You’ve done the white dress, the “I dos”, and the fabulous party. The honeymoon is over, sweetheart. So now what? Is marriage what you were expecting or are you realizing this is a lot harder than you imagined? Many women go into marriage with an idealized image of what it is going to be like. Marriage, buying a house, and having kids don’t solve the issues you had in your dating years, they just make them a life-long commitment.
What the hell happened to the castle, ball gowns, and prince I was promised as a little girl?!
I planned to be married to my soulmate for the rest of my life. Unfortunately for me, the man I first married was far from my soulmate. I probably would have been better off with my original plan of waiting for Justin Timberlake to stroll into my life and propose. Oh well, live and learn.
Sometimes divorce isn’t our decision and it is made for us by the person who said they’d always be there. Other times, we get married in a fog of emotions and don’t fully understand what we have committed to until it’s too late. Maybe the person you married changed into someone else after the wedding day.
Whatever your reason is for considering divorce, I’m sure something inside of you is telling you that things could be better, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article.
There are, of course, some situations in which I 100% suggest you should get a divorce. First would be if you are being abused in ANY way, (physically, sexually, emotionally, or mentally). After my first marriage ended, it took therapy and some serious contemplation for me to come to terms with the fact that I had been mentally and emotionally abused for years. Emotional and mental abuse can be subtle and a little harder to identify. Many people don’t even realize it is happening until long after their self-esteem has become nonexistent and they believe that they are a terrible person, unworthy of love. If you are questioning if what you are experiencing is abuse, please read the different signs at this link: https://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/ Abuse is never your fault, so please seek help!
The second situation in which I would suggest that you consider divorce, is if there is constant dishonesty or infidelity in the marriage. Whether your spouse is the one who is having affairs, or it is you who can’t seem to stay faithful, everyone deserves honesty and love in marriage. If you aren’t getting that or can’t give it, then respect yourself or your spouse enough to walk away.
There are some rare circumstances in which someone is unfaithful in a relationship, is remorseful, and is able to clean up their act and never cheat again. This would require the root issues of the relationship to be addressed and the reason behind the infidelity to be resolved. Marital counseling may be a good option for those who are trying to rebuild trust and heal from an affair.
If counseling hasn’t helped and you are in a marriage where you spend more time worrying about what your spouse is doing, rather than cherishing your time together, it may be time to consider finding happiness on your own.
Now that my marriage deal-breakers have been covered, we can talk about some other reasons you may be thinking about divorce. The biggest cause of divorce is financial issues. It can be extremely difficult dealing with another person’s financial problems. There are ways to make your marriage work, even if financial stresses are driving you to the edge.
Communication is extremely important when it comes to any problem. If you are able to communicate with each other and aren’t hiding expenses and debt, then your problems just may be temporary. Sit down and create a budget together. Jot down all of your bills and the other items you may spend money on, such as haircuts, gas, groceries, restaurants, clothes, etc. Decide together where you can make some changes.
If you need professional help, meet with a financial advisor for advice on what you can do to reduce your debts and live more frugally until you are back on your feet. Keep in mind, advisors are not magicians, you actually have to listen to their advice and make conscious decisions to make the changes that they suggest, or your finances will not improve. Financial distress, although frustrating, does not need to lead to divorce unless you absolutely can’t work together or one of you refuses to make necessary changes.
Falling Out of Love
Another reason many people give for wanting a divorce is that they are no longer in love with their partner. This is an extremely complex topic. I have personally felt a lack of love cause a divorce in my own life, and I have also witnessed a dear friend rebuild the love she thought had faded, into something far stronger and more passionate than when she and her husband first fell in love.
In my second marriage, I struggled once I had come to the decision that what I thought was romantic love, was not. I had moved on too quickly after my first divorce, and to my second husband’s detriment, I found myself incapable of coming to a place where I could love him as a wife should. I tried counseling, meditation, intimate dates with him, and everything I could, to inspire love to happen. After exhausting all options, I separated from him to think on my own. The time away helped me to decide that we would both be better off apart, but ultimately, it took a fight in which I was spit on and his hands were on my throat to seal the fate of our marital destruction. This was the only time he had ever put his hands on me, but I know that one time is too many times. Ladies, no matter what you have said or done, it is NEVER ok for someone to spit or lay their hands on you. I don’t care if he is sorry, or if it has never happened before, or if he was drunk. This is a no brainer; LEAVE!
Not every instance of falling out of love is as cut and dry though. If love was real and strong from in the beginning, then I truly believe that it can be again. Love and marriage take a lot of effort. Just as you water a garden to keep it from dying, you must tend to your marriage with the same care.
A close friend of mine discovered that after many years of marriage, she and her husband were having a difficult time showing each other love. They were stuck in the mundane, day to day rut of working, taking care of kids, eating and sleeping. Life had also thrown its fair share of stresses their way; deaths, difficulty conceiving, family drama, etc. She had confessed to me that their marriage may not last if something didn’t improve. I was in complete shock and confused as to what could have driven such an amazing couple to come to this place.
Thankfully, they didn’t throw in the towel. After realizing that they had forgotten to take care of their relationship, they began making their marriage a priority in their lives. They started dating each other again, they began having conversations and actually listening, and even went on vacation without their child. With a lot of work, they were able to fall deeply in love once again, and now have a better marriage than ever before. I love their story, because it proves that it is 100% possible to fall back in love if you’re both willing to try.
To Divorce or Not to Divorce
Whether you decide divorce is right for you or not, it is important to remember that everyone is different. Just because divorce improved my life, doesn’t mean that you will feel the same. Maybe you won’t be able to rekindle the love you once had, as my friend did. After you have seriously considered the pros and cons, and weighed whether or not you’ve both put in an adequate amount of effort, you should come to a better conclusion. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck!
For more advice, stories, and encouragement, please watch out for my weekly post on Sundays. If you have a story you’d like to share, a comment, or question, feel free to leave it in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!
If you are interested in learning more about leaving an abusive relationship, here’s an interesting article I recently read: