All posts by Kathy

Kathy Burrus is a marriage coach who offers an authentic, caring environment to help you and your spouse find your next step toward hope- green, life-giving hope!.

Getting out of ‘the way’!

So in my last post I asked you to consider the question, “What can I do to have a great marriage?”

In essence, how can you  BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE?

Before we look at some specifics about what you can do, it is important to consider the response you may get from your spouse.  You see, it’s entirely possible that the more you work to make your marriage great, the more resistance you may encounter from your spouse!

Why?  Well think about it?  You came into this discussion with your own list of reasons why you have a ‘not so great’ marriage.  You also, as we discussed in the last post, likely came into it with the question, “What can I do to get my spouse to change?”  Your spouse probably has their own list and is asking the question- about you!  Or it’s entirely possible that they have emotionally ‘checked-out’ of the marriage and they don’t care that you are working to make the marriage better.  They are not interested in making any effort to that end themselves.

So what can you do about it?

Well for one thing, realize that you are both probably grieving the dreams you had for this relationship?  Even if it is a ‘good’ marriage, it hasn’t been as wonderful you had envisioned on your wedding day.  It is more work that you had anticipated.  Now you are looking at this marriage and wondering if it can ever be more than it is right now.  And if it can become more- what will have to CHANGE!

Ah, there it is! There is that word…CHANGE. You know, most of us are hard wired to be resistant to  change. Change can be a kind of loss. We want to be sure that any changes that are made will really make something better and be worth the effort. We have to have clear definitions and structures to give some certainty to making a change? Why mess up a perfectly ‘not working, but currently comfortable’ thing in the hopes of getting something just a little better?   How do we even know if it will be a GREAT thing?

Someone once said, “Until the pain of remaining the same hurts more than the pain of change, people will choose to remain the same.”  What makes change (even good change) so scary? What can we do to combat our fear of change and break free from unhealthy but comfortable patterns in our circumstances and relationships?

You obviously are at a point of willingness to face the pain of change required to make things different for your marriage. You are still reading this post.  But is your spouse there?  What is worse than having to face scary change that you choose to face?  It’s having to face change that is IMPOSED on you.

Think about it. It is hard enough to deal with change that WE INITIATE. But when we feel forced or manipulated to change, then we resist with all our might. You’ve probably already learned that the more you nudge them, urge them, push them, ask, beg or scream at them to do something, the less likely they are to do it.  Your spouse may not be willing to change for the sake of your marriage right now, but that’s not because your spouse doesn’t want a great marriage. We all want a great marriage. It’s because if they’re going to change, they want the changes they make to be THEIR CHOICE!

Sure it is hard to do that! But what happens when you make a change because you have felt pressured to do it? You might make the change for a while, but eventually you go back to the old ways of doing things.  Why?  Because you  tried to do something to make someone else happy.  But you didn’t make the decision to change for yourself. Making changes because you feel manipulated seldom works.

If you want to see change that is truly empowering in your marriage, you have to do what you can do on your end, and give them the freedom to make their own choice toward change.

Now another thing to be aware of is that it is possible that you will NOT be the person to inspire your mate to make that change. You know it’s true.  A complete stranger is more likely to get through to your spouse than you are. A chance experience or encounter is more likely to shake up your spouse than anything YOU could say.

Remember that time when you had finally given up trying to get your spouse to do that “thing” that you thought was so important. And then, one evening they come home and share with you a conversation they had with their lunch buddy or a coworker that lead them to do the exact thing that you had been harping on them about before. It happens so often.  You have done it to them as well.

So, I hear you asking, is there anything I can do then?

Absolutely! How about making the changes you can that help to create a more positive energy in your relationship? That will probably include

  • ‘backing off’ of the issues that have caused such dissention and giving your mate the space to make his/her own choice.
  •  recognizing that you may be ‘getting in the way’ of the very change you long for.  Step back, create space for your spouse to CHOOSE to change! That’s the only way it will happen.
  • letting your spouse see by your example how the choices you are making impact how you feel about yourself and your marriage.

Don’t think for a minute that your marriage won’t get better until your spouse ‘gets with the program.” The choices YOU are making speak volumes about what is important to you.  When you make choices that communicate how important your spouse is to you, maybe they will begin to believe you.  But more importantly, you will begin to feel your love grow for your spouse.  Your choice to let your mate choose  has great potential and power- even for you.

So, bottom line, “You must be the change you wish to see.” It’s YOU changing that will have the greatest influence on YOUR EXPERIENCE of your marriage AND it’s YOU changing that will be  the single most important thing you can do to motivate your spouse to change.

Remember, YOUR GREAT MARRIAGE Starts with YOU!

Your Great Marriage Starts with You!

So many times, I get asked the question, “I want a better marriage, so what should I do…

… to get him to engage with me?”
…to get her to be interested in things I’m interested in?”

It’s a great question — to a point.   I’m guessing that the majority of us would agree that we, too, want a better marriage.  The rest of us are either in a really good place in our relationship,  in denial, or have already checked out and don’t care.

We all long to have a good marriage.  Why would we go through courtship and plan a wedding and move in together combining lives and direction, if  we didn’t think it would be good- and good for us?  So that’s a given.

The problem with the question isn’t “I want a better marriage”.  The problem comes in the rest of it.  So often we want something to change and our first thought is “what I can do to get him/her to do it?”  That’s a problem!  You see, we have very little control over what our spouse does or doesn’t do.  Oh sure, we can speak into that or we can make requests, or even nag and make it really miserable if they don’t do what we want.  But we can’t MAKE them do anything with a heart that says love to you.  That is something only they can do, only they can work on.

The question really is ‘I want a better marriage, so what can I do?”

OUCH!  I hear you say, “That’s not what I wanted to hear.”  But isn’t that really all you can control.  You have the power to make some significant changes in your marriage  by looking at your own motives, behaviors and responses.  No, it doesn’t mean that if you do all this, it will guarantee your marriage will be GREAT.  It does take two to make it great.


The questions then become:

  • What can I do to make my marriage better?
  • What role do I play in whether it’s good or not?
  • What am I doing, or not doing that could make him/her want to respond to me in a great way?

I didn’t say it was easy.  I didn’t say it was a quick fix.  But I promise, you will be amazed at what you see happen when you quit focusing on what ‘they’ are doing and start focusing on yourself.  The outcome can blow you away.

That’s what GREEN HOPE COACHING wants to help you do-  Be amazed at your GREAT MARRIAGE!


  • we can give you information.  That can be really helpful, but do little to change anything in your marriage,  Unless you are willing to take that information and translate it into your way of living it out.
  • we can ask you questions.  That can be really insightful, but only if you answer honestly and listen to & learn from your own answers.
  • we can build you platforms to practice.  That can be really empowering, but only if you do the work of continuing to apply what you learn.

I know you have a lot of issues with your spouse.  Some of that just comes with being two different individuals trying to make one marriage work.  Some of it is because having lived together, you know how to set each other off. And sometimes we do that on purpose to protect ourselves.  Not to mention, lot’s of other issues  that come up.   Many of those things will probably need to be addressed sooner than later.  So you probably feel like I’m picking on you a little bit.

But what if YOU can be sure YOU have done all YOU can do on YOUR end?  Hey, you are the one that has listened to the end of this message. ( read to the bottom of this newsletter.)  You are the one that sees the problem.  I always told my kids, “If God gives you the eyes to see something that needs done, it’s probably because He has given you the potential to do something about it.”

You see it!   YOU have a lot of potential. You have the power to influence  your marriage to be GREAT!

So …how about it?  Are you in?

Good deal!  I’ll be seeing more of you then!  Over the next year GHC will be focusing on “What can I do to make my marriage great?”  You will want to get in on some of the great training and coaching opportunities, as well as, the events planned just for you and your sweetheart to enjoy and be inspired together.


It merely gives you the right to try!

I recently ran across a letter that Ann Landers received from a reader that went like this:

Dear Ann Landers:

Why would any husband adore a lazy, messy, addlebrained wife? Her house looks as if they’d moved in yesterday. She never cooks a meal. Everything is in cans or frozen. Her kids eat sent-in food. Yet this slob’s husband treats her like a Dresden doll. He calls her “Poopsie” and “Pet,” and covers the telephone with a blanket when he goes to work so she can get her rest. On weekends he does the laundry and the marketing.

I get up at 6 a.m. and fix my husband’s breakfast. I make his shirts because the ones in the stores “don’t fit right.” If my husband ever emptied a wastebasket, I’d faint. Once when I phoned him at work and asked him to pick up a loaf of bread on his way home, he swore at me for five minutes. The more you do for a man, the less he appreciates you. I feel like an unpaid housekeeper, not a wife. What goes on anyway?

—The Moose (That’s what he calls me.)

Ann’s response is classic. She responded:

A marriage license is not a guarantee that the marriage is going to work, any more than a fishing license assures that you’ll catch fish. It merely gives you the legal right to try.

She’s got a point!  So how are you doing?  Add a comment below to let me know what you think.