Maybe you or your spouse are having doubts about your marriage, and have started thinking that the grass may be greener on the other side.
In fact, the grass beneath your feet may be looking pretty dead and dry right now. But if it was to be given the right kind of nurturance, do you think it could grow again? To be even lusher and greener than that grass you are seeing over the fence?
If you are reading this blog post, I can only assume that you are committed to doing whatever it takes to save your marriage.
It’s natural to wonder sometimes about what life would be like if things were different. But sometimes, in order to really fight for what we have, we need a bit of a reality check as to how much we have to lose.
So today I am asking you to consider what life would actually be like if you and your spouse divorced.
I know it’s not pleasant to have to drag your mind through what this would be like. And the point of this exercise is NOT to make you feel guilty or shameful for thinking about divorce as an option.
But it is about facing your fears, and realizing that divorce really isn’t the ‘easy option out’ that it is sometimes assumed to be. Going into divorce with this premise will only leave you bitterly disappointed.
The reality of divorce.
Sometimes, when your marriage has become a burning, fiery inferno that you can’t escape from, or a cold, dark and lonely place, divorce truly can seem like the best option, in order to make the pain go away.
The thing is though, people go for the divorce option on the premise that their lives will be easier as a result of it. But the plain truth is that life after divorce can be just as hard, or even HARDER than what it was when you were married.
Divorce affects your life in major ways. Not only do you lose your spouse, you also may have to move out of your home, your career may be affected, and of course children can get caught in the middle. You may struggle financially, and find that running a household becomes a lot more work when you’re down to just one adult.
Feelings such as shame and failure can take hold over you, no matter how much getting divorced seemed like the right decision.
And the worst part of all this is that often the divorce process drags on for several months or even years, meaning this period of chaos seems ongoing.
Sudden loss of companionship and support.
No matter how toxic your marriage may feel right now, you and your spouse may find that you would really miss each other’s company if you were to part ways.
Living life alone can be really lonely, especially as family and friends often choose sides after a divorce – meaning you may lose a lot of people that were in your life. Therefore your social support may be reduced, along with your ability to cope through this hard time.
Is it worth facing the risk of not having a partner for the rest of your life? Is it really worth letting someone go who has meant so much to you over the years? Who you know inside and out, and have built a life together with?
Marriage isn’t always exciting and fun, but it doesn’t need to be in order to be fulfilling. Sometimes just the comfort of having someone there by your side and to share your life with is the most blissfully sweet thing about marriage.
No person, or relationship, is perfect.
Maybe getting divorced could be a positive thing, and with time you could meet a new partner who is great for you.
But is this really the reality? Dating in mid-life can be really hard, and you may feel like you’re back to square one having to go through the process of trying to meet someone new.
Marriage is hard work, but the truth is any serious relationship is going to have some problems along the way. As we discussed recently, love changes over time.
You may think that you could have a better relationship with someone other than your spouse if you were to get a divorce. But are you sure you’re not looking at this through rose-colored lenses?
Although a person might seem perfect when you first meet them, this is really far from the truth – we all have flaws. So don’t expect that your relationship with someone else would be problem-free.
The unfortunate reality is that around half of marriages these days end in divorce. But when it comes to second marriages, this divorce rate is even HIGHER. In the face of these statistics, it seems that the green grass we see over the fence is often a mere illusion.
Could things get better?
Chances are that no matter where you are today, you and your spouse DID really love each other once. After all, you made one of the biggest commitments two people can make to each other.
Everyone has flaws, and I’m sure you know more than a few of your spouse’s, but can you also think of what their really good qualities are?
What are the things you would really miss about your spouse if you didn’t have them around anymore? Can you remember what it was that attracted you to them in the first place?
How you view your relationship history can say a lot about whether or not you truly believe your marriage is worth saving. If you and your spouse tend to look back on your marriage and only see the bad times, then you are on your way to giving up on your marriage.
This is because when we lose faith in our spouse and our marriage, we tend to look back on memories through a negative lens. For example, remembering your wedding day for all the little things that went wrong, rather than a day of happiness and love. Or worse yet, forgetting how you even got to the point of marriage in the first place.
However, if you look back and do remember all the good times in spite of the bad, then there is hope for the future. These positive memories give us the fuel we need to keep fighting for our marriage.
Consider giving your marriage one more chance, where you really put everything you can into making it work.
If you and your spouse can just get through this current period of conflict and dissatisfaction and learn how to meet each other’s emotional needs again, you may be able to make it through to the blissful ‘second honeymoon’ stage (see How love and intimacy changes over time).
Sometimes divorce can end up being the best way to go, but you will never know until you have exhausted all possible attempts to save your marriage.