For couples experiencing difficulties in their marriage, it’s hard to accept how things have turned out between them. It seems just yesterday when all was right in the world and their relationship was destined to last forever.
When spouses begin to realize that the person they married was not at all the perfect person they assumed they were, it can leave them shaken and even disgusted.
Unfortunately, many couples feel that the only solution is a permanent separation.
And why wouldn’t it seem like a viable option? When a person isn’t happy with their job, the logical thing to do is quit and find new work. Why can’t marriage be the same way?
In a consumer-driven culture that we live in, it’s easy to send something to the trash bin if it isn’t working. Why should a relationship be any less disposable?
However, marriage is not a commodity that you can throw out without suffering lasting consequences.
For instance, when a couple separates because one of the spouses ran away with someone else, the odds are slim for the new relationship to succeed. Whatever unresolved problems were present in the previous marriage are likely to carry over to the new relationship, thus repeating the cycle.
What’s to stop the cheating couple from breaking up for the same reasons?
In short, divorce doesn’t do anything to address the problems in the marriage – it only perpetuates the unhealthy patterns from the past.
Furthermore, consider the legal and financial implications of divorce. Divorce settlements rarely end amicably. Some cases last for months or even years – the longer it goes on, the longer you’ll have to shell out for lawyers and other legal expenses.
Are you really willing to put yourself – and your children – through this kind of stress? Divorce is especially troubling for young children who aren’t emotionally equipped to handle the experience of their parents separating.
Divorce will also create destructive ripples within your circle of family and friends. The rift between spouses can seriously affect your relationships with mutual friends, colleagues and relatives.
Worse, the people in your life will end up polarized and might even feel forced to choose sides.
Having said all that, divorce isn’t a quick or clean way to deal with your problems. All it really does is create more turmoil in your life. Between staying married and separating, suffering the same amount of stress is ultimately an exercise in futility.
Working it out with your spouse isn’t less difficult, but in the greater scheme of things you’re going to save yourselves unnecessary grief, not to mention the horrible feeling of a failed marriage.
Of course there are couples who feel like they can no longer live under the same roof. If you’re in this situation, work out a schedule to reduce your contact with each other for the meantime.
At the same time, you can continue attending to your daily responsibilities (e.g. bills, chores, etc.) and maintain the sense of still living together.
In the meantime, you can give each other the space for personal growth (such as taking self-esteem courses, reading self-help books, indulging in a hobby) while seeing a counselor and doing shared exercises on agreed days during the week.
This way, you can save your marriage while satisfying your individual needs at the same time. When both you and your spouse are positive, happy and confident, you’ll have an easier time being around each other.
As you work through your issues, you can still maintain a relatively stable life together in spite of the challenges you face. Changing your schedule may not be easy at first, but remember that this is only a temporary setup until you can make enough progress for things to back to normal.
At the end of the day, divorce (and its devastating effects) is something you should take very seriously. You may think that you’ll be finally be living the ideal life after ending your marriage, but as we’ve pointed out, this is not the case.
Imagine being in the same situation as you are right now, but without the anger. If you weren’t flooded with emotions, would you still consider divorce as the only option?
Don’t let the heat of the moment cloud your judgment. There are, in fact, other ways to resolve your differences that are far less destructive than divorce.