How do you know when your marriage is over? This question of when is enough, enough in a marriage is one that is very difficult to answer. Relationships are complicated, and complex, and there are innumerable variables that come into play when considering to end one. One hundred years ago the divorce rate was 1 in 100. Today it is 1 in 2, and that may be a conservative estimate! The vow of “till death do us part” is all but a cliche today and, in my opinion, has a lot to do with why so many marriages are falling by the way-side. That being said, the puzzling question of, “how do you know when your marriage is over”, still remains for many wives and husbands who are struggling with this convoluted scenario.
The truth about the longevity of many marriages that succumb to divorce today is that most end too soon and with too little effort being put into fixing them. One reason many give, for wanting a divorce, is that they are simply not happy. While unhappiness points to the fact that there are improvements that need to be made in a relationship, it really is not a valid indicator that your marriage is over. One must come to terms with what actually constitutes a marriage. Happiness is a feeling, an emotion. Love, true love, is a choice. There is a BIG difference. If your marriage does not have a solid foundation of love but instead is based on the fluctuating and unpredictable winds of emotion, then the odds of it withstanding a period of hardship and adversity are not very good.
I would like to share 3 considerations of “how do you know when your marriage is over” in hopes that it will help in clarifying this conundrum you find yourself in:
1. Have you given 110 percent to trying to fix it? Far too often people walk away from their marriage with too much left on the table un-done. Apologies left unsaid, forgiveness with-held, counseling they didn’t seek, marriage retreats they didn’t attend, etc. Many times one spouse is waiting for the other to make the first move, and vice versa. This just results in a stale-mate (no pun intended) and nothing ever gets dealt with. This is where you must choose to be proactive. You must decide that saving your marriage is your focus and goal and that nothing is going to get in your way. Decide what personal improvements you can make that will better your marriage and then quickly implement them. Do away with all negativity in your thoughts, speech and actions. Assess yourself. Critique every area of your life as a spouse and get rid of the stuff you don’t like and inject the positive, healthy qualities you desire to have. Life is about bettering ourselves and becoming who we really want to be. When you decide to make improvements on yourself and your marriage regardless of what your spouse does or doesn’t do… this is incredibly empowering! With this attitude, nothing can defeat you. Don’t close the door on your marriage until you can honestly say that you have given everything you’ve got to save your marriage – 110 percent.
2. Another consideration that may help in answering, “how do you know when your marriage is over” is: Can you leave your spouse and end your relationship with absolutely no regrets? And I mean none. If you can walk away without looking back and without wondering, “what if…?” then this may be a sign that things are done. If there are children involved then this adds a whole other element… Regardless, you must know that you know you will not look back with regret. Being 90% sure is not sure enough. This is where you must differentiate between feelings and facts. You can’t go on emotions here. You need to think reasonably and logically. Again, love is not a feeling, it is a choice - a mindset. Write down all the pros and cons, likes and dislikes, about your spouse and marriage. If you have absolutely nothing in the positive column then you may want to consider taking the “next” step with your relationship. But you must be brutally honest with yourself. Don’t overlook a positive just because you are angry or upset at the moment. Give credit where credit is due. Assess your marriage from a birds-eye view with a neutral yet objective and fair perspective. You owe it to yourself. Your spouse and marriage are much too valuable to assess with a ho-hum attitude.
3. A third consideration in the puzzling dilemma of “how do you know when your marriage is over” is: Do your marriage problems fall into the “high conflict” category. Are you constantly on egg shells? Are you afraid for your s