Every marriage experiences periods of conflict, dissatisfaction and even apathy. Does this mean that the marriage is completely unsalvageable and divorce is inevitable? Many factors play into the decision to divorce – such as feelings, children, community property and length of the marriage. Before making the final decision to divorce, consider these questions.
Are your current feelings entrenched or transitory?
It is possible that your negative emotions have created a lack of closeness with your spouse, and feelings of love and affection still exist. It is also possible that the situation is entrenched and highly unlikely to change. While long term couples therapy may not be warranted, several brief, focused sessions may help you and your spouse clarify the issues and determine if divorce is the only option.
Was there ever a true marriage?
A wedding ceremony does not magically transform two individuals from roommates into a married couple. In a marriage, the two people work towards meeting the needs of the relationship rather than fighting to meet their individual needs. If this is the current dilemma, it may be time for both parties to either commit to the overall good of the marriage or part ways.
What is the real motivation behind the desire to divorce?
If your desire for divorce is rooted in a desire to change the dynamics of the marriage, this approach will likely backfire. Your spouse will not suddenly notice and meet your needs because of an impending breakup. Rather, a divorce proceeding will cement the conflict, not resolve the issues.
A divorce does nothing more than end the marriage, divide assets and debts and split the family apart. If changing the dynamics of the relationship is the goal, then taking a different approach may be more effective. Moreover, once the legal proceedings have finalized, your ex-spouse is free to pursue marriage with someone else. If that thought makes you uncomfortable, you may wish to delay the decision.
The decision to end a marriage is a critical one with consequences that can last for years. Making that decision should be done with awareness of the underlying issues to mitigate those consequences, particularly if children are involved.