One of the
questions I'm most frequently asked is, "How do you know when it's time
In terms of when to give up on your marriage,
here's what I recommend.
If divorcing is a consideration for you from a
moral perspective, then before you go that route, try first for at
least one year.
Did you hear that?
Try for at least one year!
And I mean REALLY try. You can always call it
quits. You always have that option. But once you pull that trigger,
it's over. No more chances. Your life will never be the same. Do you
have kids? If you do, their life will never be the same.
If you end your marriage, you don't want there to
be a shred of doubt in your mind. You don't ever want to look back and
wonder if things could have been different. You don't want to ask
yourself, "What if this...and what if that...what if I tried
this...what if I did that?"
If you have to end your marriage, you want to know
DEEP IN YOUR HEART that you did everything you could to make it work.
If you have to end it, you want to be able to move
on with your life and into another relationship with a clear head. You
want to come to a place of healthy "completion." THIS IS CRUCIAL! And
to accomplish this, in my experience, it takes at least one year. I
know it probably seems like a long time, but it's an investment in the
rest of your life.
Here's the key point. Listen carefully. It's a
good investment for the rest of your life WHETHER YOUR MARRIAGE
SUCCEEDS OR NOT. Obviously, it's a good investment if you turn your
marriage around. But if you don't, it will NOT have been a wasted year.
It will have been the most important thing you could have done with
that year because of how your effort will impact the rest of your life
AND (if it comes to this) YOUR NEXT RELATIONSHIP.
I have seen too many cases of spouses ending their
marriage prematurely, and as result of not reaching "completion" in one
relationship, they find themselves in the same situation a few years
later with someone else.
In private sessions with people, sometimes the
progress I help them make turns out to be more beneficial for them in
their next relationship than in their current one.
I remember once when the marriage of someone who
registered for the Lone Ranger Track of the Marriage
Camp ended in the middle of the program. This man asked me if he should
continue with the final 3 weeks of the program. I said, "Absolutely."
He responded, "Why? What's the point? My marriage
"You're not doing it for this marriage," I
explained. "You're doing it for the benefit of your next one."
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that your
intention while you're working on your marriage should be for the
benefit of your life after your marriage. Your intention needs to be to
restore your CURRENT relationship. But if you fail, your effort will
NOT have been for naught.
Bottom line is this. If you're asking, "When is it
time to call it quits?" The answer is: one year after you think you're
done. If after one year of trying everything in your power to make your
marriage work you're still miserable, then you should consider moving
on. Until then, hang in there and don't give up.
This topic reminds me of my situation many years
ago. I remember learning late one night that my wife had an appointment
with a divorce attorney the next morning. We were hours from "done."
Who would have ever thought that we could turn things around at that
It's NEVER too late! In fact (and here's real food
for thought), very often the turning point in a marriage is when a
couple hits rock bottom. Sometimes it's not until things couldn't get
worse that they can get better.