Are you sick and tired of your spouse’s behaviour?
Do you have no more to give?
Are you at the end of your tether?
Do you think an ultimatum is your only way out?
We hear people giving ultimatums every day. “If you don’t stop doing X then Y will be the consequence.” However, more often than not these ultimatums are being issued by a parent to a child. This is a relationship where power and responsibility lie with the parent. It is the parent’s job to ensure that a child grows up knowing what is right and wrong, setting boundaries to ensure safety.
The reasons for adults giving ultimatums within a marriage can be a reaction to many types of behaviours. Marriage problem examples such as your partner being aggressive, having an affair or an addiction to spending, pornography, alcohol or drugs. It could also be about any other obsession or things they like to control in their life. These behaviours will have left you feeling hurt and resentful. It is understandable why you would feel that giving an ultimatum would be your only option.

Reasons for not using ultimatums for marriage problems
Giving an ultimatum to your spouse, where the relationship should really be equitable and even will immediately create a sense of negativity within the relationship. Whilst you may feel that you need to gain the power in your relationship by using an ultimatum the result you desire will not follow.
Think about how you would feel if your spouse gave you an ultimatum. Words such as resentment, belittlement and control spring to mind. An ultimatum may come across as a demand or a threat and will immediately make your spouse defensive. These are not feelings that would inspire you to change!
Yes, your spouse may manage to change their damaging behaviours for a short space of time if they fear they will lose you. However, more often than not people aren’t ready to follow through on the ultimatum as you as an individual need to establish your bottom-line. All you are managing to achieve is a dictatorship within your marriage by being too demanding. This is not to say that certain abusive situations should be tolerated and at this stage alternative strategies may need to be employed.
What should you consider as an alternative approach to marriage problems?
What is more important is to look at why your partner may be displaying such destructive behaviour and how to support them to make the desired changes. It’s widely accepted that events in our childhood can have a long-lasting effect on our behaviours into adulthood. Your spouse’s relationship with either of their parents can have a profound effect on them. Think about how your own childhood experience was. Did you come from a home environment where you felt emotionally connected? Were you able to talk about not only what you did in a day but also about how you felt? Did you feel loved and appreciated? Was there affection in your household? All these aspects are what lead to people feeling connected to one another. A lack of emotional connectedness can be what leads people to destructive behaviours such as infidelity, or any of the other negative behaviours I have described so far. To reiterate, an ultimatum will work against trying to achieve emotional connectedness.
What is emotional connectedness?
There are many definitions of emotional connectedness but in essence it is about the feeling of being accepted, respected and being able to be our true selves in the presence of another. People who feel the most worthwhile and happy will be able to display high levels of emotional connectedness with their family and friends. Often, a person who has not experienced this as a child or even into adulthood will be a person who displays addictive behaviours or go on to have affairs. Participating in these behaviours is a way of your spouse achieving a reprieve from this feeling of disconnectedness. It gives them a space where they are accepted and relaxed, without immediate consequences and, often with more ease than they can have in their marriage. Your spouse will more than likely know that their behaviour is wrong. Rationally they will see that it is destructive to your marriage and to himself, or herself as a person. Whilst they may accept that their behaviour is wrong it may be incredibly difficult for them to change. They may even be too frightened of failure to try, this is the most common reason for men and women not changing I find in marriage counselling. By giving your spouse empowering ways and alternatives, a change in their behaviour can be influenced. This is how I work with those I support, giving them as many options as possible.

What I want to say is…

You do have the ability to influence their inner motivation to change. It is possible by helping your spouse to feel more emotionally connected to fundamentally influence and change their negative behaviours. Ultimatums essentially instil rules within a relationship. Whilst it may be important to have boundaries, imposing rules will create resentment, as already mentioned. This is where establishing connection and thereby achieving the ability to influence your spouse’s internal motivation is key. This method is much more productive and also creates a more positive relationship.

By creating an emotional connection with your spouse, you can realise two profound effects:

You eliminate your spouse’s craving for their damaging behaviour. There’s no void to fill anymore, because you have fulfilled the need for connection.

You offer your spouse a permanent filling for the void that has been insatiable, probably since their childhood.

The tricky part of this is many of us don’t even know how to create emotional connectedness. This is part of what I teach people through the Ultimate Marriage Connecter Package and the online private program. I have worked with all of the types of behaviour I have mentioned and truly believe that any habit can be changed with the right mindset and resolve.

As a starting point, affection, attention and appreciation of your spouse are imperative. This may be difficult to do in the beginning especially when your spouse’s behaviour is so challenging. It may also be necessary to get extra help with particular addictions or obsessive behaviour to create lasting change.

In summary:

Do not give your spouse an ultimatum.
Establish how you could aim to achieve emotional connectedness with your spouse
It only takes one person to transform a marriage – I help women and men to single-handedly do this on a daily basis. It all starts with becoming closer and inspiring them to change.

Now I am not saying everything relates back to childhood. The stresses of modern day life, financial difficulties, a nightmare boss or heavy work load, family pressure or conflict can also lead to a break down in emotional connectedness and destructive behaviour also. Whatever the reason getting support to help you turn things around is crucial. We all know time does not heal.

Rest assured I certainly don’t analyse the past or couples childhoods to transform their marriage. That doesn’t work! However, I do focus on achieving emotional connectedness through daily, weekly and monthly habits. Where I list 20 habits and a series of steps individuals can take to inspire change in their partner. If you want more information on the online program book a free Save My Marriage Consultation with me or visit

Hope this helps you, from my heart to yours, Nicola

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Author's Bio: 

Nicola Beer is an International Relationship & Divorce Coach who helps her clients find peace and create a new beginning after Marriage Breakdown and Divorce. This includes helping couples on the verge of a breakup to resolve their relationship issues once and for all, so that they can revive the love, passion, respect, and fun that's been missing.

As well as helping clients during and after Divorce to manage stress, create more income and adjust to new financial realities, redefine who they are, create a new social life, and when they are ready attract someone great. Nicola also runs 2 parenting programs that support children through and after divorce

Nicola has combined 11 years' experience helping people with emotional issues. This comprises 7 years private coaching and 4 years as a volunteer for the Samaritans where she supported callers dealing with any emotional distress. She is UK certified in Coaching, Grief Recovery for Adults and Children, NLP, Time Line Therapy, Hypnosis.

Nicola's passion to support people before, during and after divorce comes from her own childhood, where due to the stress of divorce her mother suffered a mental breakdown. As 1 of 5 children the divorce was devastating for her family and affected each of her family in different ways. More recently Nicola's older sister with 4 children is going through a difficult divorce. Having experienced and seen the pain and stress associated with divorce Nicola is focused on proving solutions. She knows divorce doesn't have to mean disaster and takes her clients and their children from surviving to thriving. She is equally passionate about saving marriages, so has a program to overcome relationship problems.

Nicola works with expats and locals, Muslims and Non-Muslims from all over the world, mainly from Dubai, London, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, either in person for a 2 day intensive package or further afield US, Australia via video conference and phone.