A reader wrote in & let me know that she feels stuck in her relationship.  She knows she should leave him, but she is having a hard time making it happen.  My heart truly goes out to her.  And to ANYONE who finds themselves feeling stuck for any sort of reason.

This was some of my advice to her….

Think with all your might about the best kind of man that you would want to be with and the best kind of marriage and motherhood that you would want.  And once that is clearly defined, hold onto that vision for dear life!!!  Envision yourself having that life and being that woman.  Your life will automatically start going towards that desired path.  And your gut will let you know if this guy fits into that picture or not.  TRUST YOUR GUT!  Do not ignore it.  Just keep envisioning the life you want, and it will become more and more clear what you need to do in regards to your relationship.

I really think one of the biggest issues for single people is….they have not strongly defined what they want!!!  And so they end up with any guy that comes along that pays attention to them.  The boyfriend (or girlfriend) could be unloving, self-centered, not capable of handling their problems well, controlling, verbally or physically abusive, and have every red flag, yet you might just go along with it if you get attached because you don’t have your sights on anything greater.  I’m telling you, I’ve seen each of these happen to the BEST of the best women.  And I’ve seen it happen to me.

So, if you are single, I am literally begging you to think hard and decide very adamantly what kind of life and marriage you want and what kind of good character qualities you want in your spouse.  DO NOT SELL YOURSELF SHORT.

WRITE it all down and plan on it happening.  And THEN, for this to work, you MUST also work on living up to the kind of woman that would fit into that scenario.  It cannot be one-sided.  The best marriages are NEVER one-sided!!  Refer to your list often to reassess how you are doing and keep making personal changes, as necessary, little by little.  If you want a man who speaks lovingly & uplifts people, think about whether or not you tend to gossip, speak negatively about others, or see flaws, etc.  If you want a man who is financially responsible, think about how you handle your own finances.  If you want man who has a strong foundation, think about what are you doing to anchor yourself.   The idea here is that light is attracted to light; and light recognizes light.  So, the better you are at developing your own good character, the quicker you are at recognizing that good character in others.

Make these priorities the blueprint for your relationships and your decisions.  If you do this, you will have the strength and wisdom to not stay with someone who doesn’t fit into your vision of what you want for yourself.   And some really good news….Eventually your path will likely align with someone who IS walking parallel to you.  And it should be very easy to recognize.  And the decision to marry that person should be the easiest, most joyful thing you ever do.


With love,


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  1. Sage November 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Great advice. My favorite thing in the post is the word "vigilant" on the van passing by the stuck parked car. That's your message, right there.

    Even when you are far into your life (like me at almost 45, 20 years of marriage and 5 kids) visualizing what you want is helpful. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  2. Susan November 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Great advice Mara…I just recently found your blog and am enjoying your writing. Our spiritual/religious views are different, but I respect yours of course, and am enjoying the love story and relationship advice. I did exactly what you talk about above, and found my true love, after having been through a divorce like you, so I really relate. I am happy for you! 🙂

  3. mara November 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    Sage – I know! I loved that van in the back ground…those plumbing guys are all over brooklyn. I should have brought it into the post somehow 🙂 Thx for all your wonderful comments!

  4. mara November 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    Susan, oh…thanks so much. Means a lot as a blogger to hear that my writing is enjoyable. PHEW 🙂 AND, so happy to have you reading here even though we don't share the same religious/spiritual views. I am trying so hard to make this helpful to many, not just people of my own faith. So it made my day to hear from you. Thank you so much for writing & having a voice here.

  5. Kelly November 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    I have to say, I am so so impressed with your blog. I found it a few days ago and have read almost all of your posts. I've even shared it with my husband and you've given us so much encouragement as we are in the process of trying to provide counsel to a friend who is struggling in a relationship. Our religious views are different, but I really admire your willingness to be an open and vulnerable witness. Your sense of urgency is so encouraging! This online platform that you've created will no doubt be a strong and powerful tool for sharing both your testimony and God's love. God bless you!

  6. mara November 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Kelly – I'll have you know that you just made me MELT. Thank you!!!

  7. -Maria- November 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    wow, thanks for telling it like it is! This is something I'm just starting to learn; maybe it started dawning on me at 26 but before then I really had no clue. These kind of posts are such wonderful reminders to stay on track! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Amanda Greer November 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Such wonderful advice, Mara. I'm 22 now and last year, I was dating a guy who was the same age as me. I was happy, but not as happy or as content as I want to be. One day, while we were out for a run, I turned to my best friend and asked, "If you know for sure you wouldn't want to marry the person you're dating, is it okay to keep dating them?" It wasn't worded quite right, but she knew what I meant.

    See, the thing is, I'm young so I don't know if I should be thinking that seriously right now. I'm the kind of person who does think about it, very much, but all I ever hear is, "Have fun! You're young! Blah, blah, blah."

    Would your advice be the same to people my age? Would anything be different?

    (Also, I know that I'm young and shouldn't be worried… but I do worry that I won't get married. Or worse, that I will get married but it will be an unhappy marriage.)

  9. mara November 21, 2011 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    Amanda, SO glad you asked this!! THANKS. In my opinion, you should guard the years before you marry VERY carefully…because they are all you've got to figure things out before you DO get married. So, I say you shouldn't date people if you know they are not the kind of person you would want to marry someday…EVEN IF you're not thinking of getting married for quite some time. You see, it wastes precious time which you should be making the most of. Your future marriage will be all the sweeter if you are as prepared as you can be…and part of that preparation is dating other guys and learning how to be confident & happy (great practice for a marriage.) But, if you are connected to one person who you aren't really even content with….

    -it prevents you from dating others so that you can better define the kind of guy you WOULD want to marry
    -it keeps you from meeting people who are like minded to you.
    -it would be inconsiderate to the guy to keep dating him if you really aren't content with him.
    -it brings the risk of things getting out of hand physically….that makes things even more complicated and tricky – plus you risk feeling bonded with him even though your heart isn't in it…
    -it costs money – dating isn't cheap…so it's best to not have anyone dishing out on dates regularly when there isn't any serious interest.

    Hope this is helpful! I wish you luck! I know it's hard, because companionship is soooo nice. I was "stuck" with a bf for 5 years once cause i couldn't let go of the companionship. So I know. But I missed out a lot on other experiences and development (and so did he).

    Best to you always! XO, Mara

  10. danny November 22, 2011 at 12:42 am - Reply

    Hey Amanda – So I totally love what my wife wrote above in answer to your question (and I agree that was a good one).

    I would add only one thing…there's nothing wrong with dating people you WOULD marry even though you're not ready to marry yet. In fact, not only is there nothing wrong with it, I'd say it's preferable.

    When I was your age, I dated a lot of really great girls. Whenever I felt like you described, I'd break up almost immediately, even though I was still having a wonderful time with them and thought they were pretty great. But like Mara said, I didn't want to waste their time or hurt their feelings more if we dated for another year before I ended it. I certainly would have hoped somebody would have done the same for me!

    I didn't do this because I was necessarily dying to get married right away…I did it because I wanted to be true to my feelings and to theirs. I think it's part of having respect for the person you're dating, and respect for yourself enough to know that it's okay if you're single again.

  11. my nyc lover November 22, 2011 at 7:43 am - Reply

    And that reminds me of my former lover that suddenly becomes a workaholic. So I need to ditch him for me to become free again because I know that our relationship is not working anymore like before.
    "Throwing yourself into work and making yourself a lot less accessible than you used to be," says Kerner, "or doing anything, really, that upsets the schedule and rhythm the two of you might have established together" — is a clear warning sign.

  12. Amanda Greer November 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Mara and Danny – Thank you SO much for your answers. They helped clear my head a bit and I will definitely keep them in mind! I'm bookmarking this post as a reminder. I don't want to get stuck again!

    P.S. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this blog? Because I do!

  13. Anonymous December 19, 2011 at 4:12 am - Reply

    Thank you for this post. I am a bit behind but was recently referred by my sister in law as I am in the process of divorcing my husband. This is so refreshing to hear. I have been married to a compulsive liar and prescription drug addict for two and a half years and have finally had enough. So many don't understand my decision but he cannot give me the life that I want and so I have to move on. It is not an easy decision to make but one that gives me hope of a better life. I made the very mistake you are describing and wish someone had advised me half as well as you. I would possibly have been saved much pain and heart ache.

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