Marriage is hard for most couples – it’s just a fact of life. Pain and frustration in a marriage is extremely common, but that doesn’t always mean that you should get divorced. It most certainly could be the answer for some serious situations, such as abuse, but that’s not what we’re talking about in this blog.
In this blog, we’re talking about the times when you are just unhappy in your marriage and thinking about divorce. There are more reasons than we can list as to why people become unhappy in their marriage, and it’s always a good idea to spend some time and think through it carefully before you decide to pursue a divorce with your spouse. You can do this alone, or with your spouse – whatever is best for your particular situation.
1. What is motivating you? It’s helpful to assess what is truly motivating you to consider divorce. Maybe you think that divorcing your spouse will make you happy, or maybe you have met someone else that you feel you are meant to be with. Sometimes people think that threatening divorce will make their spouse treat them better. In truth, most people carry a lot of their baggage with them after divorce, meaning that those issues don’t go away, but reappear in another relationship.
If what you really desire is a change in the dynamics between you and your spouse, divorce is probably not the answer for you; you might want to consider marriage counseling or some form of individual therapy to really get to the root issues.
2. Do you still have feelings for your spouse? People in troubled marriages will frequently encounter feelings of powerlessness or frustration, which results in a large ‘gap’ between them and their spouse and feelings of being disconnected from their spouse. If you have feelings of love and affection for your spouse, but are simply frustrated with your marriage, it’s definitely a good idea to consider working on the relationship before turning to divorce.
You might also want to think about what things used to be like between you and your spouse. Has your marriage felt like a mistake from the start? Or were you and your spouse once happy and close? These are very different situations that could have very different outcomes.
3. Do you just need a break? Life moves at a break-neck speed these days for many people, and juggling a career, kids, bills, extending family and trying to maintain a strong marriage can lead to exhaustion! If this sounds like you, and you feel like you just can’t maintain your marriage, perhaps consider a short (or long!) break, either by yourself or with your spouse.
Some people find that simply getting away by themselves for a few days enables them to clear their head, get some rest, and assess their life and marriage with a more even view. Or alternatively, maybe you and your spouse might want to get away together without the kids. Sometimes getting out of the rut of everyday life can rekindle the spark and get you started down the right track again.
Another very common thing that happens to married couples who just need a break is that they start thinking ‘the grass is always greener’. Other couples’ marriages may seem perfect, or maybe you start comparing your spouse to someone else. This is a dangerous trap to fall into, and it’s important to realize that you truly cannot compare your marriage or your spouse with another. Everybody is different but everyone has faults and makes mistakes.
4. Is this an emotional reaction? It’s very common for couples to consider divorce after a time of conflict or emotional turmoil. We highly recommend that you don’t make any decisions immediately after an emotionally tumultuous time. Those decisions can frequently be led by feelings, and that won’t solve your problems. It’s much better to step back and let the emotions settle, and reassess at a time when you can think more objectively.
5. Have you considered the consequences of divorce? It’s easy to get caught up in the daydreams and ‘grass is always greener’ scenario that we talked about above. The reality is that divorce is painful and hurts, no matter what the situation. It splits families apart and can sometimes mean a loss of dreams and goals. Paying the bills might become a challenge, and most people experience a loss in the lifestyle that they had when married and experience strong feelings of loneliness.
We’re definitely not trying to talk you out of divorce, because it may be appropriate and the best option for your situation. What we hope to have accomplished with this post is to get you thinking about your motives and reasons as to why you’re considering divorce, along with the realities that occur after a divorce.
The answers to these questions may not come easy for you either, and may take weeks or months for you to answer and decide if your relationship is worth saving. But it’s much better to have a full understanding of yourself and your relationship before starting down the road of divorce. It’s much easier to repair your marriage before, rather than after divorce proceedings have started.