Sometimes I wonder which breaks down first: a marriage, or communication within the marriage.
It sounds like a chicken-and-egg question, but the truth is, more often than not, one spouse is ready to walk before the other one is even aware the marriage is in serious danger. And that’s a tragedy. As a couple, you owe it to yourselves and your children to address the situation honestly and fearlessly. Open the lines of communication and give your marriage a fighting chance before you call it quits.
Are you the one contemplating divorce? Want out, but don’t know how?
You have a few choices. You could:
1. Do nothing. Go on autopilot, put your head down, trudge through day after day. The consequence: Life becomes inexplicably uncomfortable and tense for your spouse. Your partner knows something is wrong; he/she may even ask you about it, but you deny there’s a problem. Perhaps you secretly hope your partner will become miserable and thus be the one to take steps toward divorce.
This is the fearful choice. You take no ownership and place all the responsibility for action on your spouse, leaving the other person to either make the hard call or continue to fight a losing battle.
Or you could:
2. Cowboy up. Be courageous and take ownership of your problems. This actually gives you two choices, because now you are bringing communication back into your marriage.
A) If you have the courage to bring the issues to the table before the marriage is irrevocably broken down, there may still be time to save it. Divorce is hard – on you, your spouse, and your children. Before you head down that road, make sure it really is your only option.
B) Maybe it is too late, and saving your marriage is not a possibility. Yet you can still “cowboy up” by expressing how you are feeling and not deflecting your unhappiness onto your spouse. Being the one to raise the topic of divorce is difficult to do, but it is the honorable thing to do. Show your partner – and yourself – the respect your marriage deserves.
When you cowboy up, you’re taking an active role in either saving or dissolving your marriage. You’re turning consequences into results. Instead of hiding from the situation and shrugging off the responsibility, you give your spouse a chance to understand where you’re coming from, and you increase the possibility that the two of you can handle your problems like adults.
I know: it’s not easy. But it’s the courageous thing to do. When you begin the divorce process from a place of courage and compassion, you take a huge step toward easing its impact on your whole family.
Need some guidance on how to be more courageous? Check out these posts.