Can Two Broken People Make Marriage Work?

BY: - 19 Sep '17 | Marriage

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

My husband and myself have been together 15 years, married 10, with two beautiful children. I have had several emotional affairs, two were sexual.He has caught me every time. In the last two affairs though, I felt done with the marriage. I was the working parent struggling mentally and physically. He did nothing but took care of the kids, no housework, no part time job. I always told him when he catches me I am sick of doing the family thing all alone. When we try and work it out, it’s in spurts, about every 2-3 years. I told him with the affair 3 years ago that if he gets a job and helps out, I wouldn’t have to look for attention because I would not be as stressed or depressed. I came back home, and he got a job and hurt his knee at work 2 days later. He never returned back to work and he’s not disabled.

This last affair, I was ready to leave once I got myself stable in my new job. I wasn’t going to run away with the new guy, but was just done doing it by myself. I know I am wrong for the affairs, but isn’t he wrong as well. He told me the other day, “Me not working isn’t a reason for you to go be a slut.”

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I don’t know what to do. I am mentally destroyed. He always wants to work on things then he changes his mind. He says I am a lost cause. All I want is a family that wants to be together and do stuff together. Not just be bumps on logs. I am going to seek a therapist for myself, since he insists I am a narcissist and a sociopath. Maybe I do have some demons to deal with, and I will get help then, but I think he does as well. Can Two Broken People Make Marriage Work? I will take any advice you can give.

Thank You, Broken Woman

Ask Dr. Buckingham

Dear Broken Woman,

I am glad to hear that you plan to seek therapy for yourself. Your behavior is unhealthy and is contributing to your marital problems. Please note that I did not say that your behavior is causing your marital problem. There is a difference between causing and contributing. I said contributing because you use your husband’s lack of affection and his unwillingness to work as excuses for your loneliness and cheating.

Cause and effect does not work in human relationships because we have free will. When someone does something to hurt or disappointment us we get to make a choice regarding how we cope with it. One behavior does not cause another behavior. However, one behavior might contribute to the expression of other behavior. I make this point because I want to be clear about who is at fault. You are at fault for your behavior and your husband is at fault for his. Your husband’s unwillingness and/or inability to provide for you and the children is a major problem, but you give your husband ammunition. Calling you a slut is emotionally abusive, but unfortunately he probably feels justified.

Healing and/or forgiveness cannot begin until both of you accept responsibility for your behavior and stop making excuses. You stated, “I told him with the affair 3 years ago, if you get a job and help out I wouldn’t have to look for attention because I would not be as stressed or depressed.” Unwillingness to work and lack of affection does not cause affairs. However, poor judgment does. Again, I am excited about your seeking therapy.

Now, to answer your question; yes, I do believe that two broken people can make a marriage work if they are willing to do the work. In situations similar to yours, I often encourage couples to seek both spiritual and professional counseling. Spiritual counseling will help with understanding God’s purpose and expectations regarding the marriage institute. Professional counseling will help with enhancing character flaws and provide insight into dysfunctional behavior that needs modifying. However, I must warn you that emotional abuse is extremely difficult to overcome because a large percentage of individuals do not do well with managing raw and distraught emotions.

Broken is defined as damaged and no longer in one piece or working order. According to this definition, when a relationship is broken, individuals stop working as one because they give up all hope and are typically consumed with feelings of despair. Some people would advise you to run and run fast. While I agree that your husband has some major challenges that he needs to work on, I do not believe that running is going to bring you peace.

Peace cannot be found in a man. Peace is an internal factor that comes with doing what is right in the eyes of God. Work on how you cope with your husband and, if you decide to leave him, do so with a peace of mind. However, if you decide to stay be mindful that it takes two pieces to make a whole. We are whole as single individulas, but marriage only works if two individuals work as one. This is what God expects of individuals who choose to marry.

When a relationship is broken, individuals stop working as one because they give up all hope and are typically consumed with feelings of despair.

Note that I did not write a great deal about how your husband is not a good person or about his irresponsibility as a husband. I did not because I try my best to empower people to focus on what they can control, which is self. If your husband is not willing to do what it takes to make you happy, then the best thing that you can do is focus on you.

I am not recommending that you become self-centered. Once you are in a good place emotionally, you will be able to see what is best for you. Marital despair intensifies because individuals are not empowered. Empowerment focuses on becoming stronger and more confident. Once you learn how to control your life, your life will be yours. Remember that two pieces make a whole. Just make sure that you are healthy and functional so that you bring wholeness to your marriage.

If you decide to stay, please seek therapy and model what you expect from your husband. I am not referring to his work ethic, but his ability to accept responsibility for his behavior. Please keep in mind that two wrongs do not make a right. If your husband is incapable of making you happy then you need to learn how to find happiness within. No one can give you what you cannot give yourself.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 219 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at


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5 Ways Working Out With Your Spouse Can Improve Your Quality of Life

BY: - 21 Sep '17 | Marriage

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By: Zebony LaVie

I have been active throughout most of my life. I enjoyed general exercise, and even taught a Zumba class for a while. So my husband was not surprised when I told him that I was interested in pursuing body building. If I was going to do it, I figured I should start soon because I sure wasn’t getting any younger. Body Building was something l had loosely “dreamed” about in my college years and now, two kids and a ten year-old marriage later, I wondered if this dream would ever actually materialize.

I explained to my husband that I still wanted more kids, and I thought that maybe I should have more children first, and then pursue body building. But my husband quickly decided that he wasn’t ready for more children, and he encouraged me to begin training immediately! So I began doing my research, and when I decided to become a Physique Competitor, a whole new fitness journey with my husband began.

My husband, being a man that was physically active, who had been weight training most of his life, he decided that he would train me. I trusted my husband’s training because he knew how to achieve results. But I now had to transition from my husband’s wife, to my husband’s client four times a week.

During this journey, I learned many unexpected things. And overall, my journey to a second place trophy in my first Physique Body Building Competition opened up several new doors to my marriage that seemed to be hidden before. My husband and I were both getting great workouts together, we were eating better, and we were working towards a common goal together.

We developed a camaraderie that I never knew could exist between us. We were members at a gym that offered reasonably priced child care. So our training time, although very challenging and purpose-driven, became a much anticipated “alone time” for us. Between grunts and reps, we used the opportunity to catch up with each other’s day.

Due to the beautiful experience I had, and the experience that I have observed other couples having, I strongly encourage married couples to work out together. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous like weight training. But general exercise together will do wonders for your body, as well as your marriage. I recommend the following tips to help achieve success in the gym with your spouse (success being defined as awesome physical results, as well as a new level of intimacy between a couple that has never experienced before).

Always Have a Goal

Each partner can have their own individual goal, but it is important to also have a common goal that both partners are working towards together. For example, in addition to each partner’s desire to lose weight, deeper than this might be the fact that one spouse has diabetes. It can become the responsibility of both spouses to meet the goal of sweating and working together in order to help the ailing spouse diminish the symptoms of their disease.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

When times get hard, physically and/or emotionally, keep reminding yourself of the common goal that you two share. So when you have those days when you are at each other’s throats, it’s important to remind yourself of why you are working out together in the first place.

Put Forth an Effort to Truly Enjoy Your “Alone” Time

Although a lot of what you two will be doing together will cause pain (exercise-wise), there will still be times in between where you can squeeze in kisses and hugs. Or you can chit-chat with each other about things that you normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to talk about due to a busy lifestyle.

Encourage Each Other

You have the opportunity and the potential to be your spouse’s biggest fan! You also have the opportunity to truly help your spouse change his or her life for the better. Not only will his/her healthier lifestyle bring about a personal benefit for your spouse, but won’t you enjoy a nicer, firmer and toner body on your spouse as well?

Finish the Race

Simply put, accomplish your goals. Don’t let yourself or your spouse leave the task unfinished. Once you’ve set realistic goals for yourselves, encourage each other to go until the end. And once you’ve both met the first goal, then set another.

Even though your fitness journey with your spouse probably won’t end up like mine, I can guarantee you that there is still a lot of potential that you have yet to tap into. It is there waiting…waiting for the moment when you will choose a lifestyle of working hard together. This potential is there waiting for the moment when you will allow yourselves to be vulnerable with each other, as you get lost in your vigorous workouts, sweating alongside one other. Your potential is waiting. Your health is waiting. Your marriage is waiting. You don’t have to wait anymore; you can encourage your spouse today to unlock your potential.

physique-competition-sample-2017About the Author: Zebony LaVie is a woman of God, who happens to be the blessed wife and mother of two beautiful children. She is the author of Beyond the Teacher’s Reach. She’s a Personal Trainer who enjoys being physically fit and participating in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training. She spends most of her time homeschooling her children and enjoying her life as a stay-at-home mom.

BMWK, are you ready to get fit with your spouse?

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BMWK Staff wrote 1259 articles on this blog.

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