Roses are red, violets are blue, marriage is forever when you say “I do”.
Well, sure, there might be certain deal-breakers for some couples.
Common marriage-threatening issues might be:
- Criminal activity
- Irreconcilable parenting discord
- Infidelity and/or sexual dissatisfaction
- Wildly different financial styles
Or some other severe incompatibility not apparent until after walking down the aisle.
For couples that go the distance, these are just mountains to climb together-- not hills for the marriage to die on.
In today’s post we’ll take a look at 9 primary reasons for couples who are contemplating divorce to give their marriage another try-- and to do it with the help of a professional couples’ counselor.
Because divorce is expensive.
It takes a toll on one’s health, emotions, relationships, finances and state of mind.
Roses are red, violets are blue, counseling is cheaper than divorce for two?
That’s right, Lord Byron (and yeah, we’re gonna stick with the poetry theme).
There's something poetic about trying again for the sake of love.
And there’s something sweet about a little suffering to be sure.
If you and your spouse are struggling to make it work, we’re not saying divorce shouldn’t ever be an option. We’re simply saying it’s worth a couple considering these poetic reasons for seeking help with couple's therapy-- before putting themselves through the pain, cost and hassle of dissolving a marriage.
1. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Divorce is expensive for couples. Suddenly the whole financial pie you had together becomes halved. That can mean kissing goodbye to much of your savings. And often your primary residence. When you and your spouse complete the divorce process, you will likely split your assets-- including what's in your savings account, retirement accounts and proceeds from a sale of any real property or securities.
Divorce makes savings go astray"
There's nothing poetic about halving your nest egg.
It's likely going to hurt. Plus, how do you know you'll get half? There may be aspects of the divorce settlement that cut deeply into what you thought was your share of the savings accumulated before or after two became one.
2. "Once upon a midnight dreary--
Divorce can make your health contrary"
Did you know that single people experience poorer health than people who are married? Harvard Health reported in a study that married men had better health than single or divorced men. Death might be just one divorce decree away-- when a guy is battling higher cholesterol, heart problems, respiratory diseases and increased health dangers all around.
According to the studies, it appears that the cliche of the bachelor in the kitchen holds true. And who wants to be the bachelor in the hospital bed?
Think we just cherry-picked one scientific study because “Harvard” sounded credible? You’d be right. But we chose one from among literally hundreds of academic studies that have been conducted over the past 100+ years that have demonstrated that marriage is good for one's health.
The stats are on your side to give that meeting with a couple's therapist a try before contemplating a divorce. Doing so may be as good for your physical health as your mental health.
3. “If ever two were one, then surely we
Owe it ourselves to think clearly.”
Speaking of mental health, a divorce can be a hammer to the head. And one of the first things to hurt is the ability to think clearly and rationally-- especially when the topic in mind touches on the person who is (or soon to be) your ex-wife / ex-husband. And let’s be honest-- what topics DON’T touch on that person after enough time being married and interweaving your lives together?
Then there’s the mental cost of figuring out things that you now have to do for yourself-- that he/she used to do for you. And the mental price you’ll pay before setting up a new life with all its required routines, and rebuilding structures for home, work, family and more. Already too much? That is just mental stress and discomfort even before we get to the very real emotional component of dividing two intertwined lives in separation forever.
Think twice and again before making divorce an early option in a marriage that’s not working currently-- that’s all we’re saying-- or in prematurely seeking this big change you may risk your ability to think clearly at all.
4. "Do not go gentle into that goodnight
(Attorneys' fees are a major fright!)"
Divorcing a spouse isn't cheap. The more complex your case-- the division of property and debt, the presence of children or a business or investments-- the more expensive your attorney's fees are likely to cost.
If you need legal representation-- as most people do-- you might pay about $3,000 USD just to start with. It's not uncommon for people to wind up paying their attorneys $10,000 or more to get divorced. And that’s common even when there aren’t a bunch of things to argue about!
I’ve always thought it’s ironic that many divorce attorneys bill their time at an hourly rate far more than the average person earns per hour. After all, the average couple that ends up in a divorce battle probably already has plenty of experience arguing. So what is it for the attorneys to do anyway? Hint: they’ll take your cash for as long as they can.
Still, in all seriousness, it's often necessary for someone getting a marriage dissolved to rely on a divorce attorney for help navigating the divorce process-- especially in the event that a personal business is concerned or he/she has children.
Are we making the case for couples counseling here? Yep, couple's therapy is much cheaper than legal representation from divorce attorneys (a couple will need two, of course-- both billing by the hour after all).
5. “Love a child is ever crying, crying;
crying, crying 'my parents' marriage is dying'.”
Kids complicate everything. Sometimes in a wonderful way, yes, but never do they obey the principle of separation of love and hate. If there’s tension between their parents, it’s definitely going to come out with tension among the family.
Parents with children have to give some thought to the effect of a divorce on their kids. Worry that the stress caused by a divorce will negatively affect the children is entirely understandable. What about you? Did your parents get divorced? How did you manage the situation? Some kids do fine. Others fall apart.
If you’ve read our stuff before, you probably know we’d counsel transparency with kids. Forget the stigma. Couples’ therapy isn’t the beginning of the end. It’s a step from here to there-- and you can let them know you have a desire to attend couples therapy together to deepen your connection to one another.
It’ll be a far easier conversation than the alternative-- and there’s nothing wrong with kids learning early that what’s worth having is worth fighting for.
6. “Two roads diverged in a wood and I?
I might have to pay alimony till I die…”
Have you considered whether a divorce court will mandate that you pay alimony to your spouse? Sometimes referred to as spousal support, alimony is an amount of money that your ex may be entitled to based on your income and lifestyle.
In some cases, the courts may instruct you to pay temporary spousal support for a specified period of time– often before the divorce is finalized.
The support, when permanent, is intended to provide for your former spouse even after the divorce becomes finalized.
The amount depends on many variables but no matter the amount-- it will most likely be no fun to pay.
7. "My love is like a red, red rose;
Maintaining two households really blows"
Maintaining one house and household can be tough enough, but when you and your spouse split up, you'll both have to decide where you're going to live–- and to pay the bills for each setting. Just moving costs alone can suck, but what really blows is the financial burden of maintaining two households with the same earnings a couple might have struggled somewhat to do for one household.
Paying for a second household you don’t personally use can over-stress an already highly stressful situation. Plus, it may be necessary to pay for both households for quite a while as the divorce process continues.
When combined with attorneys' fees, the cost of the divorce and its associated expenses can drain both parties financially there’s no doubt. .
8. "Nothing gold can stay--
Especially if the in-laws don't go away"
Divorcing a spouse is one thing, but imagine ‘divorcing' your in-laws, too. It can be difficult to separate from in-laws and your spouse's extended family-- especially if you have kids. The family situation can become very tense and, over time, remain an ever-present stressor.
Your connection with your in-laws may become problematic, but if you have children, you may have no choice but to remain involved with them. Dealing with in-laws as a spouse can be tough enough, but dealing with them as an ex-spouse can be a nightmare.
It’s far easier to schedule a marriage counseling session. You might be pleasantly surprised-- why not give it a try?
9. “Had we but world enough, and time,
We would be depressed-- and out of wine.”
It can be emotionally painful to end a marriage. Even though your relationship may be tumultuous, you may be able to foster new ways of dealing with one another in healthy ways when coached by a therapist.
The stress of a divorce, on the other hand, may require visiting a mental health professional to get help coping with the emotional fallout of the situation.
Losing a spouse may not be the only loss of going down the path to divorce. Your emotional health may take a hit if you lose one or more pets in the divorce. What if one doesn’t win custody of his or her children?
Divorce can be emotionally challenging-- even depressing. The stages of grief in full effect. It can take years to recover from the emotional trauma of divorce-- which is why you might benefit simply by giving marriage therapy a try.
The Case for Couples Counseling
Marriage is supposed to be forever, but if you're struggling with that notion, all I’m saying with today’s post is this:
- don't struggle alone.
- and don’t immediately throw out the baby with the bathwater.
It costs a lot to divorce-- time, money, energy, taking a toll on your health, wealth, state of mind and relationships. Isn’t that BIG PAIN for many tomorrows worth avoiding if we can accept some small discomfort today?
I've noticed something about humans that’s interesting. It seems that a lot of people choose to make massive changes to avoid making smaller ones.
Instead of confronting a neighbor with a loud dog barking all day long, they’ll move.
Instead of having a conversation with their boss about working from home two times per week, they'll quit.
Instead of going to couples therapy, they'll file for divorce.
I’m not quite sure why people ignore small changes-- except maybe they think life is a video game where one can press the “reset” button and avoid small discomforts and change.
Small changes can totally be worth it.
Small changes can add up to big results.
Now, I'm not advocating you should never make big changes in your life.
On the contrary, I believe there are times when big, sweeping changes are necessary.
e.g. You are in a relationship you know is over, you hate your job and it’s making you feel dead inside, you're an alcoholic who is so non-functioning it’s not funny.
When that voice in your head whispers to you to make a change you can choose to listen to it or ignore it.
You should listen to the whispers because if not that voice in your head will eventually start screaming at you!
If there’s been no poetry in your marriage for some time...we hope today’s post may have gotten you thinking that there’s a path less traveled you could take.
A small change you could make.
The small change of inviting a marriage therapist into your relationship can provide unbiased support for you and your spouse, helping you develop strategies for managing your differences and challenges.
A therapist can help you identify problematic ways of relating and communicating.
Despite what someone may have picked up over a lifetime of absorbing the prejudices and misconceptions of people around him or her, couples’ therapy isn’t for losers. It’s not a last resort reserved for husbands and wives headed straight for divorce court, either.
Done properly, marriage counseling can provide great tools for partners to learn how to get along, coping strategies, and skills to communicate in a way that works.
Among countless other possible benefits from some thoughtful therapy sessions, a couple might resolve conflict, fall in love again and even improve their sex life.
With the expertise of a marriage counselor, a couple can embrace new ways of living together and loving each other. Given all the negatives associated with divorce, it's certainly poetic to try to build your marriage up rather than tear it down. Isn’t it?
And to get back what you had and lost...it’s worth it, isn’t it?
Scented and warm against my beating breast;
And drink the passion burning in your frame;
And tease your mouth with kisses till you speak.
And myself answer: Till the end of days;
Mrs. Cubic Zirconia
Wishing you and your significant other many more years of love and laughter,