Marriage in Crisis
Everyone dreams of entering a marriage where their relationship is full of marital bliss until death parts them. In fairy tales this seems to be the case, but if you have lived any life, you know that this is far from true in most marriages. Living with someone is difficult enough, but when you enter the complexities of finances, families, children, and work, this can make even the most solid relationship difficult at times to bear. When a marriage continues too long under distress, it can lead to arguments, division, confusion, and ultimately a decision that leads to divorce. How do couples get here after making the decision to spend the rest of their lives together?
Marriages tend to start of great, but as with any relationship, there may be underlying issues that cause couples to grow apart over time. If many were honest, a lot of the issues they struggle with in marriage were present prior to taking their vows. Unfortunately, the newness of love can make us overlook red flags and later cause issues to increase. The lack of effective communication to deal with such issues can increase the likelihood that the couple will ultimately divorce. While no couple gets married with the intent of divorcing, it is a decision that thousands of couples make every year.
A marriage in crisis is any marriage that is struggling to recover after an issue has been discovered. It does not have to be due to infidelity, it can be a partner feeling neglected or unheard. It can also be the revelation of one person’s unhappiness within the marriage. Maybe the regret of saying I Do too soon or discovering that marriage was not what they wanted after they experienced. These issues can produce real disagreements that can leave a couple disjointed and ready to go their separate ways.
One of the issues within a marriage in crisis is typically having one person wanting to leave but the other person is fighting to salvage the marriage. This tug of war can leave both parties resentful causing further irreparable damage. Most marriages don’t just end at divorce court, there are several stages that a couple goes through to reach the final decision of separation or divorce.
While most couples start off in a healthy phase, as issues fester or develop, the couple may enter a phase of disillusionment. Despite the reality that all relationships go through ups and downs, this can be the phase where unhappiness begins but is not voiced. The sad thing about this phase is that many relationships can be turned around during this time with effective communication and honest dialogue. Couples can implement changes that can improve the feelings of discontent.
There is no one size fits all solution when a marriage is in crisis. This is typically when most couples seek therapy. The reality is that when most couples reach out to a therapist, the marriage is typically beyond repair. Emotions have typically been left unchecked and the issues have snowballed into avalanches that produce the couple’s demise. There is hope for those married couples who are willing to do the work. The goal is to prevent the crisis by doing regular honest check-ins to address issues before they start or before they get worse.