When in the midst of a marital crisis, it is not unusual to question whether the marriage is hopeless. Can this relationship ever be as satisfying as it once was or is it doomed to be a constant source of tension and displeasure? Do you keep trying or do you throw in the towel?
Marital problems or a sign of what is to come?
Your relationship hurts and you ask yourself if this pain is what you can expect in the years to come or is it possible to regain the love you once shared? How can you tell? Can you trust your partner's words that promise change, or is this a temporary bandage which will not remain stuck? Are you sure your heart is even available to your partner regardless of how the relationship changes?
These are difficult questions that are common when one begins to question their commitment to their marriage. These are questions that frequently have no definitive answer. They leave you sitting uncomfortably on the fence between ending the marriage and giving it another try.
Assessing your partners commitment.
Sometimes it is easy to tell that your partner is not committed to the relationship, but now your partner promises change and is inviting you to join him or her in creating a new, improved relationship.
The problem is that you've been down this path before and it has ended in disappointment and pain. What is to make this time different? The more you expect something to change and it doesn't, the more foolish you feel. Are you really ready to quit; do you need reassurance you have done all you can do to show your commitment to the marriage?
Weighing the risk of commitment to the marriage.
If you started a new relationship today, there would be a risk of being disappointed and hurt. If you give your heart to someone new, there is the risk that this is misplaced with someone who will fail to guard your heart and will leave it in pain. But neither of these risks are as high as giving your marriage another try. The failure of your marriage creates far more pain than the failure of a new relationship because you have so much more invested in this relationship. The losses would be so much more devastating.
Is it worth the risk to keep trying? Can you meet your partner halfway to contribute to an improved relationship? Do you need a guarantee that your effort will pay off - a guarantee that is not possible? Can you survive another disappointment knowing that you can once again consider a divorce with further evidence that the relationship is a source of pain?
Weighing the risk of ending the marriage.
If you purchased a car today, this decision would weigh heavily on your mind, but the decision would fade as years passed on. A decision to divorce continues to be important throughout your life. The consequences of that car purchase are only there for a few years, but the consequences of divorce linger throughout your life.
Fear of committing to the marriage is real but so is the fear of the unknown that divorce brings. It is like peering down a path that is only dimly lit. What dangers lurk down this path? Can you tell yourself that you have the resources to deal with whatever is down that path? Even if you know that you have what it takes to move toward divorce, you cannot be sure how others will react. Are you prepared to deal with friends and family's reaction to your decision?
All in or all out?
It would be nice to be able to tiptoe into this decision, minimizing the risk of pain while further assessing what you want. Unfortunately, you are faced with two paths that are mutually exclusive. Your marriage cannot succeed without your full commitment and divorce must be entered with a commitment to building a new life. Each step takes courage to accept what lays ahead.