I have to admit something.
I struggled writing this.
Because most of the people who visit this website are probably trying to save their marriage and while I am a strong believer that every marriage should be saved there are some situations where I do think it’s better for a couple to split.
Can you believe I just said that?
But more on that later.
For now all you need to grasp is that this page is all about knowing if you should TRY to save your marriage.
Now, I don’t want you to mistake this article for if a marriage can be saved.
Almost any marriage can be saved.
We already know that.
What I am trying to make you realize is whether or not your marriage is worth the time and energy to save.
So, here is how this page is going to work,
How This Page Will Work
When it comes to My Marriage Helper I have a tendency to go a bit… overboard.
What do I mean by that?
I mean that I give away a lot of information for free. You see, my theory is that if I write the very best articles/guides/pages in the world then this website will flourish.
That means that this page is going to be no different.
I am going to go way above and beyond for you and attempt to provide you with the best information in the world around whether or not you should try to save your marriage.
So, here is the rundown of what I am going to be talking about today.
- The Special Situations Where I Think Divorce Is Necessary
- The Cost Of Divorce And How It Relates To Saving A Marriage
- My Theory On Saving A Marriage
- How To Go About Saving Your Marriage If You Decide You Do Want To Save It
By the way, if you are also seeking some answers on how to put it all together, consider this post:
Lets just cut all the build up and jump right to it!
The Special Situations Where I Think Divorce Is Necessary.
This is going to sound really funny coming from a guy who makes his living making sure couples stay together.
Sometimes divorce is necessary…
Yup, I don’t live in the magical fairy la la land where all divorce is never an option that some of the other experts out there live in.
I live in the real world where nothing is ever black or white. Sometimes it’s the shades of grey that you have to pay attention to and that is certainly the case here.
But what are the situations where divorce is necessary?
Perhaps I should put this in a way that you will jive with a bit better.
What are the situations where you shouldn’t try to save your marriage?
Turns out there are quite a few. Take a look at this post if you find yourself questioning how you can move forward without your lover.
Below I have compiled a list of the top reasons for why you SHOULDN’T Save your marriage.
(Don’t worry, I will cover the reasons for why you should save your marriage a bit later.)
The Situations Where You Shouldn’t Save Your Marriage
This is weird.
It really goes against my nature to talk about the situations where you probably shouldn’t try to save your marriage but I want you to listen to the following situation and tell me if you personally would advise to save a marriage in this situation.
Lets pretend that you know a married couple named Jim and Janet. The two of them have been your best friends for years and they seemed to have the perfect relationship.
At least, that was your view of them until one fateful night where you run into Janet looking like this,
After some detective work on your part you determine that Jim has been beating Janet pretty brutally.
Now, upon talking to Janet about her current circumstance you learn that Jim has been doing this for years and there is no indication that he is going to stop anytime soon.
Now, here is my question to you.
When you see a situation like this do you think you could advise that Janet try to save her marriage with Jim?
Personally… I can’t.
And this is just one form of abuse, physical.
Generally abuse can be split up into three categories.
I suppose I will take a quick moment to cover what each of these looks like in a marriage using our favorite fake couple Jim and Janet.
Not too much left to cover here.
Basically if Jim hits Janet repeatedly on purpose or if Janet does the same to Jim then that will classify as physical abuse in my book.
I think I did a pretty good job of covering what it looks like above though so lets just move on to emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse isn’t cool.
However, the good news here is that it can be worked around. In other words, if your wife or husband is being emotionally abusive then I don’t necessarily think that you should try to give up your marriage.
Like I said, almost every marriage can be saved and no human being walking this earth is going to be perfect.
Do you need proof?
Ok, here is a list of qualities that are common among emotionally abusive relationships,
- Constant put downs
- Humiliating you
- Refusing to communicate with you
- Jealousy for no reason
- Needing control at all times
- Using money to control you
- Threatening to leave you
- Threatening to commit suicide if you leave
- Making everything your fault
- Constantly calling/texting when you aren’t with them
I am sure that at some point I have committed a few of these sins in my relationships.
Let’s see here…
I definitely have put down an ex girlfriend before but not excessively.
Hmm… what else bad have I done?
I have refused to communicate when I have been mad before as well.
Oh, and I have threatened to leave an ex girlfriend before (ultimately I did and it was the best decision ever but that’s besides the point.)
What I am trying to illustrate here is that committing a few of these sins isn’t that big of a deal. In fact, I would wager that if you look at this list you have committed a few of these sins too.
In regards to marriage and emotional abuse what we are looking for here is an excessive use of the signs above.
For example, lets say that every time you went out just to see friends your spouse texts you and calls you.
Because they think you are up to something. Now, this fear that you are “up to something” makes them jealous and they certainly act jealous when you get home.
Of course, when you add in the fact that they have to be in control of you at all times you have got yourself a winner.
Oh, and lets not forget that in order for them to feel truly powerful and exert their control over you they threaten to kill themselves if you were to ever think about leaving.
If you are married to someone like that then I would say that before you make a decision on whether or not you want them back you need to ask yourself one question.
What is that question?
Can they change?
Believe it or not change is possible but it will take A LOT of work on their part.
If you ask yourself that question and you are able to answer “yes” then I would say that your marriage is worth saving.
On the other hand, if you ask that question and say “no” then it may be time to invest in a change in your life if you catch my drift.
This is always a hard topic to talk about but…
Sexual abuse CAN happen in marriages.
In fact, it can happen in many different shapes or forms.
I guess I would like to dedicate my time here to talking about a couple of situations regarding sexual abuse.
And like before, I would like to use our favorite fake couple, Jim and Janet.
So, lets talk about the first situation.
Let’s pretend that Jim and Janet are going to bed one night and Jim is “in the mood.”
So, he goes to his tried and true method of begging for sex.
Of course, Janet is tired from her hard day at work and decides that tonight is not the best night to embark on a lovemaking session.
However, being the caring wife she is she decides to tell him that they can do it tomorrow.
Jim doesn’t like this answer and tries to force himself on her.
Janet pushes him away…
Jim get’s angered by this, holds her down and eventually rapes her…
I am sorry but if you have been sexually abused in this way there is no way that I could ever recommend that you try to save your marriage.
But that’s only one situation of sexual abuse.
Let’s talk about the other and more frightening one.
Now, I know what your thinking.
What can be more frightening than getting raped?
Well, lets take a look at Jim and Janet again.
Jim and Janet have been married for ten years and have two children together (a boy and a girl.)
One day Janet comes home early from work and notices that Jim’s car is the the driveway.
“That’s strange?” she thinks to herself.
“He isn’t usually home this early.”
She walks in the house and notices that the kids have been picked up from school when she sees their backpacks near the front door.
“Jim must have picked them up.”
Excited she decides to check on her little girl and walks to her room. When she opens the door she is horrified when she sees Jim sexually abusing her.
Now, let me ask you.
At this point does this sound like a marriage that should be saved?
I don’t care how great of a guy Jim was to Janet in their own relationship there are no words or actions that can be said or performed to make up for sexually abusing a child.
This does not get my stamp of approval for a marriage that deserves to be saved.
The Motto Of Saving Your Marriage That You Need To Live By
Lets switch gears for a moment and talk about something more uplifting.
I am a pretty positive guy and that last section totally bummed me out so I want to turn our attention to the marriages worth saving.
Do you remember above when I said,
Almost every marriage can be saved
Well, that “almost” in the phrase above were the situations where you shouldn’t save your marraige.
Other than that just about every marriage out there is worth saving.
Now, I entitled this section “The motto of saving your marriage that you need to live by” for a reason.
There is a motto that I want you to get really used to because you are going to be hear me say it a lot here at My Marriage Helper.
What Is The Motto?
Are you ready?
Ok, here is the motto!
Leave no stoned left unturned
It’s funny, when I hear this phrase I always picture some guy in a forest of stones kind of like this,
And he is just going around turning over every single stone.
Now, while I am sure that little image was interesting to you it really doesn’t capture what the phrase means to us here.
Look, if you want to give up on your marriage that is fine. I am not going to stop you.
HOWEVER, only after you have turned over every stone.
What do you think I mean by that?
Ok, lets say that you are debating on whether or not you should save your marriage. Maybe your husband or wife hasn’t been the best to you in recent years but you haven’t take any actionable steps to improve things.
That means that there are still stones that you haven’t turned over yet.
I mean, at the end of the day you can’t close your eyes and say that you have done absolutely everything in your power to save your marriage.
From what I have seen in my own life most people give up on their marriages without making any effort at all to fix things or “right the ship” so to speak.
I want to dive a little bit deeper into this for you since this motto about “leaving no stone unturned” is kind of a big deal.
The Goodnight Tactic
I am going to teach you a little tactic for saving your marriage and it is going to require a bit of work on your part BUT it aligns perfectly with MMH’s (My Marriage Helpers) motto of leaving no stone unturned.
Requirements For “The Goodnight Tactic”
- Hard Work
What The Goodnight Tactic Is
I want you to take out a pen and paper and write down EVERYTHING you can possibly think of that will save your marriage.
Now, I realize that it’s hard to think of everything to save your marriage in one sitting BUT do your best. If you happen to think of something down the road feel free to add it to the list.
Oh, and if you need a few ideas of what you can do to save your marriage you can read the uber long workshop I wrote about saving marriages.
Once you have your list all written out the easy part is over and it’s time to start actually checking a few items on that list off.
At the end of the day (every day) right before you go to bed I want you to pick up the list and look it over.
If you ended up completing one of the things on the list you can check it off.
If you still have a lot of items that aren’t checked off then don’t sweat it. Just take things one day at a time.
Essentially what you are doing with this list before bed (you see where the goodnight part comes in, right?) is you are listing out all the stones you still have to turn over in order to save your marriage.
If a year or two down the road you found that you have checked off every single item on your list (and yes sometimes checking off the list will take that long) and your marriage still isn’t saved THEN you can give up but only after you have done everything in your power to save it.
Perhaps this would go better if I gave you an example.
The Goodnight Tactic Role Play
Lets take our favorite power couple Jim and Janet and say that Jim wants to save his marriage since he was such a jerk in the examples above :p.
So, he comes onto My Marriage Helper and learns about the goodnight tactic and he decides to implement it.
After a lot of thought he takes out a pen and paper and jots down the following things that he would like to work on in his marriage.
- Becoming more positive in the marriage
- Spending more quality time together
- Go a week without fighting
- Become A Better Version Of Himself
- Come To Terms With His Wife’s Past
Now, when you look at this list it’s pretty basic, right?
I mean, it’s kind of hard to measure “being more positive” isn’t it.
Well, that’s why you need to come up with specific goals to meet relating to each thing you wrote down.
Let me show you by going down the list of 5 things above.
Becoming More Positive In The Marriage
Like I said above, this is kind of hard to measure.
So, lets make it more measurable.
What is your idea of a perfectly positive person?
Mine would probably have to be Joel Olsteen.
Now, that may be weird for me to say since I am not necessarily the most religious person in the world but I can’t get over how positive this guy is.
He always has a smile on his face and always tries to see the good in people. I like that and I think that is the perfect attitude to bring to a marriage.
So, in order to make “being positive” more measurable I would say that if you can copy this type of behavior for 66 days (the average time it takes to create a new habit) you should be golden,
Spending More Quality Time Together
This one isn’t that hard to make measurable.
What is your idea of quality time?
How much of it do you think is enough?
You are probably thinking,
“Umm… Chris, that is why we came here. YOU need to tell us.”
Truthfully, I think there needs to be quality time every single day. However, that quality time doesn’t have to be that long. Maybe after you put the kids to bed you and your husband or wife can sit by the fireplace and talk about the day you had.
I mean, it’s not as hard as people make it out to be.
Now, with that being said there also needs to be one night a week where the two of you do some type of quality activity (like a date.)
Again, we are going to use that 66 day mark to achieve this goal since that is how long it takes to form a new habit.
Going A Week Without Fighting
This one is very easy to measure so I am not sure that there is much that I can say here.
I guess the only thing I would like to add is the fact that sometimes it is good to have easy goals to achieve to sort of get you on the board.
Lets move on to our next goal.
Become A Better Version Of Yourself
In this article I laid out why it is so important to be happy with yourself before you can have a successful marriage.
I find this is very easy to measure as well.
In a perfect world what would make you more attractive to others?
Would it be a perfect body?
More awesome stories to tell?
A calmer demeanor?
What I am trying to get at here is that you live in a perfect world and there is nothing stopping you from achieving the perfect version of yourself.
So, go out and achieve it.
Come To Terms With His Wife’s Past
Remember, this is Jim’s list and Jim is a bit.. jealous of his wife’s past. In fact, this jealousy has been the cause of quite a few fights in the past.
Well, the time has finally come for Jim to come to terms with his wife’s past relationships.
Now, how can we measure this?
How can we say that he has successfully gotten over his wife’s past?
To be honest I am not sure he could ever get over his wife’s past 100% BUT he can get to a point where he doesn’t see red every time it’s mentioned.
My advice would be to turn to all the anger and hatred over the past into a positive thing.
You need an outlet to get over a past and the best outlet is to put all that energy into improving yourself (the last list.)
But that still hasn’t answered how we are going to measure this.
Well, lets use our favorite habit rule of 66 days and say that if Jim can go 66 days without starting a fight over his wife’s past then he can consider that a success.
The “D” Word
Nope, I am not talking about “damn.”
I am talking about divorce.
In the section above I talked a lot about leaving no stone unturned and doing everything possible to save your marriage but what if you turn over every stone and exhaust every avenue and you haven’t seen any positive change in your marriage?
Are you allowed to give up then?
The first thing I would say to you is,
“Have you really turned over every stone?”
More often than not there is always something more that you can do.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say that Jim (our favorite husband 😉 ) seeks out my help to save his marriage with Janet and he is claiming that he has done everything to save it.
Well, after asking a few basic questions I determine that he actually hasn’t done everything in his power to save his marriage.
He hasn’t sought out marriage counseling from a licensed professional…
He hasn’t tried the goodnight tactic…
Heck, he hasn’t even grasped the core concepts of the synergistic principles that I talk about on this site.
So, he hasn’t done absolutely everything.
Now, it might be a different story if he had tried everything which is what I would like to talk about now.
Look, I am not one of those people that thinks absolutely every marriage should be saved.
I showed you above that clearly there are situations where married couples shouldn’t stay married.
If you have turned over every stone and your marriage still hasn’t improve or if you are in one of the situations that I mentioned above where I don’t recommend saving a marriage I think it might be time to move on.
However, you do deserve to know what you are getting yourself into if you do decide to divorce.
The Risks Of Divorce
I want you to look at this in two ways.
Way One: To prepare you for what divorce is going to feel like
Way Two: My last ditch effort to convince you that most marriages are worth saving.
So, the first thing I am going to tell you is pretty obvious.
There is a link between divorce and depression.
In fact, according to this article by the Huffington Post 60% of people who had a previous history of depression reported another bout of depression after divorce.
I know that is probably common sense to you.
Divorce probably scares the heck out of you which is why you are here trying to save your marriage.
I guess my point in telling you this is that you are more likely to truly become depressed after divorce.
But that’s perhaps just one reason divorce is scary.
What’s the other reason?
Well, it’s a bit more… financial.
The Cost Of Divorce
Lets pretend that you were to divorce your significant other right now.
How much do you think it would cost?
Sure, if the divorce is uncontested you are probably out around $500.
(FYI: uncontested divorces are divorces that are settled out of court.)
But what if you find yourself in the middle of a contested divorce?
Well, that could cost you anywhere between $8,000 to $132,000.
Oh, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet.
On top of the HUGE cost of divorce from your ex significant other your yearly expenses go up.
How much do they go up?
They can go up by $42,000.
What if you own a home together and still have to pay the mortgage on it?
What if you have children together and have to pay child support?
What if you have to find child care?
At first glance you can scoff at the idea that all these things could cost you that much but these things really add up.
The average mortgage on a home is around $1,061/month which equates to $12,732/year and we all know that, that is just the tip of the iceberg. You still have utilities, water, gas, etc to account for.
All in all paying all of these things can really add up.
Now, when you look at it that way isn’t your marriage worth the investment?