It may not feel like this when you are scrolling through your Facebook feed, but there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. That may feel even more true to you because, lately, things have been far from perfect in your marriage. You may reassure yourself over and over again that it is just a rough patch. Or you may assume you are insecure about your marriage because everyone else’s looks so perfect. Still, there is a tiny voice in the back of your mind asking a loud and reverberating question: “Should I get a divorce?”
Divorce is draining—financially, emotionally, and psychologically—for you and your children if you have any. So, do not answer this question with a “yes” too hastily. Below are seven questions for you to consider before deciding whether you can save your marriage or if it’s too far gone.
When it comes to domestic abuse, there is more than just physical violence. There are many forms of abuse, including emotional and verbal abuse. These can be more difficult to spot, but some warning signs include but are not limited to gaslighting, guilt trips, insults, and dominance in the marriage. If you believe you are in danger by staying in your marriage, leave. There are many resources available for domestic abuse victims to find help and safely transition out of their marriages.
Reflect on what is making you feel dissatisfied with your marriage and causing you to question whether you should end it altogether. By thinking about it in earnest, you will learn more about yourself, your spouse, and the nature of your marriage. Contemplation will also help you develop self-awareness. It is easy to blame your marital problems on your spouse. But the truth is that a married couple is a team: both you and your spouse play a role. Try thinking about what you might have done to start any conflict which may exist. From there, you can try to improve the relationship, at least on your end.
For many couples, there are things each spouse does that irritate the other, but instead of confronting and discussing those issues, they brush them off. What happens is resentment and anger build. Eventually, the most obvious solution becomes a divorce. Before reaching that conclusion, confront your spouse and work together to resolve your issues together. Couples often find that communication helps them get through rough patches and reinvigorates the marriage.
If your marital problems stem from an inability to communicate or from trust issues, speaking with a marriage counselor may help, maybe even enough to save the marriage. If you are not able to afford a marriage counselor, your local religious organization may offer counseling services. Also, some cities provide lower-cost options for marriage counseling.
In marriage, spouses often share most of their finances, leaving little to no money in just their name. That means, in the event of a divorce, you may not be in control of your money, especially if you are not the “breadwinner.” Start saving money so that if you do ultimately decide to get a divorce, you will be better able to pay legal fees and other divorce-related expenses.
The sentence, “I want to get a divorce,” is like an earthquake that rips a home in half. It will change your life, and even if you do not end up following through with a divorce, it will take time to rebuild your home and adjust to the new landscape. So something you must consider before saying the “d-word” is the multitude of effects it will have on your life. Are you better off without your spouse? Can you afford a divorce? How will it affect your children? Try making a list of pros and cons, and from there, the answer may become apparent.
We may feel compelled to analyze divorce from a pragmatic angle, but at its foundation, divorce is messy and emotional. Maybe you do not love your spouse, but he or she loves you. Or perhaps it is the other way around. Or you both love each other but are incompatible. If there are children involved, there is a whole new layer of complexity to consider. Whatever the situation, sort through your emotions before getting a divorce and understand that your spouse may feel betrayed, angry, and defensive as a result. As the saying goes, love hurts. So, too, can a divorce. Guard your heart. And your assets.
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