Should you stay or, should you go? The question most that divorce struggle with for some time before making the decision to leave. When in a bad marriage it may seem those are the only two options, staying or going. It isn’t quite that simple though.
There are three alternatives when trying to make such a decision. You can stay and work on your marriage, you can separate and hope that distance helps bring a new perspective to the marital problems or, you can divorce.
Staying doesn’t have to mean the marriage continues on the same rocky path. Separation can be a time for each spouse to reflect on the marriage, themselves and gain perspective on the problems in the marriage. Separation is a great tool that can be used to either save the marriage or transition into the divorce process.
All marriages, without exception hit rough spots. There will be times when you adore your spouse, times when you don’t like your spouse and times when you can’t stand the sight of your spouse. Feelings toward a spouse and marriage come in waves or cycles. Given the opportunity and the application of appropriate relationship skills, the bad times ultimately pass.
The issue that most seem to have is their high expectations for a love filled, “happily ever after” marriage. Viewing marriage realistically and knowing that your marriage will have periods of discontent makes it easier to deal with the bad times. It also keeps you from making a rash decision to divorce that you will later regret.
What do you do if the marital problems are huge and the bad times seem to carry on and on? If you’ve chosen to stay in the marriage in the hope that things will “get better,” you have to do more than just stay.
Couples have options, they can work together to find solutions to the marital problems or they can seek outside help in the form of a marriage counselor or marriage educator.
Lori Lowe, author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss says, “If you are facing difficulty in your life, share your sorrows and challenges with your mate so he or she can walk through it with you. Consider that this valley, while you would never choose it, may be something that makes you stronger as a person and as a couple.”
Whether you work as a couple with resources you find online, in a bookstore or seek the assistance of a trained professional you and your children will reap the benefits of a healthy, happy marriage. After doing the work if you should decide that divorce is the choice for you, you will at least be able to live with the knowledge you did all in your power to save the marriage and keep the family intact.
You may find it easier to “go” if you view leaving as a step in rebuilding the marriage, not ending the marriage. The thought of creating distance from your spouse during times of turmoil may seem counter-productive but if done respectfully and properly, separation can be a great tool for bringing a couple back together.
A controlled separation with the intent to restore the marriage can succeed if there is good communication before and during the separation. There should be honesty about the reason for the separation. If separation is a way out of the marriage for you, don’t lead your spouse on by telling him/her that you are leaving because you “need some space.”
Although the marriage is in trouble there must be a level of trust between spouses about the reason for the separation, the expectations for the marriage during the separation and the goals you are working toward together.
At times the problems in the marriage are too deep, there are no solutions and divorce is the option you choose. If this is so for you, I hope that you are able to dismantle your marriage in a way that shows respect to yourself, your spouse and your children.
The reality is this…divorce is not a “friendly” step to take so there will be some conflict, maybe even periods of high conflict during the divorce. Most divorces are initiated by one spouse. Commonly it is not the result of both spouses coming together and making the decision. Due to this someone is going to be left behind, emotionally hurt and angry.
Divorce will prolong your discomfort, not relieve it. It will take time for you to feel the relief from marital problems you are seeking. Below you will find links to articles that will help you manage with the emotional pain and stress that comes along with your decision to divorce.
Managing the Pain and Stress of Divorce: