To the spouse who is thinking of leaving…
I’m going to be saying some things here that I want you to know and consider. These are words of wisdom and counsel that I believe you need in what is one of the most critical periods of your life. Before you make any lasting decisions about your commitment to your spouse and your children, you need to be aware of the consequences of your decisions.
You are likely angry or frustrated about many things right now. The fact is most people are not solving any problems or getting any peace by leaving the marriage. In fact, you are probably creating many more problems. If you have children, this is especially true.
Maybe you will find happiness with another person. Regardless of which person you are with, your spouse or someone new, the same work on your SELF is necessary. If you remain the same, you will have the same type of relationship again. Whatever problems you didn’t resolve and work out with your spouse will need to be worked out with someone else I guarantee it. The only way this isn’t true is if you can find someone to overpower and bully around the rest of your life. That isn’t a marriage and it’s not Love. You may feel less vulnerable and more in control in such a relationship but that isn’t a loving relationship and will therefore be less rewarding and less meaningful.
Marriages definitely have their ups and downs. These ups and downs are tied to several outside influences. Finances, health, family stress, job stress. Divorce will not magically solve these problems! Furthermore, when the passion and intimacy in a marriage is suffering, it’s easy to fantasize that someone else out there will better meet your needs. Unfortunately, that’s all it is – a fantasy. As soon as real, everyday life sets in with a new relationship the same old problems will be there too. “Marriage is agreeing to a set of problems” is a quote I use often. There is no problem-free marriage out there folks! ALL problems are solvable if both people are truly committed to the marriage. Boredom, abuse, affairs, addictions, betrayals, can all be resolved if both people are willing to change and let go of resentments.
What I’m getting at is that divorce will not make you happy. Research shows that people who leave their marriage to fall in love with someone else end up less happy than those who decide to fall back in love with the person with whom they have created a family and a history. Most problems that drive couples apart can be boiled down to problems in managing conflict, problems with fear, and poor stress management. Like Arnie told Jack in the movie “Family Man”: “Don’t screw up the best thing in your life just because you’re a little unsure about who you are.”
Before you quit the marriage, try really making it work. Pour some energy into it. All marriages take compromise, a give and take. Learn the skills necessary to live in long term compatibility. There are plenty of classes, books, DVDs, and workshops available for marriage education.
In the larger scheme of things, your marriage isn’t just about you and what you think you need (We often get our needs and our wants confused). Marriage is more important than the individual. It’s more important than your spouse. It’s the basic building block of our society, and when divorce occurs a block in the foundation of our society crumbles. Dr. Bill Doherty, leader of the Families and Democracy Project, has this to say about marriage and society:
“The effects of the decline of marriage on society are striking. The failure of
parents to marry and stay married leads to more crime, poverty, mental health
problems, welfare dependency, failed schools, blighted neighborhoods, bloated prisons,
and higher rates of single parenting and divorce in the next generation. Nearly every
major social problem has deep roots in the failure of adults to form and sustain healthy
marriages. There are other causes of these social problems, of course, such as economic
dislocations and the decline of civic life and social responsibility in the United States,
but the disconnection of childrearing from marriage ranks high on the list of what
ails our society and our communities.”
So please, be aware of the consequences of your decisions. Think hard and long before you walk out of the marriage to which you once committed yourself.
For more helpful information on marriage, please visit http://www.smartmarriages.com.