So your marriage is on the rocks and you think all hope is lost. You are willing to seek counseling for divorce. Never did you think you would end up in this situation. Your asking yourself, “what did I do wrong, where did we go wrong, etc”. Below are questions to ponder or ask yourself that in therapy I might suggest you ask before deciding to pull the plug. Seeking marriage counseling and divorce therapy is worth a shot.
If a couple I am seeing even has an ounce of hope that there is a chance to save the marriage then it’s worth exploring. Unfortunately most of the couples who make it in for divorce counseling or relationship therapy are very ambivalent in regards to divorce. They have fallen into a toxic cycle and only seem to focus on the negative aspects of each other. If you can come up with any positive aspects then there is a chance to turn the ship around.
Often times a crisis in a marriage will shift between the couple wanting to end it and then back to wanting to work things out. Usually this vacillating will last a good year or two. It’s important to tell the couple that there needs to be time to allow the crisis to settle before making any final decisions.
It’s understandable that when your relationship is crumbling the last thing you want to do is cuddle up to your spouse and play footsies. I say try it anyway. Even when the relationship is in severe trouble and attempting to show affection feels very forced and even robotic. Remember that if it did feel natural and easy you would be doing it. A relationship is like a plant. It will thrive on attention and affection. You may want to switch things up. Send flowers to your partner or a nice card. Even if they know that it is forced your spouse will see the effort and will appreciate the fact that your trying.
Just because there are problems does not mean the relationship or marriage has to end. Conflict can be a growth spurt ready to occur. Most all relationships are met with anger and resentment after the honey moon period is over. This stage is temporary if you both can see that. Couples during this phase become defensive and start to play the blame game. This only sets the other partner up to attack back and have a negative reaction to your behavior. It now starts to snowball and nobody is heard and seen. You are both left feeling hopeless, isolated and depressed. With healthy communication you can both make it through this phase.
A marriage involves two people and an argument also involves both of you. If problems have arise then that means you are a major player in the problem getting to point it is at. Try to stop saying “we don’t like each other anymore and we don’t get along anymore like we used to.” Instead take ownership for your part. Ask yourself how you contributed to the argument. Can you say that you tend to take things very personal or let things collect and then explode in fits of anger because you did not speak on the issue at the time it occurred? When you can fix the things about yourself that create or contribute to the relationship, then the whole system can shift.
Regardless of the many challenges the greatest predictor of the marriage is the desire to make it work no matter what. If you both want this to work then you will do what it takes to make that happen. All it takes is willingness. Setting aside fear and ego. Start looking at the benefits of staying together instead of the benefits you both individually see for yourself only.
You absolutely have every right should you choose to leave the marriage and start a new relationship. You may even think that things will be different just because there is a new player in the game. The one thing you forgot is that you brought yourself to the new relationship. If there has been no change and no awareness and growth, then I am fairly sure the same issues will occur in this new relationship. So don’t be stumped. Your the common denominator. Instead try to be open to the benefits of counseling. Once you have given it a real effort and change then if you both feel divorce is the answer by all means go for it. At least give it one good solid attempt.
Please don’t make the rash decision to divorce just because your heart is torn. Marriage counseling and divorce therapy can give you insight and the ability to see clearly. Wait until you have clarity of thought. There are others involved. Your children are watching your every move. They are anxiously watching both of your eyes and reading your body language. Remember that they are affected either way the decision lands. Consider child counseling for them should you see signs of stress in your children. You don’t want to leave the marriage with regrets. You want to be able to say you did all you could do to try to save the marriage.
Stay focused on those things that are within your control. When a couple does come in to see me, they bring in their laundry list. This is a list of ways in which it is the others fault. You may have complaints such as, needing help with cleaning, your irritated at the amount of T.V. your partner watches and so on. These things are out of your control. Your spouse is the only one that can change these behaviors. It is only causing you tons of anxiety and stress over things out of your control. Try to instead stay focused on the things you can control. If your partner wants to change those habits they will.
Once you unlock from the false perception or idea that you can eventually change another you will find peace. Happiness slips back into your life. Not taking things so personal and seeing them as a direct threat is key. Marriage counseling and divorce therapy will help you to see what is and is not within your control.
The bottom line is that all relationships require work. Both on an individual level and on a level that involves the context of another. The less you know about who you are as a person, the less you are able to know another. Self awareness and consciousness is vital to having a healthy relationship and life for yourself and your marriage. Seek the help today to start the journey of healing. Don’t be so quick to throw in the towel. Marriage Counseling and Divorce therapy can bring about the change you have been wanting all along.