If you have been married for a while, chances are that you’ve hit a rocky patch or two along the way. Marriage, after all, is a close relationship that requires considerable attention and tending. The fact is that a large percentage of marriages end in divorce, and if it were easy, this probably wouldn’t be the case. It’s also a fact, however, that marriage often has much to recommend it and is worth fighting for. If you are at a crossroads in your marriage, it doesn’t necessarily mean that divorce is imminent.
There are several guidelines that can help you get a better feel for the strength of your marriage and for your best path forward. If your marriage is young, you may have simply hit one of those nearly inevitable rough patches that you and your spouse will find your way through. If your marriage is one of many years, you may have the strength of your history together to propel you forward. If, on the other hand, you have determined that your marriage is irretrievably broken, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced Houston divorce attorney.
Marriage and Psychological Tasks
According to the National Health Statistics Report, approximately half of all first marriages end in divorce, and this percentage rises for subsequent marriages. In other words, divorce is far from uncommon. The American Psychological Association’s research has determined nine psychological tasks that are closely associated with people who maintain happy, healthy marriages:
- People who maintain a healthy emotional separation from their families of origin
- People who build togetherness while protecting each other’s autonomy
- People who establish and protect a rewarding intimate relationship
- People who embrace the challenges of parenthood and are able to absorb the weighty impact (in marriages with children)
- People who confront life’s inevitable crises head on
- People who use their marriages as safe havens against adversity – within which they are each free to express their differences, conflict, and anger
- People who employ humor and laughter to maintain perspective and to rout out boredom and isolation
- People who comfort and nurture each other, satisfy each other’s dependency needs, and provide ongoing support and encouragement
- People who face the time-wrought sober realities of life while sustaining the idealized images of early romance and falling in love
It’s a tall order, but striving to accomplish these fundamental psychological tasks can help couples stay together through thick and thin.
The Questions You Should Ask Yourself
If you find yourself considering divorce, there’s a reason you’re doing so, but it does not mean that divorce is inevitable. The fact that you are considering the question – rather than answering it outright – indicates that there is hope for your marriage. As such, there are several important questions you should ask yourself:
- Are You Both Committed to Pursuing Counseling?
The fact is that help is available in the form of marital counseling, and if you are both committed to pursuing this line of help, it’s indicative of your commitment to each other as a team. Marriage, after all, is teamwork for two, and being open to getting the help you need shows a profound commitment to maintaining your relationship. Counseling often helps couples better understand each other’s motivations and fears and can even help them grow closer to one another than ever before.
- Have You Chosen to Stay in Your Marriage?
Marriage is a choice that you make every day, and long marriages are a testament to making the choice to stay together day after day. If you recognize that you do choose to stay in your marriage, it can be very empowering and can provide the impetus to work on healing the damaged parts. Conversely, if you feel as if you have no emotional or financial choice but to stay in your marriage, it’s time to gain some perspective and explore your options – because you do have options.
- Are You and Your Spouse Respectful and Kind to One Another?
If you and your spouse have remained respectful and kind to one another despite the differences you may harbor, it’s a good sign that you have what it takes to work past your relationship issues and to nurture your marriage. Kindness and respect are the essential building blocks of all happy and rewarding relationships.
- Do You Value and Look Forward to Your Family Traditions?
You and your spouse built a family together – a family that includes traditions you have created together over the years. If you continue to value these traditions and are motivated to nurture them, it’s a good sign that your commitment to the marriage remains viable. Remembering everything you’ve accomplished together can give you the strength to work through difficult times as a couple.
Just as every marriage is unique, so is every divorce. No one can tell you whether your marriage is viable or not – only you and your spouse can make this determination. If you find, however, that you generally answer the foregoing questions in the affirmative, it should serve as a strong indication that you aren’t ready to give up on your marriage. If, on the other hand, no is more likely to be your response, it could be time to seek the professional legal counsel of a skilled Houston divorce attorney.
If You Are Considering Divorce, Consult with an Experienced Houston Divorce Attorney Today
Whether you are simply exploring your options or are convinced that your marriage is over, an experienced Houston divorce lawyer can help. Divorce is an extremely personal choice, but discussing the matter with a knowledgeable legal professional can help you gain perspective and focus. The dedicated family law attorneys at , in Houston, have the experience, commitment, and compassion to help you find the answers you need. If you are headed toward divorce, our experienced legal team is here to help you every step of the way. Your case and your rights matter, so please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 to schedule a free consultation today.