Contrary to what many people think, the answer in the majority of cases is yes! Especially, if you have children. Children are always happier in a full, original family unit. In general, the exceptions involve cases of abuse, addictions and some form of mental illnesses. But I am not talking about those. I am talking about the average, “normal” marriage.
Usually, people give up on their marriages when they feel disheartened, disappointed, and hopeless. They often feel that “they tried everything, but nothing works.” The sad statistics tell us that about 50-60% of marriages end up in divorce. Some of the more common reasons people site for their divorce are “irreconcilable differences,” communication problems, a disappearance of love, unhappiness and/or cheating.
Nobody wants to be in an unhappy marriage, and I am certainly not suggesting it. But we frequently look for happiness in the wrong place, namely: in another person. Often times we think that other person can make us feel loved, happy and excited. “If only he (or she) would…” – we think – “then I would be happy.” It would be great if it were so, but unfortunately life doesn’t work this way. The only real and long-lasting way to find happiness is to find it within. And then to work together with your partner to build better relationship.
And it’s not as hard as you might think.
If you analyze your life, you might notice that it’s not what’s going on in your life that makes you unhappy, but rather your thoughts about it. Remember the times when you just met your spouse? Remember what you thought about him or her then? They probably were the most understanding, most amazing, most loving and caring person you’ve ever met. And you were perfect together. But eventually little disappointments, unrealistic expectations, various quirks, his dirty socks on the floor or her nagging started to change your thoughts about your partner. And now, instead of the “most amazing person in the world,” you are finding yourself with a slob or a nagging bitch. How did it happen? Maybe you didn’t see it before because you were blinded by infatuation? You probably explained the unpleasant signs away. But now they are in your face and you give them a much harsher label. But the truth is, the person next to you didn’t change. What changed is your thinking and your perceptions of him or her.
If we could change our thinking from one direction to another – can we change it back again?
The good news is that we can. I recently read a wonderful book by Henry Grayson called “Mindful Loving.” He offers ten exercises to transform your marriage from unhappy and unloving into a relationship with a deep and satisfying connection. The even better news is that you can do it by yourself because a relationship is a system: when one person changes, the other changes too.
So, coming back to the original question, marriage is worth saving – but only if we can find our own happiness and chose love instead of blaming, expecting and trying to change other person, etc. As Dr. Grayson wrote in his book, “Love is a choice, not something we have to feel first.”
How exactly you will do it is up to you. It can be by reading books and practicing what they suggest or by enlisting help from a marriage and family therapist. Perhaps some workshops or weekend retreats. When there is a will, there is way.
Good luck in saving your marriage!