Really, no one can tell you if it is time to consider divorce… only you hold that answer. Instead, as you read this article, listen to yourself. Listen to your answers. Feel what you feel. Ultimately the answer to your questions are already available to you and will likley become apparent as you take the time to listen to yourself.
So When Is It Time To Consider Divorce?
This is a hard question, complicated by many very strong social factors. Some of us come from religious backgrounds where marriage is considered sacred. Others may simply have grown up in families where divorce was not an option. Though times have certainly changed, there still remains a stigma (certainly in Canadian society) around the whole idea of divorce.
On the other end of the spectrum there are those that grew up with divorced parents and the temptation to “just move on”unnerves many as they wonder if they have what it takes to actually “be and remain married.” You made a commitment for “better or worse.” You feel it is your obligation to do whatever you can, to keep the vows you made. So how do you know it is time to throw in the towel?
Take some time to think. This is may seem obvious, but it is amazing how many do not actually take the time to do this.
Schedule some alone time, away from the children and go for a walk, a drive, or coffee. As you do this, ask yourself some of the following questions… and, again, listen to your answers.
“Has there been unfaithfulness, abuse or another kind of personal safety crisis?”
“Has our relationship simply grown stale?”
“Have I truly and rationally discussed my thoughts and concerns with my spouse?”
“Have my spouse and I spoken to a counsellor about our marriage?”
“Am I becoming someone that I don’t like because of my difficult marriage?”
“If this ‘one little issue’ was fixable, would I be happier in my marriage?”
Has there been abuse or unfaithfulness?
Obviously a crisis such as abuse or unfaithfulness cannot be ignored. Your relationship is not healthy if this has happened. Abuse or adultery are not the only examples of crises…your marital crisis could be financial problems, abandonment or even health issues. Still, a crisis may not demand a divorce… it may simply require work from both of you with the help, perhaps. of a marriage counsellor.
Have I truly and rationally discussed your thoughts and concerns with my spouse?
Discussing with your spouse can be difficult when emotions are high. Know that “discussing” does not mean fighting, screaming or shouting. Discussing means literally sitting down with another person and engaging in frank talk about a matter. It was not a discussion if it lasted less than 5 minutes. Have you actually told your spouse that you are considering divorce?
It is true that some people refuse to discuss certain matters. Have you made the effort to speak rationally to your spouse, letting them know that this is an important matter to you and you desire to talk about it?
Have you spoken to a counsellor about this?
Discussing with a trained counsellor should always be an option before divorce. Even if your spouse refuses to consult a counsellor, are you willing to go on your own? Relationships, like people do not come with manuals. A counsellor may be the one factor that makes the difference between a good marriage and a divorce.
Are YOU becoming someone that you don’t like because of this?
You might feel like you’re becoming an angry person, a guilt-ridden person, a sad person, an anxious or depressed person.
Does Your Marriage Require You To:
– put aside goals you have set for yourself
– isolate you from friends and family
– limit what you are allowed to do for entertainment
– change your belief system
– make excuses for your spouse’s behavior
– feel as if you have to walk on eggshells
– live in fear of abuse
– let go of who you are as an individual
– question yourself over and over again about why you are still there
If this 'one issue' was fixable, would you be happier in your marriage?
It is rare that a marriage actually breaks down over one thing, but one thing can certainly cause immense grief. Is your struggle a symptom or a cause? Would repairing one area of your marriage, have larger effects on your marriage as a whole? Is the marriage broken or is it only smaller areas that needs addressing?
All things considered, how are the other areas of your marriage? Do you have arguments often? If so, what do you argue about? Can these issues be resolved or are they stalemates? If there were not immediate issues at this moment, would you still feel that it was time to consider divorce or separation? It is important to realize that even those in happy, healthy marriages ask these questions at times. Relationships ebb and flow. You’re fooling yourself if you think that relationships don’t come with their down times. If spouses work through their struggles and difficult times, it can often lead to a deeper, stronger relationship.