Sadie Holloway is a workshop facilitator who teaches interpersonal communication skills to help people strengthen their relationships.
Is This Just a Rough Patch?
Most marriages will experience a bit of turmoil at one point or another. But, how do you know if you're just going through a rough patch or if it's time to consider a divorce? Here are some thoughts and perspectives on how to know if your marriage is worth fighting for.
Points to Consider
If you and your partner are currently experiencing a rough patch, here are some things to consider that might help guide your exploration.
Are you and your spouse still willing to work together to overcome problems in your marriage in a healthy and respectful manner?
Are you both willing to do the work involved in figuring out how to save your marriage? If the answer is yes, then there’s hope for the two of you as a couple.
What does "worth fighting for your marriage" mean?
It doesn't literally mean fighting, of course. It doesn't mean resisting the other person's wishes if they truly want to end the relationship. 'Worth fighting for' means that you are willing to work together to make the marriage last. 'Fighting for' in this context means not giving up too easily. It means not surrendering to outside pressures or everyday stresses and strains that can stand between the two of you.
Signs Your Marriage Could Survive
Below are some good signs that your marriage is worth fighting for.
You Both Want to Save Your Marriage
This is the first, and most important, sign that your marriage is worth fighting for. If only one of you wants to make it work, then trying to save a marriage that is in trouble is going to be a challenge, a BIG challenge. You can’t do it alone. And your partner can’t do it alone either. You will have to work together, as a team, if you want to make the marriage work. Don’t fight each other. Join forces and fight against all the things that are pulling you apart: unresolved issues, poor communications skills, busy work lives, even infidelity can be overcome if the two of you both agree that what you have is worth holding onto.
You Provide Balance to Each Other's Lives
You lift your spouse up when s/he is down, rather than getting dragged down, too. Having someone who is able to support you through the bad days, without falling into a rut is a strong sign that what you have has a chance of making it through any marriage problems. People who don’t let other people’s moods bring them down have strong internal resources. It doesn’t mean they are indifferent to the other person’s pain or distress. It just means that they are coming from a place of true self-love. They have taken care of their own emotional needs so that they can give their love, attention, and affection to those most in need of encouragement and support. But if the two of you can’t be around each other without dragging each other down, then you could end up in a never-ending circle of mood-swings that just keep feeding off of each other.
You Like One Another as People (Not Just Partners)
If you know that in another place and time, you and your spouse would be good friends and genuinely like each other, that’s a sign that your marriage is worth fighting for. If your marriage is built on a solid foundation of friendship, laughter, affection and mutual respect, then don’t give up. Your marriage doesn’t have to end. If 90% of the time, you truly do enjoy being in each others’ presence, then congratulations. You and your spouse have a relationship that is worth hanging onto!
You Share Moral and Ethical Beliefs
Having shared values about life and death, religion, human rights, and critical social issues (poverty relief, humanitarian aid, charity) can be a cornerstone of what holds you together as a couple. You may not agree on how the family duties should be shared, but if you do believe that they should always be shared equally, figuring out who folds the laundry and who takes out the garbage is just a matter of talking it through and coming up with a plan that gets stuff done. The important thing is that you both believe in equality between the sexes.
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You Both Know Nobody Is Perfect
You know that personal growth is an inside job, that is, you each have to take responsibility for your feelings. You both are committed to becoming more self-aware. If you are both willing to learn new skills (e.g., communication, conflict resolution), then your marriage has a good chance if you want to save it.
A Very Personal Decision
No matter how many articles or books you read on how to find out if your marriage is worth fighting for, only you and your partner can make that decision. You are the ones who will have to live with your decision to stay together or break-up. Trust yourself and let your emotional, and spiritual, compass lead the way. While there are many practical issues that need to be worked out before you decide on whether or not to fight for your marriage (i.e.; Can you afford a divorce right now?), your instinct can also be a powerful force in helping you make up your mind. Do what feels right for you. Some of these reasons for fighting to save your marriage may not be as important to you as some other strong beliefs and values that you hold onto. That’s OK.
If you still have questions about your relationship and you found this article helpful, you might also want to read:
- How to Have a More Loving and Affectionate Relationship
- How to Talk to Your Spouse: Marital Communication Tips
- Making Up After a Big Fight with Your Spouse
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Sadie Holloway
Tracy Rhoads on December 24, 2018:
My spouse has emotionally and physically cheated on me, lied extensively about it, then finally ended it. We have differing ideals on what roles we need to play in the house (ie he literally does nothing ever, hes currently been sitting on the couch for the last 12 hours), and we have a 1 year old son. I dont think its worth saving anymore. its basically a my way or the highway kind of deal with him. I should have never moved across the country for him.
Neetu M from USA on July 19, 2014:
Yes, Room of my Own, a marriage is only worth fighting for when you know it is worth fighting for and no book can ever tell you that.
AJ Long from Pennsylvania on July 18, 2014:
Wonderful thoughts and insights to marriage difficulties Room of My Own! Marriage is never free from conflict or compromise. Marriage is most times worth saving, in my opinion. :o)