No one goes into a marriage anticipating it will end in divorce; however, divorce is a reality for over 40% of Canadians.
It is completely natural and expected for couples to go through many ups and downs throughout their long-term relationship. Linda Carroll describes this in her book, Love Cycles: The Five Essential Stages of Lasting Love. Carroll describes these stages as moving from the honeymoon phase towards a realization of both your own and your partner’s faults and culminating in a decision point. The decision being:
- Separate or Divorce
- Do nothing and lead parallel lives
- Build a new relationship with your spouse by acknowledging that the old marriage is over and working to build the new relationship
If you have arrived at this decision point, you have likely been swirling around in a decision/indecision cycle for some time now with questions like “Is divorce the right thing for me?” or “What should I do now?” but never taking steps towards any kind of solution. This is what we describe as the limbo stage, and the longer you remain here, the harder it becomes to get out.
The question of whether divorce is a problem or solution is truly specific to the individual situation; however, one thing that is guaranteed is that divorce still holds stigma, shame and a sense of failure. In fairness, there is also stigma, shame, and sense a of failure for those who choose to remain in marriages that others may deem “problematic.”
Ultimately, the decision to stay in or leave a marriage is a personal decision. Everyone has their own unique circumstances and reasons for choosing to stay or end their marriage. Your decision, regardless, needs to be viewed by you as an opportunity for growth and a chance to move towards a happier life. This lesson will allow us to examine our societal and cultural presumptions about marriage and “til death do us part.”