Throughout the normal course of marriage it is absolutely normal (and perhaps healthy) to have days, months or years where you are constantly wondering – is the marriage worth saving? Whether it has been 5 years or 5 months since you and your spouse have made love, had a normal conversation or spent time together there are reasons to find the answer to this all important and life changing question. One of the trickiest components of this question is that no one can answer it for you; it is something that only you and your partner can decide and feel in your heart!
There are certain instances when most people would agree that a marriage is absolutely not worth saving or enduring. When any partner is suffering from abusive, destructive or humiliating behavior bestowed upon them by their significant other; chances are it is long over due that the marriage ends. From the outside few people understand why married people stay in destructive and hurtful situations for as long as they do. The dynamics are not much different than staying in a marriage for the sake of the children or financial reasons. As humans are creatures of habits; whether the habits are good or bad we tend to gravitate toward sustaining them. In order to get out of an abusive situation one of the partners must have an epiphany of emotion that stimulates just enough bravery to overcome the great unknown of what comes next. Even married people who engage in domestic violence or emotional sabotage are getting ‘something’ out of the situation that somehow soothes their psyche. That being said- when it comes to violence; there is no marriage worth saving!
One of the biggest mistakes that married people make is assuming that they can change their partners. People do not change unless they want to. Some grow, some don’t and some stay firmly mounted on the foundation of their personality without any desire or inkling that they should change. If you are staying in a marriage hoping, praying or even believing that your partner will change one day to meet your needs; you are absolutely fooling yourself and perpetuating your own unhappiness. If a marriage is only worth saving IF someone else has to make a change – chances are there really is no chance at saving anything but your self. Saving a marriage on contingencies is a frugal and worthless investment of time and energy.
Knowing that you cant change other people and realizing that a marriage is supposed to be an enhancement to your life rather than a hindrance can make the decision more clear cut but not necessarily easier. For most people the reasons that lead to disconnect are many and varied and are rarely tied to one single event. Even infidelity is not the result of one drunken night or exploration of sowing wild oats. For people to cheat; there was already something under the surface that felt wrong. In order to save a marriage after things like infidelity or dishonesty – the victimized partner must be absolutely willing to let it go. If not, the marriage may be saved for a year or two but in precedence it wasn’t worth saving to begin with. It is impossible to move forward with a spouse if you are living in the past or are unwilling to forgive for the sake of your own sanity. So many people demand answers to questions like “why” or “how could you do this to me” and they coin themselves as a victim of their own life. Rare is the person who will actually answer these types of questions with the brutal honesty that only they know in their heads. To move forward, to save a marriage after an in discrepancy or deal breaking incident – you must be able to find closure for your self, release blame and ignore those pangs that quite possibly you actually had something to do with your partner’s choice. No one person can force another into anything that they don’t want to do. No one person can drive someone away unless that person wanted to stray away to begin with. What other people do; even our spouses is completely separate and outside of us! Keep in mind that a marriage is about two people…not just one!
So Is the Marriage worth Saving? If the one asking the question feels that the benefits of being with their spouse greatly outweighs the negative than take measures to save it. A marriage is worth saving if the two people still love each other, and are both willing to make amends in their behavior and attitude to try and bring things back together. If only one person is willing to work you will be caught in a vicious circle of disappointment. Marriages are worth saving when both partners can agree that mistakes have been made without placing constant blame, shame or responsibility on someone else. In order to save a marriage and move forward a muddied slate must be wiped clean and the past must be put behind you. The past can only hurt you if you let it and so many of us are always looking backwards at mistakes, regrets or forks in the road where we made the wrong turn that we become blinded to all the good that the future holds.
Letting go of the past is difficult; perhaps one of the most difficult things in the world to do. Letting go of a spouse is difficult as well; especially if children and financial stability are involved. The thing is that often married people who make each other miserable turn into unhappy, grumpy, unproductive and miserable people. This carries into every aspect of their life and it is truly not worth living that way. Your children will never be allowed to see the real you, you ignore your passions and desires in life and are not living to the full potential of life. A miserable married couple who splits and moves on with their life often sprouts the seeds to two people who become extremely happy, content and prosperous both emotionally and physically. If you are better, happier without someone in the long term – than why even try to save a marriage? Initially the break-up can feel disruptive and make both people feel insecure and unsure; but lots of married people find a friendship on this path to freedom that is healthier and more sustaining than the marriage ever was. It really just depends on the people involved.
Although we humans tend to stew and ponder every decision in our life big and small; chances are we already know all the answers in our own minds. Most of us are acutely aware of what is wrong, right and possible in our own lives and have thoughts daily that give us accurate answers to all our questions. The longer we stew and ponder, the more we are in reality just trying to ignore the obvious. We tend to over think things when the messages in our mind already know not only what we should do; but what we will do eventually anyway. Perhaps listening to our minds and going with what we innately already know when it comes to asking whether a marriage is worth saving will not only save time; but further heartache as well!
Going through a tough time with my husband when he wanted to leave because he was unhappy was devastating! We had 2 young children. He said he thought he would be happier if we split. We did counseling and I realized that his issues were just that, his issues. Coming from a broken home and having a pretty unsupportive family growing up made him a disfunctional adult that wouldn’t allow him to enjoy life the way I wanted to enjoy it. I sacrificed a lot to try and make him happy…15 years to be exact! Once I realized that I was making myself miserable trying to make him happy, I decided to focus on my own happiness and keeping my kids happy. We split and now I’m enjoying life, making friends, trying new hobbies and having fun with the kids….I give him credit for giving this to me. Meanwhile he’s sleeping on a friend’s couch and doesn’t see the kids as much as he said he would. I hope he’s in therapy working out his “happiness” because he was in the way of his own happiness. Always remember you are in control of your own happiness!