When faced with major life decisions, it’s natural to take time to ensure the right one is made. Weighing the pros and cons, making lists, asking other’s opinions, doing extensive research, reading online reviews – all part of the process.
But what do we do when we’re struggling with the life-changing decision of whether or not to leave our marriages?
This decision isn’t made with research and reviews. This one involves your heart more than your head. To make matters even more complicated, it also involves not only your future, but the future and the happiness of others – including your husband who may be a perfectly “good” guy and your kids who are innocent bystanders.
In this scenario, the logical approach to decision-making should take a hike. But instead, we do what we’ve always done: we start sharing, seeking help, solace and answers.
We share our struggles with a trusted friend over a cocktail. We talk about it over months or even years with our therapists. We ask our parents or family members and they can’t help but tell us their fears and what it would mean for them.
You feel and stay stuck.
Stuck in all the questions that face you if you decide to leave:
· Will this decision hurt my children in some way?
· Will I be able to support myself?
· What if the grass isn’t actually greener on the other side? What if I end up alone forever?
· What will my family and friends say?
· And even, will my decision to leave crush my spouse? (After all, I’m not out to hurt anyone; I just want to be happy.)
The Path Through:
The relief you feel from that traditional approach is temporary, essentially like taking a pain killer for a gunshot wound. But it doesn’t get you to an answer that leaves you with no regrets and allows you to move forward – either re-connecting inside your marriage or lovingly releasing it.
There is one missing piece you need before you can know your answer for your life and your marriage: you need clarity.
You need clarity about what you want in your most important and most intimate relationship.
You need clarity on whether or not your partner can be the person to meet those wants, needs and very valid desires.
You need clarity about whether or not you and your spouse want the same things in life moving forward.
You need the clarity to know you’ve done everything you can do so that there you don’t live with regrets later.
You need the clarity to know whether or not each of you can create lasting change together. Not just good behavior for a few weeks or months to smooth out this rocky time, but real, genuine lasting change. Creating a new type of relationship together, because clearly, this, as it is, is not working.
Cold Hard Facts:
You can’t get clarity for your life by asking someone else…
You can’t get clarity by polling your friends, family and neighbors…
You can only get clarity by going within and becoming compassionately curious about what was your role in the creation of this relationship – to own your part.
You can only get clarity by doing something different, because if you keep doing the same thing, you will continue to get the same result.
You can only get clarity by gathering more information – about what you both want, how you want to feel in your relationship and who you’re willing to be and become in the marriage.
When we are questioning our marriages, the decision-making process is unlike any other. It’s not a simple question of stay or go. We can’t just read a report and a few online reviews to make a decision. It’s not an intellectual exercise. And when we don’t know how to do anything differently, it seems the only answer is to leave the marriage. But for many – all seemingly valid – reasons, we don’t; instead we remain stuck and unhappy hoping for change and searching for answers to our unending questions.
To get out of this painful spiral and be able to move forward, we just need one thing: clarity.