1). Do I really want to leave my spouse or do I want to make this relationship that I have work?
Often times people get caught up in the “What if”. They convince themselves that getting a divorce will fix all their problems. Sometimes the true solution comes from the person you share a bed with each night. You just need to repair the problems in order to build the relationship you want and deserve.
2). Do I still love my spouse?
People often confuse loving someone and being in love with someone. Love is not the butterfly in the stomach feeling you get when you are young. Love is being with someone who is there for you when you are sick. Who is happy for you when things go well, and has a shoulder to lean on when you have had a bad day. Despite the fact that it might seem like the love is gone, especially with all the screaming, fighting, name calling, infidelity, or just being ignored – it can be reignited. Like a dead battery on a car that just needs a jump to get it charged and running well.
3). Am I asking too much from the relationship? Have I looked at my contribution to the state it’s in?
A marriage is no different than a partnership. It takes two to make a partnership successful and two to make it fail. Recognize that nobody is perfect even yourself. Regardless of what the situation is there are always multiple contributing factors. Have we taken the time to talk with our spouse? Have we taken the time to listen to our spouse? Have we made time for our partner? Recognizing that we may have contributed to our marriage’s downfall is NOT the same thing as being at fault for each other’s actions and choices such as verbal abuse or infidelity. It just lets us know what we need to do to help rectify and rebuild the marriage.
4). Has life gotten in the way of what we thought would be a happy ever after?
Life can be unexpectedly stressful. Too many times we are so busy putting out fires that we forget to kindle the one we want. When a marriage is put to the test by the death of a parent or child, a long term or fatal illness, financial hardships such as losing one’s job, it is easier for many couples to retreat to a safe zone rather than keep an open line of communication with their spouse. Regardless of how strong a relationship is, it needs to constantly be reinforced, and made sure that nobody is taken for granted. Tell your spouse how you feel, how they can help, and offer to help them. You are in it together. When people are under a great deal of stress they are most often unable to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Get help from someone who has the experience and the tools to help the two of you get through what life has thrown your way. Don’t look at divorce as a way out.
5). Has my spouse brought an unwelcome person into our marriage?
When a spouse finds out that their partner has cheated on them, often times their initial reaction whether it be an emotional or physical affair is to run, leave, throw them out, all different ways to give up. However, stop and reconsider. Infidelity in itself is not always a cause for divorce. It is a time to seek help, evaluate what went wrong, heal, and rebuild. Affairs are rarely about love. They are thoughtless acts of instant gratification as a result of someone feeling ignored, hurt, or angry.
Before throwing in the towel, filing for divorce, and hiring a costly attorney I urge you to get professional help. It is cheaper, easier, and for the same effort will bring you both positive and happy results. Find a therapist that believes in relationships, that will help fight for the success of yours. If you are willing to put in the effort, then no relationship is beyond repair. With a some effort and commitment, the potential for divorce will quickly fade.