After infidelity in our relationship and prior to making a decision to call it quits, I thought LOOOONG and hard about what to do. Notice I did not say the “D” word! If you are like me, you have learned over the years the seeds you plant and nurture will take root and grow. Therefore, I have made it my business to intentionally not allow myself to even think, let alone verbalize the “D” word.
The choice to dissolve a marriage isn’t one to be taken easily nor for granted either. While coaching clients over the years, it has been my observation that calling it quits comes after many months and often times many years of trying to make it work and weighing options.
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When pondering this myself, I kept coming back to a commitment I made to myself for the benefit of honoring our marriage. I had to ask myself one major question along with several other important questions. Even though I’m not “Pro-Divorce,” there are certainly times when marriages need to consider certain questions too. Before crossing this bridge, I would like to encourage while empowering you to consider the following holistic questions to ask your spouse and yourself BEFORE calling it quits…
- Why did we fall in love in the first place?
- Do you feel accepted by me?
- Do you feel loved by me?
- Do you feel loved in the way you need and desire me to love you?
- Do you feel able to communicate with me? Is our communication clear?
- Do you trust me? If not, how can I gain your trust back?
- Do we need to resolve past hurts? Do we need to resolve current hurts?
- What are your expectations of counseling? Should it be individually or as a couple?
- Why are we not in counseling? (OR) Is counseling producing results for us?
- What are our MAIN issues?
- Which issues are MOST important to who and why?
- Are you willing to change to make improvements?
- Which issues can we BOTH be flexible on?
- What bothers you most about me?
- Which issues are deal breakers?
- Does either of us REALLY want to call it quits?
- What are the reasons you really want to work things out?
- How do you see the future?
- Are we merely going through a bad season in our marriage?
- Are you satisfied with our sex life and overall intimacy?
- In spite of the issue(s) do we overall enjoy each other and the marriage?
- What is truly within your control to change?
- How would you feel if your next five years were just like the last five?
- Am I really PREPARED to go through with this?
- Am I prepared to keep my emotions out of the divorce process?
- If I go through with this, will I be able to maintain my lifestyle?
- How do I pay my expenses during the divorce process?
- Will I try to move on from the divorce and not see myself as a victim?
- Can my partner and I try to honor our marriage and the memories we share?
Last but certainly not least…
- Have WE EXHAUSTED EVERY OPTION?!?
This question to me is the MAJOR question because before I dared to call it quits in my own marriage, I would say “Da-Nay have you REALLY exhausted EVERY single option?” See, it was important to me, regardless of my emotions (be careful not make major decisions while under the influence of emotions) to have a clear conscience and be able to sit with myself at the end of the day knowing that I did EVERYTHING within my control for the sake of our marriage.
Sure, I wanted to have a clear conscience and not be burdened by guilt. But I always felt this was a way of honoring our marriage whether my husband felt like it or not, or whether I did not find my husband worthy at times. I knew the vow I had taken and it was my “duty” to take it seriously. I can say I’m so glad that I did!
Having been through all of the above, it has truly taught my husband and me the value of being as proactive vs. reactive as possible. We’ve seen this value manifest through the “golden nuggets” communicated between one another that set each other, and our marriage, up for success.
After going through, and maybe even before these questions, you probably know each other better than anyone else. By asking the above questions it gives you and your spouse the unique opportunity to create significant awareness about yourselves that you both may desire to work on, amend, or completely change in your marriage.
The best part is that it could very well save your marriage! Both spouses are likely to share critical information the other needed to hear in order to feel wholeheartedly led to show up and put some genuine effort into the marriage. In short, don’t process what you ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ done differently after your spouse has called it quits. Do it NOW to MAKE a REAL difference and to limit regrets.
BMWK, have you asked all the right questions to give your marriage a chance after infidelity?
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