Do You Need to Divorce?

Is your marriage over?  You are having trouble with your marriage if you feel persistently angry with your spouse, if you hit one another, if you drink or medicate to avoid relating, or if you persistently prefer other companions.  Trouble may sometimes feel like feeling nothing at all.

If you are having trouble with your relationship, talk with your partner about your difficulty.  Ask your partner to join you in solving the problems.  You may be able to save your failing marriage by changing some habits and attitudes.

If your requests for conversation bring no relief, involve others.  Ask your partner to face your problems with a pastor, rabbi, imam, mutual friend, or respected relative.  If that encounter fails, seek focused professional help: a marriage counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist.  If that intervention bears no fruit, you may need to divorce.

Divorce is the rule in American marriage, not the exception.  Most marriages end in divorce.   People change.  New relationships form.  Pressures, parenting, diseases, and relocations frequently injure partnerships.  Do not endure a dead marriage to protect your children.  Marriage research shows that respectful divorce is better for children than a marriage bubbling with hostility.  A partner may stunt his or her growth and lose a sense for life’s meaning by refusing to end a lifeless relationship.  And the partners’ children may be irreparably injured.

Divorce is a bad idea.  No one should divorce lightly, or because anger burns deep.  My mental health professional friends are convinced that no one should divorce because their relationship is dysfunctional.  Dysfunction can be fixed.  If you can avoid divorce, you should.  But persevering in a lifeless or hostile or dangerous marriage injures you and those about whom you care.  Weigh the merits.  Take care of yourself.  Take care of your spouse.  Take care of your children.  Take care of your extended family and friends.  Divorce, if you must.