Updated: Jan 26
When you’re searching for “is my marriage worth saving”, I suspect you’re feeling pretty sad, angry, frustrated and hurt right now.
Maybe the two of you’ve been growing apart for a while, or there’s been a sudden downturn. Now you’re probably considering making a life-changing decision.
The decision to end a relationship or get a divorce has a huge emotional impact, naturally. But, it also has an impact on how you see your future.
What will the impact of separation and divorce be on the kids? Will there be enough time to build a relationship and have children with someone else?
Will you dare to love again? What will splitting up mean to your financial stability? What will the impact of a breakup be on your social, emotional, spiritual and economic well-being? Can your marriage or relationship be saved?
Naturally, deciding if your relationship or marriage is worth saving can therefore seem daunting.
While no one can make that decision for you, I can certainly help you on your way.
When is your relationship definitely not worth saving?
If your partner is physically hurting you, controlling you and verbally abusing you, you are dealing with domestic violence.
The only time your relationship may be saved under such circumstances is if your spouse or partner never was abusive in the past.
If you’re most definitely not in an abusive relationship, let investigate then if it’s worth save your marriage or relationship.
When is a relationship or marriage worth saving?
You can try to save your relationship
Sadly, you can’t save your relationship or marriage by yourself.
However, you can make lots of changes by yourself to repair and improve your relationship without your partner’s immediate involvement.
I suspect the latter may come as a surprise. But, here’s the deal…
Your relationship is worth saving – at least for now – when:
You’re not in an abusive relationship, first and foremost!
You love your spouse or partner, even if you’re no longer madly in love.
You stop waiting for your spouse to change, ditch blaming them for all your troubles and start to take responsibility for your own role in the downturn of your marriage or relationship.
You commit yourself to do what you can to repair and improve your relationship.
You’re prepared to invest time and energy learning all about building a healthy relationship and hold yourself to account.
You’re ready to ask for and take constructive criticism and advice – from an expert relationship coach, for example, or perhaps a wise, non-judgemental and compassionate family member or friend.
You can do all that without bringing your efforts to the attention of your spouse or partner! You’re prepared to wait for them to notice the changes in their own time.
In other words, you’re committed to developing wisdom, tolerance, love and compassion. You may then find that your relationship improves to such an extent that you stop thinking about whether or not it can be saved.
Let’s say you give it about three months of your sustained commitment and effort to making it work.
You should see then that:
After perhaps a month, or sooner, your spouse or partner begins to notice the changes in your attitude and behavior
Your partner begins to respond. You’ll notice a change in their attitude and behavior without your having to push them to do it.
Here are another few situations you need to take into account when you’re considering if it’s worth saving your relationship marriage.
When it may not be worth saving your marriage or relationship
It may not be worth saving your relationship when you’re dealing with the following issues
According to relationship researcher John Gottman, when you’re dealing with what he calls the four horsemen of the apocalypse your marriage has a high chance of ending in separation and divorce.
Contempt You’re treating each other with contempt. Contempt is a toxic combination of feelings of dislike, disgust and anger (See: Signs of emotional abuse).
Criticism Constant criticism is the death knell of any relationship. By constantly criticizing your spouse or partner, you’re undermining their self-esteem.
Stonewalling One or both of you frequently acts for hours or maybe even days like the other simply doesn’t exist. See also my article How to respond to and win the silent treatment.
Defensiveness One or both of you are constantly defending yourself without taking any responsibility for your actions. When you’re always seeing the other as the problem, you stop learning from what’s happening, developing yourself and becoming more creative at problem-so
If your spouse has an addiction, it may not be worth saving your marriage. Whether it’s worth saving your relationship does depend on your level of compassion, love and tolerance. It depends even more on how willing your spouse or partner is to overcome the addiction.
If any attempts to deal with the problem continue to fail, it may not be worth saving your marriage.
Intolerable conflict in a blended family
Never-ending conflict in a blended family is hard to endure and to tackle. You’ve joined up, each family with its own culture, rules, needs and resources. That’s no mean feat! It may be that the children don’t get on with their new caregiver or that the adult has difficulties accepting the other person’s kids. bringing together.
It takes a mountain of patience, wisdom, compassion and love to bridge the gap between two families.
Conflict in a blended family, just like any other family, is unavoidable. My advice, therefore, is that before you make a life-changing decision, you talk to a relationship coach.
Infidelity need not be a reason for separation and divorce. There’s every chance you can stay together after infidelity if you’re both prepared to work on your relationship.
However, if either one of you has a history of cheating, the chances are that history will repeat itself. When promises are so often broken and trust completely diminished, it’s not worth saving your marriage.
If your constantly lying, maybe you even consider them to be a compulsive liar. Then it probably isn’t worth saving your marriage.
Also, if your spouse or partner has kept a secret, has lied to you from the very beginning, you may decide that your relationship or marriage is not worth saving.
Can your marriage or relationship be saved?
Other relationship issues may have led you to wonder if your relationship or marriage can be saved.
Your spouse doesn’t find you attractive anymore
Ouch! To be told that you’re not attractive anymore by the love of your life is so painful. It can be a measure of how far you’ve grown apart. All need not be lost, though – your marriage may still be worth saving. Hop over to my article: My partner doesn’t find me attractive anymore.
Lack of intimacy
A lack of intimacy is a symptom of an underlying problem. There can be all sorts of reasons for it. So, of itself, it’s not a reason to end your marriage.
Relationship problems after the baby
The birth of a baby has a dramatic impact on the dynamics of your relationship. So it’s no wonder it has caused some issues.
Your marriage or relationship may well go through a period of instability while the two of you adjust to the new reality. Sure, that can feel quite unsafe, but it doesn’t need to mean the end of your marriage or relationship.
On/ off relationship or marriage
From early on in your relationship and during your marriage, there’ve been threats of abandonment. Either one of you may have even asked for a break several times.
My advice to you is to talk to an expert relationship coach to figure out what’s making it so hard to call it an end. Perhaps you’re scared of being on your own, you can’t get past a sense of guilt or you’re feel manipulated and see no way out.
How to decide if a relationship is worth saving
Deciding whether or not to save your relationship is really hard as it’s a life-changing decision.
You may (or may not) still love your spouse or partner. Perhaps you’ve kids together, your finances may be entangled, you may have a house together. Deciding who would move out and where to live and how to tell that you want divorce is no mean feat.
In other words, separation and divorce or ending a relationship with someone you live with is tough.
Is your marriage worth saving? Can your relationship be saved?
I’m afraid there’s no way I can answer this for you (unless you’re being abused). But I hope the information in this article has given you an idea of whether or not your marriage or relationship is worth fighting for.
However hurt, angry, disappointed, frustrated or lonely you’re feeling right now, know that you’re much stronger than you think you are.
Chances are you already have experience dealing with hard times. You’ve got this!