Over the course of a long-term marriage, you’ll likely experience a range of ups and downs. Some periods of time will feel more connected, more romantic, and generally happier…
And even the “bad times” can have their own range, whether you’re arguing more than usual, experiencing a lull in your sex life, or simply not feeling very excited about the marriage…
All of this is perfectly normal, and even the most blissful marriages can go through periods of difficulty.
For some couples, though, these rough patches can lead to negative thinking, concentrating on the problems, and sometimes even mulling over the idea of divorce. They may even surprise themselves when these thoughts arise, and begin to worry that simply thinking about divorce is a sign that the marriage is doomed. If it becomes more than thoughts – and that dreaded D-word finds its way into your conversations with your spouse, it can be even more worrisome.
The good news, however, is that just thinking about it doesn’t make it inevitable – in fact, rolling it over in your mind is just a sign that there’s work to be done in the marriage, and that now is the time for action!
While it IS normal to consider divorce on occasion, especially if things haven’t been going so well lately, it’s also important to recognize these thoughts as a giant, flashing warning sign. Whatever the trouble at hand might be, if it’s making you even imagine divorce, it’s a problem that needs to be addressed right away.
You can admit to your spouse that you are having such thoughts – though you should make it clear that they are only thoughts at this point – and let them know how much having those thoughts worries you.
The next step is to take a good look at why you might be thinking that way. What have the two of you been arguing about? Why are you feeling dissatisfied? There’s likely a specific issue (or several specific issues) that has you thinking about divorce in the first place, so that’s where you start.
Feeling neglected? Talk to your spouse about spending more quality time together. Fighting about money? Plan to sit down together and develop a budget. Trouble in the bedroom? Look into ways to keep the spark going and explore trying some new things. Arguing too much, but don’t really know why? It could just come down to communication skills, and seeing a marriage counselor might be the best option for you.
The point is this: it’s fine to have these thoughts, but it’s not ok to ignore them – or to let the problems continue unchecked. If you’re thinking about divorce, but aren’t saying anything to your spouse or taking any action to resolve the problems, you’ll continue to experience the anger and frustration, continue to think about divorce, and ultimately, allow your marriage to move further and further away from a place of strength, happiness, and connection.
If you’re having these kinds of thoughts and feelings, don’t just let them happen…
Do something about it before it gets any worse!