Sometimes, marriage can feel like an uphill battle that’s relentlessly frustrating. But done correctly and with two partners who truly value each other, it can be a blissful, peaceful union. A strong marriage is a product of consistent effort, love, appreciation, respect, and kindness.
However, to get to this point, people have to be willing to do everything possible to make their marriage work. Unfortunately, most people have no idea how much work is involved in making a successful marriage. In fact, most people get with partners without fully understanding the demands and requirements of this union.
Oftentimes, the dreams they had about being happy forever turns out to be nothing but a mirage. For many, this inability to attain those dreams causes them to lose hope, thus leading to their desire to separate.
While many things can lead one or both partners in a marriage to decide to end it, it’s important to consider some things first.
Have You Truly Exhausted All Options?
The skirmishes and battles fought in marriages can often feel like wars. Why? Because there’s a lot of emotion involved.
While your marriage can sometimes feel like it would be easier to walk away from it, take a moment to consider if you’ve truly done everything you can to salvage the relationship.
Most of the time, the issues can be fixed IF the root causes are addressed and both parties are willing to do the work. Most people who start thinking of separation often do that because they expected to continue to feel like they are in love.
There are very few situations in which a marriage can’t be fixed –usually when there is a direct or indirect threat to the life of one partner and/or the kids. If a marriage isn’t at that point, and the couple still likes one another, then there’s hope.
Are Your Expectations Unrealistic?
Marriages, like people, evolve. Over time, the dopamine and oxytocin rush that most people feel during the early stages of their marriages wane. This is replaced by a more familial or platonic feeling. This is perfectly normal and even expected.
Yet, many people assume that they’re no longer in love with their partners just because they no longer feel heady about them. This leads to the question about expectations. Are your expectations in keeping with what’s obtainable? Or do you feel like you can get more?
Does your relationship feel like you’re just going through the motions? Are you sure that you’re being fair with your expectations from your partner? Most importantly, have you spoken to your partner about how you feel? The truth is that as we get older and go through various stages in the marriage, the marriage changes.
Also, your partner is bound to change –hopefully for the better. It would be unfair to your partner to think that they’ll be the same person you wedded years ago.
The reality is even as you think about this, you have also changed. It’s just most people are often blind to their flaws and don’t recognize their problems. It takes deep introspection to come to terms with this and understand it.
So, check your expectations.
What’s the Impact on the Children?
Most of the time, children are often victims of collateral damage. In the battle for turf and sanity between both parents, the children’s needs are often the last to be met. This is why, as parents, it is important to think about what your separation can do to the children.
Studies have shown that children raised in separate homes tend to fare poorly compared to those raised in two-parent households. So when you’re weighing the pros and cons of legal separation from your partner, consider the children’s welfare.
Of course, if the marriage is broken down completely and nothing can be salvaged, then this would be a different scenario. You’ll both have to find an arrangement that works for the kids. Whatever the case, the children should be a high priority when partners are considering any form of separation.
Can Your Relationship Be Salvaged?
There are three major reasons for divorce:
- Physical or emotional abuse, and the significant risk of threat to life
- Substance abuse
- Mental illness or breakdown
If your relationship doesn’t have two or more of these components, then, maybe it can be salvaged. As difficult as it may be, couples sometimes find their way back from the pain and scars of infidelity. But partners hardly recover from domestic and substance abuse.
How Much Hurt Did You Cause Your Partner?
It’s easy to point fingers when you’re hurt and angry. But have you considered just how much hurt you may have caused in return? Sometimes, a partner’s actions are a reaction to the other partner’s actions.
So take some time to do some self-audit. Are you overly critical of your partner? Do you now harbor contempt in place of admiration and kindness? Are you consistently resentful of your partner? Do you bear more anger and rage towards your partner?
Here’s the interesting thing: you may be unaware that you harbor these feelings. This leads us to the next point.
Have You Sought Counsel from Specialists and Professionals?
Sometimes, you need to examine the state of your marital relationship. Most people assume that the only time they need to book counseling sessions with marriage counselors is when things have gotten really bad. That’s not true.
You need to examine your feelings and state of mind with a marital counselor. Sometimes, these sessions can reveal resentments that you didn’t even know you had. It’s not unusual for couples to realize that they don’t want a separation during marital counseling sessions.
Many realize that their needs are different, and they want something else. So before you think of separating, maybe try counseling first.
Marriage is hard work. But if both partners do the work, it can be easy, beautiful, and amazing. Separation should always be a last resort. Many couples separate because there’s a lot of argument and conflict.
Yet, marriages can be salvaged and brought back from the brink of destruction by couples willing to make an effort. So don’t give up just yet. Hang in there and explore other safer alternatives first.