It’s cliche but it stands to reason: You’ll never know until you try.
One thing’s for sure: to rescue your marriage, it will take two people who are willing to dig deep and stay constructive. However, it only takes one to initiate and lead the discovery process. Sadly, it also only takes one to refuse to consider the idea of remaining married.
Are you the initiator of the rescue? You’ll need strength and conviction to stay the course.
Has your spouse brought the idea to the table? While you may not feel lucky right now, you’re actually very fortunate to have been given this opportunity. Take a moment to appreciate this and you’ll immediately begin the healing process.
You’ll both need courage to take this journey. If you can find support, it will help you resist the urge to say “I can’t do this” and throw in the towel.
Below are a number of thought-provoking questions for you and your spouse to address individually and as a couple. Your answers may give you insight into the level of commitment and vulnerability that will be required of you if you’re going to successfully keep your marriage afloat.
- How hard am I willing to try?
- How transparent and honest am I prepared to be?
- How patient am I?
- What is our time frame? How long do we give this marriage to succeed or fail?
- How willing am I to change what I need to change in our marriage? Should I seek individual counseling?
- How open am I to doing what is requested of me?
- What resources are available to us? Who can we turn to?
- What three things do I need from my spouse that I’m not getting right now? (Examples: time together, respect, appreciation, a chance to be heard, honest communication, acts of kindness, gifts, space.)
- Am I willing to hear what my spouse needs and do my best to provide it?
- Am I willing to cut off any damaging extramarital relationships?
- Am I willing to listen?
- Can I leave my insecurities out of this?
Examining these issues will be an exhausting undertaking, but it could very well be the best investment of strength and energy in your entire life – especially if there are children involved. These are matters that all married couples need to understand, but typically don’t because the work has not been done.
Perhaps your marriage cannot be saved. If not, what you have learned will still benefit your separated lives and your joined-by-children future. Regardless of the eventual outcome, you will better understand the “whys” of how your marriage has struggled or failed, allowing you both to move forward more successfully.