What is the big “D” ultimatum? DIVORCE! Should you use the threat of divorce to force change in your partner? Should you use any form of ultimatum when your marriage is heading downhill? The problem with using any form of ultimatum is twofold – the first, it often gets used too often with no follow through so it loses it threat value; and the second is – if your partner ignores the threat, are you prepared to follow through? If you don’t follow through, the result is the same, it loses its threat value.
In a relationship, threats don’t work and shouldn’t be used unless you really are at that ‘final straw’ situation, and you really are going to follow through. In most cases, if a couple attend counseling where one is only there because of threats, they are not going to be open and prepared for change. In many cases, they will be resentful and may even work against the counselor.
While counselors are trained to deal with these situations, they are not ideal or conducive to a good result. For those relationships that are in trouble, there needs to be a common goal to save that marriage. If one half isn’t interested, then rather than issuing threats, you can take one of two paths.
You can visit a counselor yourself where they can offer you advice and tools that may help you convince your partner to attend without the use of threats. The second alternative is more drastic – rather than issuing threats, actually acting and moving them or yourself out.
While marriage counseling works best if both partners are there together (willingly), counselors can work with just one of the partners to help them deal with the situation. Ultimatums rarely work – actions do, so consider which action best suits your situation. Ideally, you’ll talk to a marriage counselor first.