Marriage is a big deal. No really, marriage is a BIG deal. It has the power to lift a person to their highest highs but it also has the power to break someone to a dark and heavy low. I have worked with a number of couples that tell me, “I have been unhappy for years and tried to tell him/her and they just didn’t get it, so now I want a divorce.” Some of these couples have tried for 3 years, some for 20 and some for more. When you get to a point where you feel like you are not being heard, and you have tried many things, it is natural and easy to feel like giving up. I am writing to tell you that giving up will not solve your problem.
Divorce will not get rid of your pain.
Giving up leads to a pile of heartache and pain. A common myth about divorce is that you are leaving them to end the pain and rejection. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Divorce is not an event that you mourn and get over. In the event of a divorce you mourn the initial divorce, but there is so much more. There are difficult and confusing holidays, you start to see the effects on your children, then your spouse starts dating, and you often have less money. Wallerstein’s research on divorce and children, call divorce a psychological trauma. Often times individuals feel like a failure, unlovable or destined to be alone after a divorce. At times their children become distant or angry at them for the choice they made.
You might be thinking, “But Katie you don’t understand how hard I have tried. She/he wont go to counseling. I have told him/her 1000 times I am unhappy. He/she doesn’t care and wont ever change.” If this what you are thinking, start by loving your spouse. Shower them with love and affection despite the hurt and rejection you feel. Their hearts are hard to you, and if you want that to change you need to help them soften it. Maybe they do not want to change because they don’t know specifically what to change, maybe they never had the skills in the first place, or maybe you were mean about how you asked. Either way minds are not changed with a fist, but rather with love. One person can change the direction of a marriage.
Be that champion for your marriage, for your spouse and for your children.
It is never too late to save a marriage, even when the divorce papers are filed. If you are unhappy in your marriage try a new strategy to get your spouse to hear you. Do it with love so they do not become defensive. See a counselor, write them a letter, spell out to them what you need changed. Be open to finding a middle ground. Divorce does not affect just you and it does not get rid of the pain you are feeling.
Fight for your marriage like your life depends on it. There is not another battle that will be more worth it.