8 Questions to Answer to Help Decide if Your Marriage is Over
By Daniel H Moss, Attorney
It’s no secret that marriages can hit rough patches. It happens to the best of them. In some cases, the relationship can be repaired with work, communication, and counseling. In other cases, it’s easy to tell that the marriage is over and cannot – or should not — be saved.
When I meet with clients for the first time, they provide me with insight into their unique situations. Often, they’ve been asking themselves a lot of questions, like: “Am I really ready to divorce?” “Are things really as bad as they seem?” “How much longer should I wait for things to get better?” “What should I do now?”
Sometimes just taking a step back to see the reality of your situation can help you make the decision of whether or not it’s time to end your marriage. While no one can really answer that for you, below are some questions you should take into serious consideration as you contemplate the state of your marriage and whether or not it’s time to take the next step towards divorce.
8 Questions To Ask When Considering A Divorce
Overall, am I happy in my relationship?
If things have not been going well recently, or you and your spouse are in an argument, it can be difficult to objectively recognize whether or not you are mostly happy or mostly unhappy in your relationship. Try to take a step back and think of your relationship as a whole – over the course of the past three months, six months, and year – before you answer this question.
Can I communicate with my spouse without ending up in an argument?
Effective communication is a key to a successful marriage. Are you able to communicate on an adult level with your spouse? Or does the smallest conversation turn into an argument?
Does my spouse support my personal and professional endeavors?
Does your spouse accept and encourage you in your job, school, community activities, and hobbies?
Does my spouse share my overall life values?
A difference in religion or culture does not mean that a relationship can’t work, but a rift in fundamental life values can indicate a larger issue than communication or compromise can resolve.
Does my spouse treat me with respect and as an equal?
Does your spouse speak down to you, treat you in a demeaning manner, or dismiss your ideas and contributions? Do you constantly feel as though you’re seeking approval or defending yourself? Good relationships must have respect in order to thrive, so this is an extremely important question to answer.
Do you agree on how best to raise your children?
A couple does not always agree on best practices and discipline methods for raising children, but are you and your spouse able to compromise on your parenting styles, or do you constantly find yourself in a tug of war over how to raise your children?
When you have good or bad news, is the first person you want to share it with your spouse, and do you feel that you are on the same team?
In a healthy relationship, couples share the good and bad in life, providing support to one another when times are rough and rejoicing together when times are good. If there’s a breakdown in the marriage “team,” it can feel as though you’ve been left holding the bag with no one to help you carry it when it gets heavy. It can also feel very lonely when good news arises and your “teammate” doesn’t share in your joy.
Are you still attracted to each other and maintain intimacy, and are you happier when you and your spouse are together than when you are apart?
Do you find yourself creating activities that do not involve your spouse or that separate you from your spouse for long periods of time? If so, is this because you are happier and more content when you are apart? Every marriage has lulls and life gets busy, but are you still attracted to your spouse? Or does the thought of being alone with your spouse make you cringe?
If you’ve answered “no” to the majority of these questions, it does not necessarily mean that you should file for divorce today, but it may be time to start considering whether or not these fundamental issues in your marriage can be resolved. If not, it may be time to move on so that both you and your spouse can seek to find happiness in your futures.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your unique situation, or would like a referral to a marriage counseling expert, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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