I wish we lived in a world where everyone is happily married, but in real life, I know that is far from true. Many people are unhappily married and the reasons why are plentiful. Some unhappy marriages can turn into happy ones if both parties are willing to put in the work. Others will fail even if measures are taken to save what once was. Sadly, in some cases, divorce is imminent.
Whether you believe life is complicated, or simply that people complicate life, one fact remains true: Determining what to do about a failing marriage is never simple. A decision about ending a marriage that you hoped would last your whole life is complicated stuff.
6 Critical Questions to Ask Before You Think About Divorce
In this article:
- How was our relationship before marriage
- Am I in danger?
- Is there unresolved hurt?
- Am I struggling with forgiveness?
- Would my life be better if we’re apart?
- Am I staying only for the kids?
So what makes a marriage bad? There is no way to answer this because it’s such a personal matter. Some marriages are bad because they were never right to begin with. Some turn bad because a painful experience wasn’t managed well.
And then, of course, you have issues like mistrust, infidelity, financial problems, loss of passion, and growing apart. There is a long list of issues that can leave someone feeling like the marriage they have is just not what they want for their life anymore.
The toughest question to answer is, what do I do about my bad marriage? Because, the final decision is never easy. Should you walk away from your marriage? Do you need a break? Will therapy help? What about prayer? So many things to consider, so many options to choose from. Indeed, feeling like you’re in a bad marriage can be quite complicated.
I firmly believe that so many people walk away from marriages without really trying to work things out. Now, it’s that you should stay no matter what because I do not believe that’s true. I take marriage vows very seriously, but I also realize that some relationships just won’t last—no matter what.
So if you are in what you consider a bad marriage, here are a few critical questions you should ponder before you decide to leave or stay. The answers to these questions can help you truly determine what your next step should be.
1. Was our relationship a happy and healthy union prior to marriage?
Many marriages get off to a bad start and it’s often because the marriage never should have occurred. It’s a sad truth that people get married for the wrong reasons all the time. So ask yourself what your relationship looked like prior to marriage.
If it was always a challenge, maybe your problem lies in the fact that you married the wrong person. However, if you can remember being really happy together, and in a really healthy place, maybe what you have is worth holding on to if you seek the right help.
2. Am I in danger?
If you truly believe staying with your partner puts you and your children in danger, you have to remember that your safety comes first. Never compromise your safety in the name of love. If you need help with leaving an unsafe situation contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
3. Is there a painful experience we never worked through?
Maybe one of you lost a loved one, maybe you experienced a miscarriage together, or maybe you are dealing with infidelity. And these are just some of the painful experiences couples go through together.
Ask yourself if you can think of a painful experience that truly left a lasting imprint on your marriage, and things just haven’t been the same since. Marriages can deteriorate over time when something painful happens and the pain behind it is never addressed or managed. Ignoring pain doesn’t make it go away; it simply allows the pain to linger and grow.
4. Am I struggling with forgiveness?
We’ve heard it time and time again, yet so many of us refuse to embrace the undeniable truth: Forgiveness is not about the person who wronged you; it’s about YOU. Are you unable to forgive your spouse for something? Are the pain and resentment associated with it eating away at you? You have to show yourself some tenderness and develop the ability to forgive.
Things may seem bad in your marriage, but if the inability to forgive is at the root of it, please know that being unable to forgive will leave you damaged whether you stay with your spouse or not.
5. Do I truly think my life would be better without my spouse?
This is a simple question, but the answer can offer a whole lot of insight and direction. Give it some serious thought before you make any decisions about your union.
6. Am I only thinking about staying because of the kids?
Kids are incredibly intuitive and staying in an unhappy marriage only because you think it’s best for the kids just won’t turn out well. What’s best for your kids is to have happy, healthy parents.
BMWK family, what questions do you think should be asked before staying in a bad marriage?
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on July 3, 2015, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.