Unhappy people almost always speak up and tell their partners when they’re feeling disillusioned in whatever way. They turn on their flashers, set off flares, dance around and wave their arms, and then they give up. All because the other person wouldn’t, or couldn’t, respond to the need.

If divorce is unavoidable, here’s how to do it right.




I hate divorce. It’s extremely painful for everyone and leaves many lifelong ugly footprints in so many lives that I’ll do whatever I can to get people to stay together in a healthy way. Still, there are times when there just any fuel left to work on remaining together, and couples decided to divorce. Usually, both people in this situation are emotionally worn out, fearful and anxiety-filled – change is full of unknowns, it can be earthshakingly scary.

Even though divorcing couples don’t feel their best, most start off saying they don’t want things to be nasty, and certainly most reasonable people want to end their marriage in as peaceful way as possible, and that’s how they begin the process. Then the lawyers get involved and the being reasonable mojo is lost. Here’s an example of what is likely to happen:

A. Jim files for divorce. Sue gets a letter and copy of the filing from Jim’s lawyer. She reads it sees that they will be asking for full custody of their children, he wants all of his business he has built, and she will receive no financial support.
B. Sue freaks out and yells at Jim with Mama Bear ferocity.
C. Sue’s lawyer writes Jim’s lawyer and says Sue wants half of the business, 100 percent of her retirement, and wants alimony of more than half his salary and full custody of the children. The lawyer also says that if Jim is not forthcoming with the requests that all of the texts he has been sending to their child’s school teacher will be released to the school, their family, and their friends.
D. Jim freaks out and calls Sue and calls her names she’s never heard him say before.
E. The divorce nightmare begins.

Because I have experienced this personally and have seen it unfold hundreds of times in my work, it has become obvious that something needs to be done to prevent it. Toward that end, here are some ways a divorcing couple can save themselves from all the unnecessary misery:

1. Promise yourself you won’t take the low road. You can’t control your spouse but you can control yourself. Stay as rational, reasonable and respectful as you possibly can no matter what. If you need anti-depressants to help you through, get them.
2. Hire a counselor to lean on. You’re going to need someone to vent to, lean on, coach and help you process things that will be happening and have it be 100 percent safe.
3. Hire a collaborative lawyer and/or mediator. Most lawyers are trained to be adversarial attack dogs with no concern for how their dirty tactics will affect the family who will be living with the aftermath. They want to win at all cost. Collaborative lawyers and mediators are compromise and settlement-minded. They agree from the start to negotiate and work it out, and to not take any of it to the court house.
4. Control and oversee your lawyer. Have a clear understanding with your lawyer or whoever you’re working with that nastiness and aggression will not be tolerated and that you are to approve every message and document that is sent to your spouse or their representative before is sent.
5. Continue to see and communicate with each other in divorce counseling. Hire a family counselor who can provide a safe place for you to communicate and tie up loose ends concerning your lives, children, property and settlement issues. If you have children you will be working together on some level for life, and you owe it to them to get along and be cooperative.

Divorce brings out the worst in people. It strikes us at a core level of primal fears involving safety and survival. It takes a lot of awareness, mindfulness and self-discipline to get through it without creating self and collateral damage, but I am here to tell you that it absolutely can be done. If you ask me, it’s worth it.