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By Melissa Orlov

The greatest control comes from deciding not to control.
Joel Stein, Time Magazine

I love this quote because it represents my own biggest turning point in changing my marriage from dysfunctional to happy. I didn’

t decide to cede control to my husband because I thought it would result in his loving me more (though it did), but because I had no other option.

He had shown me clearly, with an affair, that not only was I not going to control him, but that he would be able to do just fine without my input, thank you very much.

And so, convinced that my marriage was over, I turned to myself. Who did I want to be? How did I want to act towards others? How would I take control of myself, and cede control of things out of my power? What I found shocked me. Giving up the idea that I could single handedly control the direction of my life freed me! I could expend all that energy I had been using to try to keep life events (and my husband) under control on something much more important – making myself emotionally and physically healthy again. In so doing, I was suddenly relieved of much of my anger, some of which was the result of so much lack of success at trying to control what was going on. I was empowered again. I felt better about myself…and it showed.

So much so, in fact, that my husband took notice, even with the other woman hanging around. I commend him for making the decision to trust me when I told him I had had an epiphany that changed my attitude towards myself and us forever, rather than listen to the skeptics who said it was “impossible.” He took a chance because he really did want our marriage to work, and because I had already shown him what the “new me” looked like for just long enough that he could see it was a big change.

I encourage you all to look at your role in your relationship, particularly those of you who are in parent/child relationships, and gain control by deciding not to control. Don’t wait for an affair to bring the issue front and center.

To sign up for Melissa Orlov’s newsletter “Heart to Heart” click here.

For more articles by Melissa, click here. Her articles are angled towards couples with ADHD, but a lot of the insights apply well to any relationship.