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The Divorce Decision: Can an Unhappy Marriage be Saved?

Posted on January 3rd, 2023
A couple sitting with a therapist holding hands

Deciding to divorce is one of the most difficult decisions anyone will have to make. People don’t go into a marriage expecting it to end and divorce is something that usually comes with a whole lot of shame and trauma attached.

If you’re standing on the brink of divorce, it’s natural to have misgivings, especially when there is still love and there are children involved. “Can I save my marriage? Or should I get a divorce?” is a common dilemma for people that are stuck in an unhappy marriage.

At Naked Divorce, we believe that many marriages that are heading toward divorce can actually be saved. “The sooner people start working on their marriage when they’re unhappy, the easier it can be to get past your problems,” says therapist Maru Torres-Gregory, a teaching and supervising faculty member for the Marriage & Family Therapy Program at the Family Institute at Northwestern University.

So, can an unhappy marriage be saved? This is a definite but measured yes. Keep in mind, however, that it’s not going to be an easy process.

It Takes Commitment

First things first, an unhappy marriage cannot be saved unless both parties are committed to saving it. This is not something that only one partner can work on, and it’s not something that can be done in half-hearted measures.

The recovery of a marriage takes time, growth, and diligence. Both people have to be fully committed to saving the marriage, despite the current unhappy circumstances. Love alone isn’t enough to save a marriage and both partners need to be aware that the process is going to take time and hard emotional graft.

You need to prepare your heart and mind for the work that is ahead for both of you. Be prepared to be consistent and persistent every day. It’s important to keep that image of a happy, stable marriage in the foreground and believe that by doing this work, you will pull through.

Here’s what you should concentrate on for marriage recovery:

Acknowledge that Time Changes Love

The beginning of any relationship is intense and exciting, and many people will say their vows while they are still in this fairy tale love stage. We have a very preconceived idea of what love and marriage should look like, thanks to Hollywood, and can be blindsided once the initial stages of infatuation start to wear off.

There are going to be bumps in every marriage, and these are much easier to navigate when you have realistic expectations. Common sense, patience, and conflict-resolution skills are more important here than the butterflies and fuzzies you had when you first met.

It’s essential to recognize that your love is going to change as you grow older together. Your response to this changing love is going to be the determining factor in whether your marriage evolves or erodes.

Take Personal Accountability and Responsibility

It’s easy to blame your partner for everything when your marriage is on the rocks. The truth of the matter, however, is that a marriage is a reflection of two lives. Many couples don’t have the tools or the ability to navigate the marriage journey together as two individuals.

The success or failure of a marriage is not the sole responsibility of one person in the relationship and blaming your spouse is not just a waste of time; it’s also detrimental to the marriage recovery process.

It’s important to do some self-reflection and figure out where you are responsible, even during the smallest of arguments. Recognize how you contribute to the problems you are having in the relationship, take ownership of this contribution, and then take action to correct it.

Personal accountability and responsibility are the first stepping stones toward marriage recovery.

Work on Yourself

Even if you and your partner are both all-in on saving your marriage, chances are that your growth will progress at different rates and in various ways. It’s important to maintain self-focus in these instances. It can be tempting to point out that your partner might not be progressing at the same pace as you, but it won’t do any good.

Constantly work on yourself and commit to improving your maturity, insight, self-control, conflict resolution skills. This will actually show your partner how hard you are working and gives them the motivation that they need to continue to put the effort in too.

Improve Your Communication Skills

Improving your communication can be one of the biggest tools to save your marriage. Everything comes down to communication at the end of the day, and how you talk to yourself could even impact your marriage.

Conflict will inevitably arise in every marriage. When the honeymoon phase has worn off, people tend to become more settled and stubborn in how they want things done. This often means that listening takes a back seat, and we struggle to be present and hear what our partner is actually saying.

It’s essential that both partners take the time to learn and practice the skill of effective listening. You need to learn how to communicate what you are feeling without blame and listen to your partner without getting defensive.

Self-containment and compassion are central to healthy communication in a marriage. You might not be able to control how your partner feels and reacts, but you can do this for yourself.

Also, remember that your partner is sharing their reality with you and so it’s important that you listen and respond with love and respect, even if you have a different view.

Go Back to the Courting Phase

It’s amazing how quickly the wooing stage can disappear from a relationship. Weekly dates and declarations of love can quickly turn into microwave dinners and harsh criticism in just a matter of time.

It can be easy to be defensive or critical when you are feeling dismissed or unloved. It’s important, however, to give your partner small everyday affirmations that help to show they are appreciated.

Give each other the love and praise that you did at the beginning of the relationship, and you’ll be surprised how easily things like date nights, good sex, and better communication all come together.

Get Professional Help

Unfortunately, many people wait for far too long before seeking the help of a professional when it comes to their marriage problems. You wouldn’t wait for your car to break down before sending it in for a service, would you? So, why would you wait until your marriage is no longer functional to seek assistance?

Seeking out the services of a marriage counselor or divorce coach will be hugely beneficial and is the best start to saving an unhappy marriage. These professionals are able to give you the tools that you need for positive conflict resolution and help you to turn towards each other rather than away.

They can also help you decide whether your marriage is worth saving or whether it’s time to walk away.

Get Clarity on Divorce with Naked Divorce

Divorce is not a decision that should be made in haste, and if you are unsure whether getting one is the right choice, then chances are that you could still save your marriage.

At Naked Divorce, we have programs specifically geared to help couples decide whether divorce is the right thing for them or whether they can save their marriage.

Our Clarity Retreat is a five-day retreat that will assist you with the decision about getting a divorce. Our divorce experts will assess to get clarity on whether your relationship can be saved. We believe that people should do everything in their power to try and make a marriage work, but in some cases, it simply isn’t possible. This retreat is here to help you make one of the biggest decisions in your life, free from distractions and with expert guidance.

Get clarity on whether you should get a divorce from people that are experts in the field.

Do the Spark Program to Reignite Your Marriage

We believe that every marriage deserves a chance to be saved if the desire is there, and if you decide that your marriage is worth saving, then the Spark Program should be your next step.

In this program, you will learn how to reignite the passion in your relationship and what you can do to keep this love alive. I give both partners the tools that they need to reset the context of the relationship. I’ll give you the formula to a successful marriage in this intensive “relationship school” and teach you how you can implement these things into your own marriage.

Contact us and book a Free Clarity Call at Naked Divorce.

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With you in service,
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