LILY Letter 145: Your Best Chance to Beat the Odds

January 18, 2024

"I am divorced because my former spouse 'went off the deep end,' 'had an affair,' or 'laid around in his underwear all day looking at porn instead of working.'" Or how about "I picked a better person this time, so things will be fine." How many times have we heard this kind of thinking in the mid-single community? Almost every divorce story we've heard involves a tragic tale of how the story teller could have had a great marriage if not for the woefully inadequate spouse. So all of our energy in dating (if we are dating at all), is directed at looking for "red flags" that a new dating partner might inflict the same harm as a former spouse.

Is there something wrong with this picture? We think it misses two very important ideas:

1. It is tremendously self-centered. A focus on the other person's contribution to marital problems allows us to escape all responsibility for our own contributions--or of the ways we might have been better spouses (and could be a better partner in a future relationship). Our brains are millions of years old and they are wired for survival. This includes confidence in our own judgment. We want to be right more than we want to be happy. This can cause us to dig our heels in and fight for our positions. It also prevents the kind of honest self-reflection required to build an intentional relationship moving forward.

God said in Ether 12:27, "If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness." Why would I want to "come unto" someone or something that would show me my weakness? Why would I hold up a mirror to my own face and say, "look how ugly you are"? When we seek out friends, post-divorce, we tend to seek out people who tell us we were right and reinforce us in our opinions of ourselves and our former partners. A truly good listener will instead be a kind and wise mirror for you to help you see yourself more clearly. Jesus also promised, in the same verse, that if we have the courage and faith to come unto Him and face our weakness, He will, "make weak things become strong unto them."

A good coach will help you to become more self reflective and more intentional, and will help you and your partner learn to craft agreements that will help you to build the relationship you both want. In the process, you will become more clear about the kind of relationship you want to create together.

2. It prevents you from facing the things you are afraid of in an atmosphere that is safe and supportive. Your first marriage (if you were previously married) inevitably impacted you. It even shaped and molded your expectations of marriage. If your marriage ended in divorce, you are probably carrying a lot of fears about things that went wrong last time. I guarantee that you have a certain amount of trauma and that you will get triggered sometimes in a new relationship (whether your response is to explode or to stuff your feelings). Figuring out how to navigate these waters together is essential to getting your new marriage off to a good start. A good coach can help you to find your footing in these matters both individually as a single person and as a couple once you find someone you want to move forward with.

For single adults who are divorced, widowed, or over 30 and not yet married, you have a more complicated life than if you'd married in your twenties and grown old together. One or both of you may have children. Blending families comes with some tricky issues. Your kids had different rules and come from a different family culture. Based on parenting plans, you may have kids coming and going at various times. You will need to create a new family culture that blends elements of both prior cultures and even create some new and unique things to give your blended family an identity of its own. A good coach can help you to ask the right questions and have the right discussions together as an intentional couple.

We are very open about the fact that we did premarital coaching before we got married. It didn't mean that something was particularly wrong with our relationship. We just wanted to ask the right questions and be more conscious and intentional about creating a great relationship this time. It is a wise thing to do if you want to give your relationship a better chance.

Premarital Coaching with Jeff

ATTENTION COUPLES: Jeff has a great premarital coaching program to help you beat the odds. We invite you to Schedule a FREE Consult with him to discuss what that would entail.


COUPLES: 151. Transparent Communication for Couples

SINGLES VERSION: 106. Dating Naked

LILY Coaching is available to support you personally. Simply visit to schedule a FREE Consult with Jeff or Cathy. We will provide you with a roadmap to your desired destination!

To heal from relationship loss and create more love in your life in 2024, read Intentional Courtship (available on Amazon).

If you enjoy this letter, forward to a friend. Our goal is to support as many single adults and later-married couples as possible so please share this letter with those you love!

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