When Is It Time for a Divorce? If you’re reading this you must be going through a challenging time in your marriage. All relationships go through challenges; the question is, can you work through what you’re facing today? When you get married, you’d imagine a life of happiness with the person you love. You imagine building a life together, creating a home, and growing old by each other’s side. You would never, for one second, even think about living life without this person in your life.
When Is It Time for a Divorce?
But alas, as time goes on, and you get to spend more time together, you discover one thing after another that’s not so great about your spouse. Sometimes, things pile up, and you suddenly find yourself contemplating divorce.
When is it time for a divorce? Is divorce even the right thing to do? What about saving your marriage? Can you save a struggling relationship? But when should you throw in the towel and call a divorce lawyer?
So many things go inside your head when there’s a lot of tension, anger, and frustrations in your marriage. Because of these things, it can be difficult to decide whether to fight for your partner or to file for divorce. And maybe that’s why you’re here.
Maybe you’re still in the grey area. That area where you’re thinking about it but you’re unsure if it’s the right decision, and you’re looking for signs or more information.
While this article will not tell you what to do, it will give you more information about the telling signs of a doomed marriage, what you can do if you want to save your marriage, and whether or not you can still save your relationship even after an affair.
Divorce and Its Prevalence Today
Divorce is the complete dissolution of marriage. Women can opt to return to their maiden name, assets are divided, and arrangements for children are made.
Divorce is so prevalent today that in the US, there’s one divorce for every 13 seconds. That’s about 277 divorces per hour, or around 6,646 per day. It is estimated that between 42% to 45% of marriages in the US end in divorce, with the average age of couples getting a dovorce at age 30.
And in the time of the recent COVID 19 pandemic, divorce rates skyrocketed all over the world. In fact, in the UK, a leading British law firm named Stewarts reported a 122% increase in inquiries from July to October 2020, while in the US, a 34% rise in sales for basic divorce agreement was reported by a major legal contract-creation site. Similar patterns were also seen in China and Sweden.
Divorce, legal separation, and annulments are so common today that when I got pregnant at age 22, my father (who’s a family lawyer) told me not to marry my boyfriend. And I’m glad he did!
My parents have been married for 37 years so growing up, I never really had any first-hand experience on what it’s like to have parents who separated. I would only learn about it from friends, as well as from neighbors who would come to our house crying, talking to my dad. A friend of mine also thanked my dad for saving her mom from their abusive father. But, I was just a mere witness to all of these.
I have always had a romantic notion of relationships and marriage, seeing my parents being together all these years. It was only when I became an adult that I realized relationships are quite hard. From my own experience, as well as from the experiences of friends, I realized that marriage and relationships are extremely complex, and it can be so easy to decide on getting a divorce. Staying, and fighting for the person you love, is actually harder.
So if you’re reading this, don’t worry, you are not alone. Millions of people all over the world think about getting a divorce, and while many of them do proceed with separating from their spouse, there are also a lot who stayed, learned to do the work, and are now in happy and fulfilling marriages.
But let me be the first to tell you, that both roads are not easy. If you decide to get a divorce, there will be days when you will feel relieved and grateful for your decision, and there will be days when you will question yourself.
There will be days when you will cry yourself to sleep, when you think about the past and question whether you did the right thing, and wonder if you will ever meet someone or be happy again. Most people remarry, and others become happy or alone on their own.
If you decide to stay and do the work, it will also be incredibly hard. You will have to be accountable for your own part in the problems of your marriage, while also being more patient, understanding, and loving to your partner. A major change in mindset, behavior, and routines will have to take place. But once you get over the hump together, the end result will be worth it.
Divorce is a difficult decision to make, especially if you’ve been together for so long, and/or if you have small children. It should not be taken lightly. And I’m glad that you’re actually here and doing research before you make that decision.
Those who are truly decided will not take the time to explore their options, as they are already mentally checked out of the marriage. But since you may be in the gray area, you may still be hesitant to file for a divorce.
In the next part of this article, we’ll talk about the signs for a doomed marriage. I don’t want you to read these signs and think that’s you and your partner right away. This is because all marriages and relationships have their equal share of highs and lows.
No one’s perfect. All of us have flaws, and all marriages have flaws. I want you to read these signs and predictors, but I want you to finish reading the entire article, because it doesn’t end here.
Birth Order and Romantic Pairings as Predictor of Divorce
Ever since I attended my Marriage and Family Counselling class, I have always been intrigued by the theory that your birth order can predict the possibilities of you getting a divorce.
It was a topic that really interested me because at the time, it helped explain why I had such a tumultuous relationship with the father of my sons. It helped me understand his behaviors, my reactions, and why we never get along.
It gave me a clearer understanding of our dynamics, and the very things I had to do to make our union much easier. Though birth order and romantic pairings is only one theory in how a couple can either be a good or bad match for each other, the more you understand about your personalities, needs, and coping styles, the better it is for you decide whether divorce is the right path for you, or, whether you still want to fight for your partner.
The idea that birth order can influence romantic compatibility has long been studied. It stems from the idea that marital success can be predicted by birth order romantic pairings.
The Birth Order Theory
The Birth Order Theory was first proposed by Alfred Adler, which uses the birth order of siblings to predict a person’s personality, success, jobs, and more. Many psychologists believe that where you are in your family’s birth chart has an impact in your life.
Using Adler’s theory, Walter Toman, a professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, proposed the theory that birth order can be used to predict which couples will have a harmonious or conflictual relationship.
Psychologist Kevin Leman, who wrote the book, “The New Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are,” agrees with this assumption. He says in the book that birth order does indeed influence the heart of a partnership.
Leman referenced a study that was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, which involved 236 business executives and their families. The study wanted to discover the relationship quality of these couples based on birth order combinations.
From this study, two pairings were found to be the most harmonious of all, and these are:
Best and Worst Pairings According to The Birth Order Theory
First Born with a Lastborn
According to Toman, a first born marrying a lastborn has a pretty good chance of a successful marriage. This is because a firstborn child usually has a Type A personality, which is defined as being more ambitious, organized, and competitive, whereas the last born is more outgoing and can keep the atmosphere light.
The lastborn’s expectations in the relationship is that he or she will be taken care of by the firstborn, and the firstborn expects that he or she will take care of the lastborn, creating a harmonious relationship where expectations are met by each partner.
Toman suggested that the best pairing with the least instances of divorce among a study that involved 3000 families, is a first born female with a last born male.
And the worst match for a first born is another first born. When this pairing gets married, there will be a conflict in expectations and needs, where both parties expect to lead and be followed.
Middle Child and Last Born
According to Toman, middle children are supposedly the best at building lasting marriages because they grow up learning to negotiate and compromise their needs with their siblings. Middle children are flexible enough to adhere to the lastborn’s free spirit streak, as well as give in to the lastborn’s demands.
However, middle children can also be a little confusing to their partners because they are usually not good at communicating their needs. They have a tendency to hide their emotions and thoughts, so this can create conflicts in a relationship.
A middle child also expects to take care of the lastborn since he or she has grown up with younger siblings, while the lastborn expects to be taken care of by the middle child. This creates a harmonious union in terms of meeting expectations in the marriage.
The worst match for a middle child is another middle child because both are not good communicators and they tend to hide their emotions, leading to unresolved issues along the way.
This study did not include only children because there is no birth order with an only child. However, studies have shown that when an only child marries another only child, the divorce rate seems to be high. In fact, the highest divorce rate seems to occur in marriages where both spouses are only children.
This can be explained by a typical only child’s personality, where he or she grew up having all the attention from his or her primary caregivers. When an only child has to share attention with another only child, it creates conflicts in the marriage. They tend to be highly exceptional performers and workers but because they are so used to being alone, they have very little tolerance for other people.
Conversation Traits That Predict Divorce
In my years of study in the field of Psychology, one name dominates in the field of marriage and divorce, and that’s Dr. John Gottman. He is famous for being the researcher that could successfully predict divorce with a 93.6% accuracy. His life’s work is world-renowned, and he also wrote the bestselling book, “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last,” and has written many other books together with his wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman.
In 1992, Dr. Gottman conducted a study in his lab that involved thousands of married couples. He conducted 7 different studies, which involved subjects who were divorced, married and happy, and married and unhappy.
Through his interviews and studies, he discovered 5 conversation traits in couples that predicted who were doomed for divorce. The following list features these 5 key traits:
A Harsh Startup
Couples who begin conversations of conflict with criticism, sarcasm, or expression of contempt are doomed to fail.
A couple could be arguing about who needs to wash the dishes at dinner, and one spouse would begin the conversation with something like this: “If you weren’t so fat and eat too much, then there wouldn’t be a lot of dishes to wash.”
When criticism or name-calling begins a conversation, it’s mostly likely not going to end so well. A harsh start up means that the initial start of the conversion began with negative statements about the targeted spouse.
A harsh startup is hurtful. Instead of the target spouse answering logically, he or she will either retaliate in name-calling, or cower and stop responding. Criticism and a harsh startup will never do any good to a conversation of conflict.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Dr. Gottman called these features The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as they are so devastating to a relationship that these traits are almost always seen as predictors of divorce.
It is a metaphor taken from the Bible, with the Four Horsemen being conquest, war, famine, and death. Dr. Gottman associates these conversation features with these devastating events. His Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in marriage are as follows:
Criticism occurs when your spouse attacks your character. The example given previously is what you can call criticism.
Next, is contempt. Contempt is much meaner than criticism because it doesn’t just attack your character, but it attacks your sense of worth. It also expresses that the attacker feels he or she is morally superior, and behaviors can include mimicking the spouse, eye rolling, scoffing, ridiculing, and calling names.
An example would be a husband who might ask his stay-at-home wife to give him a massage because he’s tired from work and the wife tells him he’s tired from cooking, cleaning, and taking care of her kids all day.
The husband may say: “Oh, you’re tired? I’m the one who has to commute to the city for 2 hours to pay for this house and our kids while you stay here all day doing God knows what!”
Contempt demeans the other person’s worth and it’s like telling the person what they feel or what they think doesn’t matter, and that the contemptuous spouse’s needs are more superior.
Next, is defensiveness. Defensiveness is usually a response to criticism. When we think we are unjustly accused, we will put our guards up and put the blame on the other person. Take a look at this example:
Wife: “Why didn’t you pick up the dry cleaning, which you promised to do this morning?”
Husband: “You know I was busy. In fact, you know I had to work overtime. And you expect me to go out of my way to pick it up? Why didn’t you do it?”
Defensiveness blames the other person and can worsen the conflict even more. Being blamed for something can automatically put you on defensive mode but it’s important to remember that answering in a non-defensive response is key.
The husband could have answered like this:
“Sorry, my bad. I completely forgot because I had to work overtime today. I’ll pick it up tomorrow morning.”
And lastly, stonewalling is when a listener withdraws from the interaction completely. Examples of stonewalling include tuning out, acting busy, singing while the spouse is talking, or simply walking away in the middle of a conversation.
Flooding occurs when your spouse’s negative behavior towards you becomes so overwhelming that it becomes too much to bear.
Flooding is also known as Diffuse Physiological Arousal and it’s the body’s alarm system to escape a potential threat. When this happens, your body gets into a fight or flight mode. Adrenaline surges, your digestion slows down, your blood pressure increases.
If a speeding car or an aggressive dog is coming at you, these bodily changes can help you get out of the way or fight the animal. Once the threat is gone, your body begins to relax.
But, if there is no real threat, such as in an argument, it can be damaging to your body over time. You will feel stressed and anxious, and you can’t focus and act logically. You say things you don’t mean, raise your voice, talk over your partner, your heart races, you feel out of breath, and you feel attacked.
Failed Attempts at Repair
Repairing conflicts is a sign of a healthy marriage, but when there are constant failed attempts at repair, or a lack thereof, it’s a telling sign of an upcoming divorce.
When arguments, problems, and conflicts are not resolved, they can become redundant, and they can escalate to the point the conflict can no longer be repaired and the only next logical thing to do is end the marriage.
During Gottman’s research, he would interview couples about their histories. He discovered that those who had positive feelings about their past, such as fond memories of how they met, were more likely to stay in the mariage, and those who talked about bad memories were more likely to get divorced.
While all of these 5 conversation features are telltale signs of divorce, the biggest predictor of them all is contempt.
Contempt is so destructive because it conveys disrespect. In fact, it is so devastating that couples who are contemptuous of each other have been shown to have lowered immune systems, making them more prone to infections such as the flu, colds, and other viruses.
This is because the target of contempt is made to feel worthless and despised. It affects the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of a person, which overflows into how a person takes care of him or herself, his or her job, as well as social interactions.
It erodes the bond between a married couple and it can be impossible to rebuild a connection when all respect is lost.
The Most Common Telltale Signs It’s Time to Get a Divorce
In a report published by the AARP, they were able to identify the top 5 reasons why couples in long-term marriages end up in divorce. These reasons are infidelity, money issues, lack of communication, empty nest, and unresolved issues.
If you and your spouse have issues with the above factors, does that mean it’s time for a divorce? Well, not exactly.
While there are black and white reasons for ending a marriage, such as polygamy, physical, emotional, verbal, sexual abuse, as well as substance abuse that continues despite repeated requests to stop, it’s actually quite difficult to make the final decision to separate from your spouse.
In the AARP report, most of the couples they interviewed actually pointed out at least 3 reasons why they chose to separate. This goes to show that most divorces are almost never a result of just one thing, but it’s a cumulative number of different reasons.
Most common reasons married couples get a divorce :
You’ve Been Feeling Self-Doubt for a Period of Time
Self-doubt caused by your spouse can make you feel worthless. This can come about from frequent criticisms, name-calling, put-downs, and constantly being told you’re not doing anything right.
These acts devalue your sense of worth and keep you on your toes. It also overflows into your career, your family, and even in social settings. You are no longer confident about yourself, your self-esteem becomes very low, and you doubt your abilities.
According to Maria Sullivan, who is a relationship expert and Vice-President of the website Dating.com, your feelings of self-doubt can even increase when your spouse is always telling you everything is your fault.
When your spouse fails to look at himself or herself and fails to accept that marriage is about compromise and a balance of give and take, then that can mean the marriage is no longer meant to exist.
You Don’t Meet Eye to Eye About the Future
If you find yourself wanting to have children but your spouse doesn’t, or you want to live in a big city but your spouse wants to stay in the country, these priorities that do not match could mean there is no future for the two of you.
Part of being married is sharing a life together, but when you’re not on the same page about the future, and neither of you are willing to compromise, then there’s no need to stay together.
According to Dr. Bryce Kaye, Ph.D., who wrote the book, “The Marriage First Aid Kit,” couples must be able to share experiences even if someone is not personally interested in the activity. This act goes to show that you are willing to fulfill your partner’s needs as marriage is a lifetime of give and take.
But if your values and priorities no longer meet and there is no attempt at compromise, then there’s nothing else you can do but to throw in the towel.
Both Of You are No Longer Making an Effort
There will always be challenges in a marriage and when these happen, both parties should be willing to solve the issue and not just one spouse, that’s according to author of the book, “Project: Happily Ever After,” Alisa Bowman.
When couples face issues they can’t resolve themselves, going to marriage counseling or reigniting the spark between them should be necessary steps to improve the relationship and get out of the rut. But, if neither parties make the effort, or if only one is trying, then it may be time to pack up.
If your spouse is not making any effort to resolve issues, and you feel like you also don’t need to make an effort due to resentments and other reasons, then that’s a large red flag it’s time to get a divorce.
There’s No More Mutual Respect
Remember the biggest predictor of dovce I mentioned earlier? Which is contempt? Well, contempt also means there is no longer respect in the relationship. If the two parties no longer respect each other, you will only end up attacking and defending, and one party will feel rejected and dismissed.
Contempt is brought about by incessant negative thoughts about one’s spouse and it expresses complete disgust on such an incredibly deep level that it erodes a person’s sense of self. It is one of the most devastating things to happen to a person when he or she is the subject of contempt from someone who is supposed to show love and affection.
You Are No Longer Seen and Heard
When you are no longer seen by your spouse, you simply become an ornament in his or her life. You’re there, but there’s no effort of love, respect, adoration, or any form of expression of love. It’s like you’re water, or air. You are there, you are needed, but there’s no show of appreciation.
When you talk about your concerns, your spouse immediately shuts you down. You are no longer being heard and your thoughts and feelings don’t matter.
According to Sydney Ceruto, Ph.D., who is a life coach, she says that you need to actively listen to what your spouse has to say. It is actually crucial to the survival of your marriage to listen to your spouse.
When you do not listen, you are showing that your partner doesn’t matter and that his or her thoughts and actions are nothing to you. When this becomes frequent in your relationship, one or both spouses will have a tendency to confide in someone else about their thoughts and feelings, and this can open the doors for infidelity to occur.
When One Spouse is a Serial Cheater
Some marriages go through one instance of infidelity and they head for divorce. Some stay and work it out. But for marriages where one spouse is a serial cheater, it’s almost always the biggest sign to end the relationship.
This is because serial cheaters are not cut out for marriage. They may want to get married, but they can’t control their desires and cheat again and again, despite wanting to stay married. If you are the spouse of a serial cheater, it can be incredibly life shattering.
You question what’s wrong with you, why you’re not making your spouse happy, why he or she needs to look elsewhere, and why he or she just can’t stop. But let me tell you this, it’s not your fault. It’s never your fault when someone cheats. So please stop looking at yourself and wonder if you’d only done something or if you’d only given in to his or her demands, then maybe they won’t cheat.
When your spouse is a serial cheater, you need to face the fact that they may not be cut out for a monogamous relationship. One instance of cheating can be a mistake but when it’s done over and over again, it’s a habit.
You need to accept that this person, who you love, may not be cut out for marriage and can’t stay loyal to you. They may even blame you for their philandering ways, which is a major blow to your sense of worth. When your spouse cheats over and over again and it has become a pattern, a habit, and he or she is no longer resentful, and even blames you, you need to pack your bags and go out the door.
If you’ve taken steps to address your spouse’s problems but he or she cheats again. You need to stop trying and choose your sanity and peace of mind.
But then again, to divorce your spouse is a personal choice, and no matter what I say or what anyone tells you, the decision is always in your hands. And that is why the next section of this article will focus on how to save a marriage when you think it’s not the time to seek for divorce.
Steps That You Can Take to Save Your Marriage
When you find yourself being unhappy in your marriage, or you and your spouse are no longer meeting eye to eye, you may wonder if things will ever get back to normal again. You may wonder whether you can do things to repair the strain in your relationship, or maybe you’re waiting for your spouse to change.
Whatever it is on your mind, the fact that you’re taking the time to read this article means you are not yet in the space of hopelessness. The mere fact that you spent the time to search for answers to your questions, means that you are making an effort to make the right decision for you and your spouse.
According to Bonnie Eaker Weil, who is the author of the book, “Make Up, Don’t Break Up: Finding and Keeping Love for Singles and Couples,” couples do not know how to stay in love. When life gets in the way, such as having children, having to pay for bills and expenses, the relationship tends to be put on the back burner.
Some people also think that when the honeymoon stage is over, that love has gone out the window. When the butterflies have gone and stability settles in, couples can sometimes forget that the honeymoon stage is not the only stage of love, but building a life together and staying committed, sharing a life, and being supportive are what true relationships are really about.
So when you find yourself in a marriage that seems to be heading downhill, you must act right away. If you want to save your marriage, here are some tips to repairing the relationship before you head for divorce.
At the first sign of problems, such as constantly arguing, you’re not spending as much time together, and your spouse seems to be aloof or distant, you need to act now.
The sooner the both of you start working on your marriage, the easier it can be to get past your issues, as stated by Maru Torres-Gregory, a therapist and teaching supervising faculty member for the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the Family Institute at Northwestern University.
Don’t wait for your partner to change and do not sweep problems under the rug in the hopes it will disappear on its own. You have to be proactive if you want to resolve your relationship.
Do Not Cling and Beg
If your spouse has expressed that he or she wants to take a barek, or that he or she is thinking about separating, do not cling and beg. When you are desperate for your spouse to stay that you beg him or her and lose yourself in the process, it’s actually very unattractive to the person.
Instead of making your spouse stay, it will only drive him or her away because it will only reinforce his or her decision to leave.
You can express to your spouse that you do not want to separate, that you do not want to get a divorce, and that you are willing to make it work. But do not allow yourself to be manipulated.
It can be natural for you to give in to your spouse’s demands just to make him or her stay in the marriage or in the same house. Your partner may have given you conditions for him or her to stay, such as, maybe not making such a big deal about them coming home later than usual, or them spending time with their friends.
But, if you believe you are being taken advantage of and you’re already doing something that’s beyond your values or you are pressured to do something you don’t want to do, you need to stop. Allowing yourself to be manipulated by your spouse will only make you feel bad, which can lead to resentment, and will add more problems in your relationship.
When your spouse asks you to take a break, maybe you can allow him or her to sleep in another room for a few days, or stay at his friend’s house for a while. Give your spouse space to think about the marriage and maybe even miss you a little.
Sometimes, taking time apart can be good for couples to help them realize what they really want out of the relationship. If you’re always fighting, taking a break can diffuse the tension and when you talk again, you will be more calm and logical to really listen and talk to each other.
Forgiving your spouse doesn’t mean that you condone bad behavior. It just means that you see your spouse beyond the act or behavior that he or she is doing.
Forgiveness allows you to move on from an event that may have caused a drift in your marriage. Be more understanding as long as your spouse is resentful of what he or she has done.
If your spouse is sorry and is taking the necessary steps to win your trust and affection, you can take the responsibility of warming things up once again.
Recall Happier Times
When you’re in the midst of unhappiness in your marriage, you tend to focus too much on negative events. But, there was a time when you loved spending time together, when all you could think about was this person and being with your spouse 24/7.
You can sit down together and recall how you met, your first dates, and all the happy memories you shared together. Or, if your spouse is not willing to sit down with you, you can do it alone, and with this exercise, you will automatically be more loving to your spouse. And when you are more loving, if your spouse is receptive, the fondness and admiration will creep back in.
Recalling happier times will immediately help you become more affectionate and understanding to your spouse, and you won’t let petty squabbles get the better of you.
Spend More Time Together
With children, work, business, and all of life’s responsibilities, it can be difficult to look at your spouse and want to take care of him or her. But the problem with many marriages is that they put their relationship last.
Sometimes, you may put your child’s needs above yours, forgetting that your spouse also needs love and affection. When you find yourselves drifting apart, take the time to go out at least once or twice a week where it’s just you and your spouse, and you don’t talk about the kids, bills, work, and all the things that put stress in your life.
Talk about vacations, places you want to visit, food you want to try, praise each other, tell them they look and smell good, and thank them for what they do.
Remember the days when you didn’t have to pay for a mortgage, when you didn’t have to pay for insurance, and you didn’t have any kids to take care of. Enjoy each other’s company even for just one night a week.
While you spend more time together, you also need to give them time to themselves. Allow them to go out with friends, attend a class they’ve always wanted to try, or go to a spa on their own.
Time together is important but so is time alone. Create a balance of being together and being by yourselves where you are free to do what you want, as long as you’re not hurting your spouse in the process.
Get Good at Repair
Dr. John Gottman suggests emotional attunement to save your marriage. This involves designing positive interactions for every negative interaction. The ratio Dr. Gottman suggests is 5:1, which means for every 1 negative interaction, you must counter it with at least 5 positive interactions.
For example, you and your partner argued over spending too much on a piece of furniture. You told your spouse that you didn’t need a new sofa but your spouse bought it anyway because it was on sale. You would’ve wanted to buy a new oven because that’s what you needed and not a new sofa. A small argument led to a screaming match.
When both of you have calmed down, try to talk to your spouse in a loving manner. Over dinner, you can thank your spouse for preparing a good meal. You can then volunteer to do the dishes, and after, maybe ask your spouse to watch a movie with you and cuddle as you watch.
According to Dr. Gottman, there’s a secret weapon that all successful marriages have, and that’s getting good at repairing.
While all couples will argue and have challenges, it’s those couples that make attempts at repairing problems the right way that stay married and happy.
Complain Without Blaming
Arguments and conflicts are inevitable and though you may have the secret weapon, there’s also a way that you can prevent negative interactions from happening in the first place.
According to Dr. Gottman, you can express your frustrations and disappointments but without blaming the other person.
When you talk about issues, do not criticize your spouse’s character. Avoid name-calling, ridicules, rolling your eyes, and sarcastic statements.
Instead, focus on the issue at hand. If your spouse is angry, be understanding as anger is a symptom of underlying hurt.
A good example of a complaint without blaming is this:
“You forgot to change the locks on the door again. Please do it today so I wouldn’t have to worry about someone breaking in.”
Complaining with blaming is something like this :
“Why don’t you ever do what I ask you to do? You’re always so lazy. Do I have to do everything in this family?”
Expressing your frustrations with your spouse can be done without attacking your spouse personally. And with this simple change in how you talk, it can prevent a whole lot of conflict from happening.
These tips may seem easy to do, but they’re actually very hard. When you’re always arguing, you’re always being criticized, it can be difficult to put down your ego and prioritize the needs of your spouse. But, if you really want to save your marriage, then you and your spouse will have to do the work.
If you are the only one who’s trying to save the marriage, don’t worry. Once you start being more loving, being more understanding, and being more patient with your spouse, your actions and attempts at repair will be reciprocated, that is, if your spouse has not mentally checked out of the marriage just yet.
If you can’t do these tips, or if you’ve tried to no avail, then maybe an intervention from a marriage counselor may be the solution for you as a couple. A marriage counselor can help you in seeing each other’s sides, helping you understand your spouse, and create a plan to repair the relationship.
It will not happen overnight. Getting back the love in your marriage may take some time, but if you’re willing to do the work, then it can happen, you can save your marriage.
Can You Save Your Marriage After an Affair?
Petty arguments, unresolved issues, not spending time together, taking care of the kids, and all these domestic challenges are problems that two spouses can work on together for reconciliation. But what happens when a spouse has had an affair?
After all, cheating is one of the worst things that a spouse can ever do in a marriage. It is the most extreme breach of trust and it completely erodes a relationship. It breaks the trust that can be almost impossible to repair, and it completely changes how you see your spouse.
It is humiliating, earth-shattering, and it destroys you. When you get cheated on, everything hurts. The complete cognitive dissonance is devastating as you could never imagine it to be happening to you.
For someone you love much, for someone you entrusted your life with, and for someone who vowed to love you until you die, and for them to cheat on you, it can be the most painful thing you will ever have to go through.
So when our spouse cheats, can you ever forgive them? Can you even save your marriage when your spouse has looked the other way?
It Isn’t The Infidelity That Leads to Divorce?
It may be hard to believe but Jay Kent-Ferraro, author of “Surprised by Love: One Couple’s Journey from Infidelity to True Love,” says yes. Yes you can have a marriage even after an affair. According to him, it isn’t the affair that breaks up marriages, but it is how both parties react after the infidelity.
Caroline Madden, a Burbank marriage therapist, agrees. Madden’s specialty is affair recovery, and she says that it’s not the affair that leads couples to divorce, but it’s the unfaithful spouse’s lack of ability to tell the truth about the infidelity, as well as to end it with the third party.
What Must Be Done To Save The Marriage?
Author of the book: “Fool Me Once: Should I Take Back My Cheating Husband?” Madden advises that cheating spouses must tell the truth and be honest about the affair. The spouse must be willing to answer all his or her partner’s questions about the affair and be honest about all the details.
The cheating spouse must also make sure to cut off all ties and communication with the former lover. If the former lover reaches out through email, text, call, or through social media, the cheating spouse must not delete or respond. Instead, you must tell your spouse right away that your former lover reached out to you, to show that you are not hiding anything.
The spouse must take full responsibility and be willing to do whatever it takes to heal and secure the marriage once again.
Final Thoughts / Is it time to get a divorce?
Marriage is indeed filled with joy, romance, and happiness but over time, these feelings of adoration and admiration corrode when anger, frustrations, conflicts, and negative behavior dominate the relationship.
While many people find it easy to make the decision to get a divorce, there are those who want to make sure they won’t regret separating from someone they love, or they once loved.
Divorce can be devastating, especially if you’ve been married for a long time and if there are children involved. It takes time, money, lives are changed, and you’ll go through a rollercoaster of emotions where you wonder whether or not you’ll feel normal or happy ever again in your life.
But whether you decide to leave or stay in your marriage is up to you. You may read all the things about the different signs to answer the question: “When is it time for a divorce?” but in the end, the decision is always yours to take.
You may also apply all the tips I mentioned and others out there about how to save your marriage, but in the end, it’s you and your spouse who will have to do the work.
Sometimes, though, some things can’t be solved on your own or with your spouse. Some things are better off in the hands of a professional marriage therapist, couples counselor, or marriage intervention specialist who have the experience and expertise to handle difficult cases of infidelity, contempt, substance abuse, and other problems that are typically found in marriages.
Because divorce and separation among married couples is so common today, Marriage and Family Counseling was actually a major part of the curriculum when I studied for the Master’s in Counseling Psychology program. It was also one of the most interesting courses I took and it opened my eyes to the world of marriage, and all the complexities of married couples and families in general.
Counseling though does not work overnight. And a therapist will not be able to solve all your problems. In fact, a therapist will not solve your problems because you and your spouse will be the one to do the work. A therapist will only point you in the right direction and create a map for you and your spouse to follow, so you can get back to the very start where your love and adoration for each other ignited your relationship.
But, if all else fails, you should be willing to accept that divorce may be the best choice for you, your spouse, and your children, if you have any. When all efforts of reconciliation and repair have been exhausted and you still suffer the very same problems, the best thing to do is to simply accept that you can never get along as husband and wife, and that divorce may be the best decision you can make for yourself and for your spouse.
When there is a refusal or a failure at all efforts of repair, after repeated attempts, it may be time to accept, let go, and move on.