Is Divorce Right for You? Part 1

We enter marriage with positive expectations. None of us ever expect it to fail. “Those high divorce rates apply to others, not to me…”

Then life interferes, and that perfect relationship unravels. Efforts to fix the problems just aren’t successful. What are the options?

The decision to end the marriage is far more complex than the decision to enter into the marriage. In other words, it’s harder to get out than it was to get in.

When we refer to “divorce” throughout this video, we are referring to the breakup of any family unit. A marriage creates a legal relationship with corresponding rights and responsibilities not found in other relationships. But family units without marriage present similar emotional and financial upheavals, especially if children are involved.

FIRST. IDENTIFY THE ISSUE. The beginning step is to accurately identify the root cause of the problem in your relationship. Set aside the emotional view and review it from a purely analytical view.

At one extreme is physical abuse, or emotional abuse.

At the other end is just a lack of love or affection, that feeling of just not caring. I think the opposite of love is not hate: both of those emotions are highly charged. Rather, its indifference.

There are many, many relationship issues in between those two extremes.

How would you describe the cause of the problem in your relationship?

Be honest. No one but you will hear the answer. Assume responsibility for your contributions to the problem. No need to be defensive. We are just issue spotting now. You will be able to develop a far better plan for you and your family if you start with an objective and honest assessment.

SECOND ISSUE. IDENTIFYING CAUSE AND EFFECT. Start with the assumption that there will always be some type of issue in every relationship. Put two people together for any length of time, and issues will arise. But issues by themselves have little impact on us, unless they result in our needs not being met.

Which of your needs are not being met? There is perhaps no perfect relationship, where all needs are being met at all times. Some needs are critically important – safety as an example. Other needs are not as compelling. Your partner refusing to binge watch NetFlix with you does not count as a need not being met….

Identify the needs lacking in your relationship.

The related follow up question is “will a divorce restore those needs? Or at least put me on a path to find the joy and happiness that has been lacking?”

“How will a divorce affect my life?” It will predictably affect it in a negative way from the standpoint of finances and lifestyle. Picture yourself single. What does your life look like? You will probably need the opinion of a qualified lawyer to realistically draw that picture.

If you are in an abusive relationship, or one where respect is lacking, the need to escape that environment may be much stronger and more important than the negative consequences of a divorce.

If the reasons for your unhappiness are a general malaise, or general discontent, then the financial impact may be more than you are willing to pay. This program will hopefully help you pinpoint these issues, so that you can make an informed and thoughtful decision.

The next serious question people ask is “how will a divorce affect my children? Do I owe it to them to stay in a bad marriage for their sake?” Well, it depends on your answer to those first two questions.

We listen to people all the time describe horrible issues at home, and then tell me they want to stay married to benefit their children. What is that teaching them? It is our opinion that two happy parents in separate households are far more beneficial to children than two miserable people in one. One happy parent is better than none.

If your children are witnessing abuse, or disrespect, or other negative behavior, are you training them that this is acceptable behavior? Ask yourself if your children are living in a healthy environment. Are they thriving? Or beginning to show signs of stress? What will it take to make that environment better for your children?

These very important, soul-searching questions are unique to you, and personal to you. Your family and well-meaning friends cannot answer them for you. Everyone in your life has an opinion. They mean well. But these are your issues and you need to meet them head on, yourself.

Know that there is usually a gap between what our logic tells us to do, and what our emotions say. The emotions usually lag behind. The decision to divorce is usually made as a process. The idea starts slow, and then builds. The “head” is ready to move forward; the “heart” is still lagging behind. If circumstances in your life permit, you will be far more content with your decision when both parts can come to the same conclusion.

Fortunately, there are lots of tools to help you sort out all these difficult and life altering questions. And, there is an action plan that is right for you.