When should you consider ending or saving your marriage?Let's face it, even if you love your spouse with all your heart, you should accept the possibility that you have fallen for the wrong person. It's pointless thinking "how can I save my marriage" over and over and over if your spouse is unwilling. Even if you unconditionally love your husband or wife, if they don't want to be with you there is no way to keep them, and you'll have to accept that. That's as blunt as I can put it, a partnership is only a partnership if both people want it to be a partnership. All the love in the world won't save your marriage if it's coming from only one person in the relationship.
Don't even read any further if you feel that your spouse is not cooperative, has no will to save your marriage, or you simply feel they do not care one iota about what is happening to you and your family. Just look for a divorce lawyer and save yourself a lot of wasted time and energy crying over nothing. I say nothing because there really is nothing about it that you can do. Don't want to snap out of your delusional bubble just because I said so? Go and take a look at the country's(for America at least) divorce rate. If your spouse doesn't want you, go right ahead and leave him/her. They probably never deserved you in the first place anyway. Save your unconditional love for someone worth it.
According to an article in Time Magazine, Jennifer Baker, director of the marriage- and family-therapy programs at Forest Institute, says that the divorce rate is a tricky statistic, and said that the 50% of all marriages statistic is not accurate at all.
Here's some interesting statistics taken from divorce experts on the Time article :
"23% of college graduates who married in the '70s split within 10 years."
"49% of those who married young and did so without a degree lasted 20 years."
I'm sure those statistics did not care to include how many spouses were in "forced relationships", or who just didn't want to end the relationship no matter how unhappy they were. I'm not trying to be mean, but think about how much happier you would be in a relationship where both of you love each other. If you're the only one giving love that is not a real marriage and you should stop trying to save your marriage, and just end it.
"My spouse cheated on me, can we still save our marriage?"
That would depend on your husband or wife, are they willing to work on saving your marriage? Do they accept what YOU want to do to save your marriage? Are they compromising, accepting, or making excuses for cheating on you?
A sign that you can still save your marriage is that your spouse is agreeing with you when you say you want to go to marriage counseling. Your husband or wife should agree to anything you say to help steer the direction of your marriage towards repairing trust. Marriage counseling is what you need, aside from being honest with each other. For some people who can't afford to pay for marriage counseling, I suggest saving up for it. Even just a few sessions of marriage counseling. I can't give you a price because it differs from area to area, but if you are seriously wanting to save your relationship and avoid divorce, go to Google.com and search "Marriage counseling *your city*".
Alternatives to Marriage counseling
We live in the age of the internet, so you probably have thought of looking up online marriage counseling. If you haven't yet, those do exist. Some call it "telecounseling", it's usually for people who do not want to be seen at a "shrink", or just people who are strapped for cash. It's a cheaper, private alternative for marriage counseling. What I can recommend is you try out this eCourse on saving your marriage, by Dr Gunzburz. It's alot cheaper than going to an actual marriage counseling course in real life.
If you are not going to take this ecourse seriously, don't bother signing up. Just drag your spouse to a marriage counselor when you can afford to (which you also need to treat seriously). It's still worth taking a look at the testimonials from couples they have helped. The course is called "Save My Marriage Today" by Amy Waterman, and the link above is the "Blue Print For Saving Your Marriage" by Dr. Gunzburg.
I recommend Dr. Gunzburg because they also offer one on one online coaching sessions, and both their courses, save your marriage and how to survive an affair, are focused on the individual and then the couple; so each of you will get your own assignments and workbook that you will need to complete.
On the other hand, if you chose to ditch your marriage instead of save it, stay tuned for the divorce article with tips on how to do your own divorce and how not to lose your possessions in a bad divorce.
How to save your marriage
1. Marriage counseling - You need to drop your pre-defined notion of what people do in marriage counseling and just go. These are professionals who will help save your marriage. There are also other courses, for divorced people who want to make sure their kids get the best support before, during and after a divorce. For alternatives to this method, see the above links for the online marriage counseling courses.
2. Couples retreat - Same as marriage counseling but you dedicate a whole week, or more sometimes, to get away from it all and go to a place that will destress you both. I'd recommend this much more than just finding a local marriage counselor because in normal marriage counseling, you just head on over to your local marriage counselor, finish your session, or group session if you opted for that, then head on back home. In a regular troubled marriage, it is very stressful in the house and there is lots of tension, especially after a bout with infidelity. In a couples retreat, it's a long period of time where you get to spend AND enjoy time with your loved one. The benefits far outweigh the price couples retreats have over regular counseling. It also makes for a good "surprise gift" if your relationship is in the dumps, but not yet to the point you both are thinking of ending it.
3. Compromise and Planning - Set aside a day for the sole purpose of compromise and planning. Take a day off from work if you have to. This is important and you should treat it as important. This is something you can do as a couple with no help from a professional marriage counselor. List down the things that are causing problems in your relationship and thoroughly discuss it. You should each give a reason why it is causing problems, and what you are willing to do. When my husband and I were having problems, we did this right before going to a couples retreat, which we also again did there.
What I wanted a compromise for was his boundaries with the opposite sex, because he had one workmate who was flirting with him and was getting touchy. I told him that he should not allow other women to be touchy with him, same thing I do and not allow any other man but him to be touchy with me. I told him it makes me feel jealous and he should only allow that with me, his wife. He said he didn't even consider it hurtful and he didn't know I got jealous, and he agreed. It was that simple to get rid of flirting. They're still friends up to now, but there's just no more flirty-touching going on. The reason we went to couples retreat was because we wanted to strengthen our relationship, not exactly save it because we are doing fine. In the retreat we learned to appreciate one another more and made a plan on how to deal with little insecurities that usually end up in small fights.
Unfortunately for my first marriage, my then husband was unwilling to change ANYTHING, and I was unwilling to accept being a doormat and changing everything for him. I divorced my first husband, and my husband now (Mike), understands how I feel more than anyone else because he too was a victim of infidelity. Although we from time to time have problems, it's nothing we can't fix, and ultimately we are both very happy together.
4. Honesty - It's as simple as that. Just be honest with each other. If you have trust issues because you have been cheated on, you will HAVE to open up again and trust your spouse. Slowly, but surely trust in your spouse. A marriage counselor will help quicken this development, but it will still be up to you whether you believe your spouse can be trusted again or not.
No amount of counseling or retreats will convince someone who doesn't want to believe their spouse is capable of change. For those people, you should think about getting a divorce. Don't look at divorce as something negative. If you are MISERABLE in your relationship, divorce is a GOOD thing.