People who get married don’t plan on divorcing their partner down the road. But every relationship faces challenges—and sometimes, when you’ve seemingly done all you can to solve them with no success, it may seem like there is no other option but to go your separate ways. However, it’s worth pausing for consideration before you lose hope in saving your relationship. There may be key indicators that it’s not yet time to give up.
We understand that it’s not always easy to know whether to end a struggling marriage or keep working on it. Therapy Utah’s couples and marriage counseling services help many spouses clarify these issues and can sometimes show them how to resolve their challenges. On the other hand, if you’ve decided that divorce or separation is the next step, Therapy Utah is here to help navigate you through this process.
Below, we’ll go over some questions you should ask yourself before considering divorce and some options for overcoming marital issues.
Why Do People Consider Divorce?
Maintaining a healthy relationship with trust, communication, and honesty takes work—and several factors can make it much more difficult. One study found the most prevalent reasons for divorce include:
- Growing apart
- Lack of communication
- Financial stress
- Substance abuse
If you and your spouse are experiencing any of the above to a degree that impacts the respect, affection, intimacy, or trust between the two of you, you might find yourselves considering divorce.
How Do I Know If Divorce Is the Right Decision?
Before moving forward with divorce, it’s important to identify whether the marriage is really over. Divorce can sometimes seem like the easiest answer to marital dissatisfaction, but it’s often possible to solve the underlying problems without sacrificing the entire relationship.
Questions to Ask about Yourself Before Choosing Divorce
Below are some questions to ask yourself before carrying through with a split:
- Am I just angry and frustrated at the situation?
- Have I tried to change, and do I even know how to change?
- Am I seeing all the perspectives of the situation?
- Am I just using divorce as a threat to change their actions/behaviors?
- Am I only staying out of fear of hurting the other person?
- Am I only staying out of fear of being alone?
Questions to Ask about Your Relationship Before Choosing Divorce
When thinking about divorce, it’s also important to identify the impacts of your significant other on you and your well-being. You can ask yourself:
- Do we know what a healthy relationship looks like?
- Do we know or possess the skills needed to have a healthy relationship or marriage?
- If we were able to learn skills to maintain a healthy relationship, would we be willing to do so to save this relationship?
- Do we believe we’d be better off going separate ways?
- Do we still have mutual trust and respect for one another?
- Do we still engage and communicate with each other?
Answering the questions listed above can help you to gain clarity about whether divorce is something that will really help you and your partner.
Things to Try with Your Partner Before Divorcing
The final question is, “are we unable to agree on respecting each other’s financial, emotional, and physical boundaries?” This is a complex question, and answering it fully can require some work.
Here are some things to try before settling on divorce as the solution:
- Communicate your concerns with your partner: being clear, concise, and logical is a great approach for communicating your concerns. This allows your partner to be open and receptive, and could also give them a safe space to communicate their concerns as well. Fostering a safe space for open and honest communication can lay the foundations for overcoming your marital issues together.
- Make special time for your partner: it’s easy to get caught up in the mundane aspects of day-to-day life, but growing apart is responsible for 55% of divorces. It’s important to make time to spend time with your partner and see if you’re still on the same page about your commitment to one another.
- Understand each other’s perspective: we make sense of our world through our personal experiences. Healthy individuals are able to learn from both their personal experiences, and from other people’s perspectives. Get curious about your partner’s perspective and their world of experiences. What are their dreams in life? What would they do on a day that had no agenda? Asking open-ended questions allows your partner to feel seen and heard, forming deeper connections.
- Practice forgiveness with one another: although condoning hurtful actions isn’t productive, practicing forgiveness can be. It’s important to keep in mind that forgiveness does not equal absolution of wrong-doings, but forgiving your partner allows you to move on from the hurtful event to create space for you to thrive as a couple.
Everyone makes mistakes. If your partner is trying to make amends for something they have done, forgiveness could be the key to getting over this hurdle.
- Consider couples and marriage counseling: a qualified professional can help you navigate the options and strategies above. Seeing a therapist can help you and your partner find solutions to the problems in your relationship—whether it be communication issues, infidelity, or financial disagreements. Issues that feel insurmountable now can be solved when given the right direction.
Therapy creates a space for an unbiased approach to the issues at hand. Therapy Utah creates this safe place for you to begin the discussion as our therapists are highly skilled in using healing tools—when you bring a willing heart and an open mind, we know you can have the relationship you want!
If you have tried the options mentioned above and the issues in your relationship are still persistent, it may be time to consider a divorce.
Is Divorce a Good or Bad Decision?
The short answer is that divorce is neither a good nor bad decision. Each relationship has its own unique struggles, and while some can be solved, others are irreconcilable. It’s not that divorce is never the right option; it’s just not a decision that should be taken lightly.
The Potential Impact of Divorce
It’s also important to remember that divorce impacts different couples in different ways. Below are some factors you may want to consider before you and your partner move forward with a divorce.
It is important to think about how divorce will affect any children you and your partner have and to discuss custody agreements should you go your separate ways. Studies show that divorce can impact children in numerous ways, including lowering their learning capacity, worsening their relationships with their parents, and weakening their ability to handle conflict.
However, it’s also important to think about the environment your children are subjected to if you stay together. Studies show that children who grow up in households where parents continuously fight and bicker are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and greater behavioral issues.
Most couples who marry tend to make large purchases together, such as buying a home or a vehicle. It is important to have conversations about how these shared finances would be split up if a divorce were to happen.
On top of that, if you and your partner divorce on bad terms, a legal battle for specific items or purchases could require a lawyer. The costs involved with hiring a lawyer for a divorce is an important factor to consider. Make sure you are prepared mentally and financially, as messy divorces can lead to depression and anxiety. It is important to take care of yourself during this process.
It’s common for people to assume that divorce is mean-spirited with one or both individuals making the situation more challenging and difficult. At Therapy Utah, we’ve found that clients in our couples and marriage counseling programs ask healthy, thoughtful questions like:
- How do I tell the kids?
- What do I tell our mutual friends?
- We know it’s the right thing to do, but how will I overcome the loneliness I’m feeling?
- I’m unsure about this new normal, how do I learn to navigate these changes in my life?
These are all great questions that one of our therapists can help guide you in answering and navigating the new challenges in your life.
Finding Help When You & Your Partner Are Considering Divorce
There’s no owner’s manual to marriage and divorce, but our extensively trained couple and marriage therapists are here to help you navigate the challenges in your relationship and find the right path forward. At Therapy Utah, we customize your therapy sessions based on the issues you’re facing and build a program that suits your needs. Contact us for help navigating your marital issues and to learn more about our program options.