January is often couched as divorce month. With the holidays over, new year’s resolutions in full swing, and the prospect of spending the upcoming winter months all cooped up in the house dependent on whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow come February, many couples already teetering on the brink are left with an “I just can’t do this anymore” taste in their mouths.
Separating from your spouse is life changing and not always for the better, at least in the short-term. Before ending your marriage, here are seven questions to ask yourself first.
- Am I being abused in the relationship? Abuse comes in many forms. Whether physical, verbal or psychological, any behavior resulting in your mistreatment is cause to leave. Period. There are resources available to assist you if necessary. Make use of them.
- Apart from abuse, have you actually determined why you wish to leave your marriage? Just because your choice is not based on one of the more so-called “justifiable” reasons such as infidelity does not mean your reasons aren’t valid. If you are not feeling sated in your marriage and believe you can thrive outside of it, leave. Everyone, including you, is entitled to happiness. No one should ever have to live his or her life at the expense of someone else’s. Understanding your needs will allow you to lead a more fulfilling life post-divorce and enjoy stronger and more satisfying relationships in the future.
- Have I thought about the consequences divorce will bring? Divorcing your spouse doesn’t automatically land you on easy street. In fact, more often the exact opposite is true. Dissolving a marriage, particularly where children are involved, is going to change life as you know it. Division of assets, income reduction, custody, relocation, and living life uncoupled are only some of the issues you may confront. Are you prepared to take on these challenges? More importantly, are you prepared to live with them?
- Do I still love him/her? It’s the age-old question: does love conquer all? The answer is, not always (and never in cases of abuse). If you do love your spouse and your spouse loves you, is it possible you are acting prematurely? Confront your spouse and let him or her know there are issues you feel need resolving. Marriage counseling is one great way to delve deeper, as is speaking with clergy. After doing so, you will be better prepared to answer the following question:
- Is my marriage worth saving? If you love your spouse, you must next ask yourself whether or not your present situation is a workable one. This is where the love doesn’t conquer all piece comes in. For two people to remain happily married, they also need to be compatible. That is, they need to be able to engage in the daily give and take that establishes mutual respect and builds trust in one another. Without compatibility, there will never be enough love to go around and what love there is will eventually wither away.
- Am I willing to take affirmative steps and make changes to save my marriage? If BOTH of you conclude that you want to save your marriage, now is the time to try. Repairing a rocky marriage is hard work but can be accomplished if both partners commit to the process.
If after answering the above questions you choose to divorce, take comfort knowing your decision is an informed one. If you need more information or would like to discuss this with a neutral person, please contact me for a complimentary phone consultation. If we decide to work together, I will provide you with step-by-step guidance to lead you through the divorce process with ease and the tools you need to build the life you want and deserve.