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Is My Marriage at its End?

Is My Marriage at Its End

Road out Ahead?

Are you second-guessing your decision to get married, or at least your choice of spouse? Perhaps you’ve had a major blowout. Or perhaps the everyday stressors of life—money, work, child care, etc.—have left gaping potholes in your relationship.

At present, the road to marital happiness may look impassable. But has your marriage really reached its end?

During hard times, divorce may seem unavoidable. As with most decisions in life, however, there is more than one path. Despite the frequency it appears on divorce petitions, relatively few marriages have truly irreconcilable differences—those “incapable of being brought into harmony or adjustment.”

A major study by Linda Waite at the University of Chicago found that in so called unhappy marriages, almost 8 out of 10 who avoided divorce were happily married five years later. The researchers also found that two-thirds of unhappily married spouses who stayed married reported that their marriages were happier.

Most problems in marriage can be successfully resolved … if you and your partner are both willing to do the work. Below are some common sources of marital strain and how to deal with each issue.

Common Marriage Problems

We’ve Grown Apart
“We just grew apart,” is one of the most common phrases heard among divorcing couples. People continue to grow and evolve over the years—sometimes in directions we don’t like. These changes, however, rarely happen overnight. And since married couples generally live under the same roof, these changes shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise. You may feel threatened by the changes in your spouse. You may feel that these changes don’t fit as neatly with who you are. But you don’t have to share every interest or personality trait as your spouse in order to have a strong marriage.

We’re Drowning Financially
You (or your spouse) may be contributing to your financial difficulties in the form of debt, unemployment or wasteful spending. However, the state of marriage itself is unlikely to be causing your money problems. Married couples are generally better off economically than their single counterparts. Take a hard look at your finances and create a plan with your spouse to improve your situation. If needed, look into debt consolidation or credit counseling.

I Got Married too Young
Some couples who marry young later regret their decision. If you are struggling with this feeling, communicate to your spouse that you love them but feel you missed out on some important experiences. Ask for his/her support in finding ways to achieve these goal(s) while protecting your marriage. Arrange to take that vacation, get that degree, or fulfill that long-cherished dream. Marriage does not have to be a barrier to personal fulfillment.

He/She/I Had an Affair
Few things have the potential to erode trust in a marriage as much as infidelity. If both parties are willing to work on rebuilding the relationship, however, even infidelity doesn’t have to result in divorce. For your marriage to recover, you will likely need the support of friends, family, a support group, or a professional counselor. Additionally, the cheating spouse will need to make amends and agree to accountability measures to prevent future infidelities. And the spouse who was betrayed must commit to learning to forgive his/her spouse.

My Spouse is Abusive
All forms of abuse are unacceptable, whether the abuse is in the form physical violence, sexual coercion, or cruelty. If you are an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233). The conversation is anonymous and confidential and help is available 24/7. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. Do not put yourself in a situation that threatens your physical or psychological safety.

We Can’t/Don’t Communicate
We are taught how to speak, spell and write. However, most of us have never really been taught how to communicate. Marriage and relationship education can help enhance your communication with your spouse. For deep-rooted issues, a therapist can offer additional insight. Even if only one partner is willing to attend, counseling can often enhance marital satisfaction.

We’re No Longer “In Love”
Forget every sappy movie you have ever seen. Forget all the poetry you read in high school. Real love doesn’t always feel lovey-dovey. Love isn’t bliss. Love isn’t sexual excitement. True love is an act of will. Love may be the only miracle most of us are capable of producing on a regular basis. You may not feel the same rush of emotion that you once did, but you have the ability to continue feeling—and showing—love to your spouse.

All marriages eventually experience some road-blocks. However, with the help of your partner—and those around you—you have the ability to clear most of these obstacles. The road to marital happiness may sometimes be bumpy, but it is rarely impassable.

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