You’ve hear the statistics. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. But, because I’m a glass half-full kind of gal, I go with 50% of marriages succeed. And the odds could be even better. How do I know this? Because as a marriage therapist and discernment counselor, I’ve witnessed couples overcome all kinds of challenges to be happier, healthier, and more in love than ever. They’re so glad that they tried discernment counseling and couples therapy and were able to stay together.
For many couples divorce isn’t the answer. It just seems like the easiest (and perhaps only) option at the time. And well-meanings friends, family, and therapists encourage them to walk away from their unhappy marriage. It’s the quick fix. Except, ask anyone who’s been through it, it’s not. Now I’m not advocating that divorce shouldn’t be an option. But I think more people would be happier working it out than divorcing. There’s a reason that second and third marriages have a higher divorce rate than first marriages.
What separates the marriages that stay together from the ones that split?
I don’t buy into the old adage that “marriage is hard.” But I do know that it has its challenges. And it’s even harder to face them today than ever before. Why? Because we all want instant gratification. And anyone who’s been married for a long time knows that instant gratification is not the solution to a long marriage. Because, to feel good now, we sometimes lose sight of our long-term goals (like staying married).
This is where perseverance comes in. Perseverance is “staying power.” It’s dealing with challenges face on and keeping your eye on the prize. Think of marriage like an obstacle course. It gets messy. You fall down. It’ll push you to your limit. You can’t think about how hard the moment is. You instead need to think about your WHY.
If you want to married for the long haul, don’t get sidetracked by the obstacles. Get creative, channel your inner strength, and move through them. Always knowing that you are doing it because you love this person and want to be with them.
Personal responsibility and accountability
When we acknowledge our contributions to our marital problems, we have agency. There is something that we can do to fix it. We know that we can control our actions and we double down on our efforts. When we blame our partner for everything, we give up our power. We back off. We wait. And we let the relationship wither away.
Personal responsibility goes out the window in divorce. We marriage therapists know that it takes two to tango. But you start building a divorce narrative that your partner is the one with two left feet. You tried. They didn’t. The end. Except it’s not the end.
This is one of the many reasons I love doing discernment counseling. It gives couples a safe place to explore the marriage, their own contributions to the marital problems, and the options for the future. Discernment counseling helps you look at your role in the marriage and what you will need to move forward (together or separately). You both contributed to the problem and will need to be part of the solution, whether that’s divorce or trying to work it out.
I Need Help Fixing My Marriage
If you need help fixing your relationship, you’ve come to the right place. I offer both couples therapy and discernment counseling. If you are both committed to making your marriage work, couples therapy is the best choice of action. But, if one of you is on the fence about your marriage, discernment counseling is the better choice. Discernment counseling is short-term (1 to 5 sessions) and aims to help you and your spouse get clarity on the relationship, confidence about the future of your relationship, and a greater understanding of what happened and each of your contributions to it.
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