He had finally convinced her to go to counseling. It had taken years and, having been left unchecked, things had progressively gotten worse. After the first child, things eased up a bit. Maybe even got a little better. But more time passed, and things got rough again. She wouldn’t go to counseling, but they did agree that they needed time together, just them, and so they took a vacation. That did not solve much, but they were fortunate to have a second child about 10 months later.
Now both kids were in grade school and the honeymoon had completely worn off everything. Nothing was right anymore. If it weren’t for the children tweeting about their days at the dinner table, it would be complete silence. Frankly, that was preferable. The last date night was spent 90% in silence and 10% scream-whispering at each other, a maneuver that yielded very little results as they still were the recipients of a lot of uncomfortable stares.
He had been asking for marriage counseling for years. She finally relented. On the way home, she erupted. “That shrink was lousy! All he did was take YOUR side on everything. I have a mind to call the State and have his license revoked! That was the biggest waste of money.”
And indeed it was. She refused to listen to anything her husband had to say. She refused to listen to anything the counselor had to say. If she made eye contact with either it was only by mistake, mid-eyeroll. And so he stared out the window, resolving himself that things must change.
There is a saying that a good divorce is better than a bad marriage. There is a lot of truth to that. Often times we see one spouse go to great lengths to save a marriage, only to have the other refuse to budge, refuse to see things from a different viewpoint, and refuse to acknowledge the value that their spouse (and sometimes their kid) brings to the relationship. They are often the victim in everything and despite their spouse’s repeated efforts at counseling, things only seem to get worse. They are often quick to dismiss the counselor’s input, even when that input matches the previous counselor’s and the one before that! Unfortunately, these are all signs that your partner is unwilling to continue on in your partnership, even if they are equally unwilling to initiate the divorce.
So the question, is a good divorce better than a bad marriage, is exactly what you should be asking yourself, because only you know. You know how your spouse answers it: a bad marriage is better than a good divorce. Otherwise, they would be gone for all the fault they find in it and in you. Somehow, to a spouse like that, bad is preferable. To them, life is about endurance, not happiness.
What are you willing to endure? How much longer can you endure? When no one can fix it, can you live with it un-fixed forever? Or is happiness the route you would rather take?
When the counseling has hit a brick wall or the counselor is inevitably “wrong”, call us. We can help.