Can you save your marriage? It depends. These signs a relationship can be saved will help you see your spouse and your marriage with more insight and objectivity.
“When there is an unnecessary divorce, there has usually been a failure of leadership in the couple,” writes marriage and family therapist William Doherty in Take Back Your Marriage: Sticking Together in a World That Pulls Us Apart. He encourages couples to stop arguing about who is more at fault, and start finding ways to save a troubled marriage.
Take Back Your Marriage: Sticking Together in a World That Pulls Us Apart is one of the best books I’ve ever read on marriage – I practically highlighted the whole thing! If your marriage is in trouble and you’re not ready for couples counseling, you have to read this book.
Here are Doherty’s nine signs your marriage isn’t over…
9 Signs You Can Save Your Marriage
“Studies in the United States and Australia have shown that 40% or more of divorced people regret their divorce,” writes Doherty in Take Back Your Marriage. “The great majority of divorced people believe that one or the other of them could have worked much harder to save the marriage.”
Don’t jump into an unnecessary divorce – even if your spouse cheated on you! In fact, marriage coach Mort Fertel says a cheating spouse can become the best reason to stay married. “[After a husband has cheated], given all he’s been through and learned, what are the chances that he’ll cheat again?” says Fertel. “If his wife gives him another chance, what’s the likelihood that he’d make the same mistake that almost caused him to lose his family? In my opinion, it’s dramatically less than 50%. In fact, I think it’s slim to none.”
Even if your spouse cheated on you, you can not only save your marriage…you can build a better one.
Here are Doherty’s nine signs a marriage can be saved…
1. You wonder if you ever loved your spouse – yet your friends and family say you were crazy about each other when you got married. Love was the genuine foundation of your marriage.
2. You say your spouse doesn’t spend enough time with you – yet you’re busy almost every night of the week. You’re involved in volunteering, socializing with friends, child-raising, and work.
3. You dwell on your spouse’s faults – but if asked to describe him, you use words like “kind”, “caring” or “responsible.” In fact, recent research shows that using positive words to describe your spouse indicates a healthy marriage that will survive the long haul.
4. You complain about your spouse to family and friends – but if they say you can’t save your marriage and should think about divorce, you’re hurt and surprised.
5. You say you don’t want to fix your relationship – but you cancel or don’t make appointments to talk to a divorce lawyer.
6. You say your spouse isn’t helping to fix your relationship – and you ignore the fact that he’s a good parent. You rule out the possibility that a good parent can learn to be a good spouse – and you can save your marriage together.
7. You say you want more emotional connection – but you refuse to be honest about how you feel. You say you want to save your marriage, but you don’t take the necessary steps.
8. You feel like you can’t do anything to fix your relationship – but you ignore your spouse’s attempts to reconnect or make your marriage better.
9. You know you won’t be able to explain why you ended the marriage to your kids – and you aren’t certain the pain you’re in now will justify the pain they’ll be in if you end your marriage.
“If more than three of those statements describe you, drop everything and make a commitment right now to put off any decision or actions to dissolve your marriage until you get real help,” writes Doherty in Take Back Your Marriage. “Real help” may mean couples counseling, a marriage workshop, or even just reading books on how to save your relationship.
What do you think – can your marriage be saved?
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.