Don’t ask for divorce, ask these ten questions instead when your marriage is in trouble
The decision to get a divorce is not one to be taken lightly. Although celebrity couples getting married and divorced on a whim might seem commonplace, it isn’t always as simple and clear cut for the rest of us.
For starters, getting a divorce is expensive. From finding the right family solicitors (www.brookman.co.uk) to expensive lifestyle changes, divorce can throw a spanner in the works for your finances. It’s also a huge upheaval that might require you to sell your home, move to a new town, change your job or reduce your working hours. And when there are kids involved, it becomes even more complicated.
With this in mind, here are some of the questions you could ask yourself before going down the divorce route. It might be difficult, but you could salvage your marriage and turn things around. Couples that stay together in the long term will tell you that marriage is hard work, and you may need to accept a certain level of compromise.
1. Have you made your issues clear?
Communication is essential for a successful marriage. If your partner doesn’t know why you’re unhappy, unfulfilled or unsatisfied in your marriage, it can be difficult for you to move forward. Speaking and listening are two of the most difficult skills you need to learn in marriage. If you are unhappy with any aspect of your marriage, your first step should be to air your grievances and make sure you are heard.
2. Do you share the same expectations?
Not many couples start their marriage by sharing their expectations. Marriage is a romantic and exciting prospect rather than a practical one. So it should come as no surprise that wires can get crossed along the way. It may be that you don’t have the same expectations of marriage as your partner.
Perhaps they had hoped you would stay home and raise the family while they continued to develop their career. Or perhaps they had hoped you would move to be closer to their family once you settled down. The first step to avoiding divorce is to make sure you’re on the same page. A large part of a marriage is about compromise, so once you know each other’s expectations, you can both decide how much you are willing to compromise.
3. Do you believe you would be happier without your spouse?
This can be difficult to answer without being able to test it out. A trial separation might help you to decide if you are unhappy with your partner or unhappy with another aspect of your life. Think about the last five years of your life. Would you be happy if the next five years looked the same?
4. Do you still love them?
If you don’t love your partner anymore, there is little sense in trying to save your marriage. But if you do still love them, you have a chance to turn things around. It will take compromise and work from both of you, but the alternative is walking away from the person you love.
5. Have you tried counselling?
If you are struggling to communicate, counselling can help by bringing in a mediator. This can help to force both of you to really hear what the other person is saying. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and communication has broken down, this can be the logical next step.
6. How will this impact your children?
Going through a divorce with children is difficult, and it could cause more disruption than it’s worth. While young children will be more resilient, older children might struggle with the idea. They might also resent the idea of having to move house or move to a different school when they are nearing the end of their education. If you have older children, it might be in their best interest to wait until they have left home before making any big changes.
7. Are you financially prepared?
Divorce is an expensive process. It’s important that you are prepared for the financial impact of a divorce before you start proceedings. It’s not just the solicitor and court fees that will have an impact on your finances. You will also be making the change from being a joint household to two individual households. Your expenses could double overnight, and you’ll also have to add the cost of court fees on top. This isn’t something you should attempt if you are struggling financially.
8. Are you prepared to fight for your marriage?
Saving a marriage on the brink of divorce is not a simple or easy task. So if you aren’t willing or able to fight for it, you may feel that you have reached the end of the road. Dig deep and decide if you have the emotional and physical strength to fight for your marriage or if you feel your energy would be better spent creating a new life for yourself on your own.
9. Was there a time when you were happy in your marriage?
When things are bad in a marriage, this tends to taint our view of every of the entire marriage. Be honest with yourself and determine if there was ever a time when you were happy in your marriage.
Once the honeymoon phase was over, did you settle into a period of happiness, or did the cracks quickly begin to show? If the honeymoon phase was short-lived and you quickly started to wonder if you had made a mistake, this might not be a marriage worth saving. But if you can think back to a time when you were both truly happy, your marriage may be worth fighting for.
10. Are there external factors to blame?
Parenting, money, grief and job stress can all put an enormous strain on your relationship. External factors shouldn’t be a reason to call it quits on your marriage, so think about the source of your relationship woes. If it is external factors, think about how you can address those before you call it quits on your marriage. You may be better off fighting these things together rather than on your own.
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