Updated: Mar 1
How to know if It Is time to get a divorce or just an opportunity for improvement
More than half of married couples have contemplated divorce.
Relationship conflict can be a trigger for growth.
Sometimes, the healthiest option is divorce.
Discernment counseling can help a couple make the right decision.
More than half of couples that get married each year contemplate divorce at some point. That’s because relationships are complicated. And, areas of struggle often turn into growth opportunities – even if that means growing apart.
Relationships have highs and lows where sometimes you’re learning, and, sometimes, you’re teaching. Typically, there are several challenges in the interim, but you always learn something in the end.
Therein lies the problem for many couples, however. It isn’t always easy to tell if it’s time to get a divorce or if you’re simply facing a valuable learning experience.
This guide will explain why divorce is sometimes the best decision. We’ll detail the signs that it might be time to let go and grow apart.
Divorce is sometimes the best option
Every marriage is different. Only those involved genuinely know when it’s time to call it quits. Most divorces occur when problems become insurmountable after multiple attempts to fix them or when people simply grow apart. Divorce can be scary, but staying in a marriage that you don’t belong in can be physically and mentally harmful.
So, what should you look for if you can’t decide if you should stay married or not? Here are eight signs that divorce is the best option.
1. A lack of respect
Mutual respect is one of the best signs of a healthy marriage. Unfortunately, when it starts to wane from one partner, the other partner feels rejected and dismissed. Those feelings can quickly turn into feelings of contempt and anger.
Maintaining respect for someone you are with constantly takes a lot of hard work, especially as time passes. If a point comes when one partner isn’t willing to do that work any longer, the relationship is no longer healthy.
2. An increase in arguments
Many couples can argue, even heatedly, and maintain healthy, loving relationships. Some cannot. For a lot of couples, even minor issues become high-conflict challenges that eventually cause adverse emotional experiences.
When you have the same arguments over and over without resolving anything, the chances of having a healthy marriage are low. Without proper conflict resolution skills, you cannot get past the challenges.
3. You have different ideas about the future
Issues such as whether to have children and where you want to retire are huge in a marriage. When you’re both going in separate directions, it’s impossible to sustain a committed marriage. Couples can compromise in most situations, except when one spouse feels so strongly that compromise isn’t an option. An unclear future is a sure sign that the marriage is not viable.
4. You live separate lives
Spending a huge amount of time on your phone or constantly doing overtime at work can indicate that your marriage is in trouble. When a couple reaches the end of a marriage, they will uncouple, or detach, from each other (sometimes unconsciously). This usually means they spend less and less face-to-face time together and have less communication.
5. You have both stopped trying
Both spouses have to be committed to making a marriage work for it to flourish. When just one spouse makes an effort, the marriage soon deteriorates. It leaves one partner feeling like they’re the only one holding up their end of the deal. When you feel put out, used, or taken advantage of, it’s not a situation you want to remain in.
6. A lack of intimacy
A lack of intimacy alone isn’t usually a dealbreaker in every marriage. Couples can work through most intimacy issues with basic couples therapy. It can be, however, when it’s combined with other problems, or when intimacy is a top priority for one spouse.
7. Domestic violence occurs
Violent behavior is never the answer to any sort of relationship conflict. Domestic violence can be mental, physical, or emotional. Once abuse happens once, it usually continues. Therapy and divorce are the healthiest solutions for a marriage plagued by domestic violence.
8. Habitual cheating is an issue
Adultery is highly damaging to a marriage because it breaks trust. Many marriages survive infidelity when it happens once. Couples therapy can help reveal the root of the problem and help a couple heal. When it happens consistently, however, that spouse isn’t marriage material, and waiting around won’t change that fact.
Making the decision
The intense emotions and complex circumstances involved when contemplating divorce usually necessitate some form of assistance. The most common types are:
Legal – a mediator
Religious – a pastor or some other religious leader
Medical – a therapeutic professional
Discernment therapy works for many couples. It’s an efficient way for relationship counselors to help couples see their situations clearly. It’s especially helpful when a couple is ambivalent or having trouble deciding because it focuses on real-world solutions that make deciding less scary.
Divorce is a major life decision, but that doesn’t mean it has to be traumatic or difficult. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it when you’re in an unhealthy marriage. Permit yourself to move forward. There’s more life to live and enjoy after divorce.
Need help coming to a decision in your relationship?
You aren’t alone if the topic of divorce is confusing and scary to you. That’s why we’re here. The Love Discovery Institute is an elite emotional and cognitive wellness center with licensed therapists that provide services for adults, children, and teens.
Our therapists understand what makes relationships work and help people learn how to make significant and authentic connections. If you are having challenges in your marriage and wondering if divorce is the best option, we can help.
We are ready to welcome you with open arms. Make an appointment today if you’re ready to explore discernment or another type of couples therapy. Are you feeling uncertain about how we can help? Call 305.605.LOVE (5683).