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The thought of a fourth failed marriage sent me to my knees. Why was I unable to keep an intimate relationship happily on track? Was something wrong with me? My failures, as I saw them, were personally difficult and professionally embarrassing. Either I was a relationship coach with bad luck and should be excused from the team, or I hadn’t yet learned what made marriage work. Turns out it was the latter. How to Save Your Fourth Marriage is what I did—I saved my fourth—which could be considered a miraculous accomplishment, given that 93 percent of fourth marriages end in divorce within five years. Marriage might be one of the few activities we engage in where, for many of us, the more often we practice it, the worse our chances of success.
Whether you’re having difficulty in your first relationship, or you’re heading into marriage number eight, the information here is for you. It’s not so much about how many times you’ve tried, but rather, do you want your relationship to work or work better? Do you wish to be happier together? If you love each other and don’t know how to get along or how to become closer, this information is especially for you. Even if you’ve given it your best shot and have thrown your hands up, there is still hope.
There is hope because the quality of your relationship with your partner lives within you. The facets of how you relate to you are reflected by those whom you call partner, ex-partner, friend, enemy, and family. The way you treat others represents the way you treat yourself. The relationship you have with others is the relationship you have with yourself.
If you have an intimate relationship you believe is worth reviving, look no further than your own heart and mind. You’ll save years of frustration and circling back if you can love yourself enough to change. You’re the one—the only one—who can transform your life. By transforming yourself. You hold the magic wand. You can free yourself to be the person you are. When you liberate yourself to become true-you, this invites people around you to respond more freely as well—to be true-them.
I’ve done my best to make this information easy to absorb, with stories, bullet points, and suggestions. There are also dialogues with clients, using the names Her, Him, and Me. These consulting sessions show how issues are multilayered, how a seemingly small trouble spot, when unraveled, gives way to substantial understanding. You’ll track how new possibilities begin to make sense to a client, and to yourself, too, as you read. I’m thankful for the generous men and women who have allowed me to write conversations based on those I had with them, so that I could offer them to you.
Although my fourth husband, Eric, passed away in 2017 from cancer, you’ll get to know him and the journey we traveled together through shared stories and examples. Transforming my relationship with Eric taught me that it was possible to shift even the most stuck or awful circumstances by changing patterns that had been mine for a long time. I would not have believed this sort of thing possible had I not experienced it myself. Finding a deeper and more satisfying relationship with Eric was a miracle from every angle.
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