Here are three important pieces of marriage advice from a woman who stayed in her marriage too long.
Here’s she’s talking to an unhappy wife who wants to leave her husband:
“Don’t let yourself get messed up like I did. I’m in my mid 60s and I don’t care about my husband or our marriage anymore. I also invested a lot of time an effort in my marriage, plus a lot of doctor and shrink bills. Get out of a bad relationship while you can and find a great man who will love you, respect you, and treat you like a lady. It will be tough, so find counseling so you can decide on the right approach. And make sure you can afford to go back out on your own. Maybe also find a friend, family member or minister to help you, give you a shoulder to cry on and a hand to hold. YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!! Don’t waste your life – it’s too short! “
This reader was advising a woman married to an abusive man, on my article Was Your Marriage a Waste of Time? The Silver Lining of Divorce.
Here, I unpack her three key pieces of marriage advice (leave if your marriage is over, make sure you can afford to live on your own, and find a good man). I want to break her tips down, so they’re easier to manage — and I added a fourth piece of advice (get emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy!).
Trust your gut: if you believe your marriage is over, don’t stay married
There is NEVER a good time to leave your husband. You’ll never have enough money, family support, courage, or strength. You’ll never be 100% ready to leave – they will always be fear and uncertainty about your future.
The longer you stay married, the harder it’ll be to leave. If you know your marriage can’t be saved – if you’re being abused or neglected – then you need to either accept your life the way it is or start thinking about moving forward with your life.
The first step to creating a happier, healthier life is to get in touch with your feelings of fear, anxiety, unworthiness, and insecurity.
Read How to Find the Strength to Get Out of a Bad Relationship.
Make sure you can afford to live on your own
Many of my readers say they want to leave but have no money to support themselves. Sometimes this is true, but often we use money as an excuse. It’s hard to live as a single woman, but women do it all over the world. They are no better, smarter, or more educated than you are!
It’s important to talk through your options with someone in person, who knows what resources (money, organizations, people, support groups, etc) are available to you. I don’t know if there are any womens’ shelters in your area, but that information is only a phone call away.
The truth is that you DO have somewhere to go, you CAN find enough money, and you DO have people to help you! It’s just a question of finding those resources. You have to do a little digging, which is a good thing. You are smart enough and brave enough to reach out in person and get the help you need.
You are a valuable, beautiful, smart woman. Take our reader’s marriage advice, and don’t let yourself stay married too long. Call a helpline, or Social Services. Find out what resources are available in your area — and come back and tell me what you learned.
For financial tips, read How to Get Money to Leave Your Husband.
Find a great man? But only after you read the last tip…
The reader mentioned finding another man to love and perhaps even marry. I wrote How to Find a Husband Who Treats You Like Gold to encourage women that there ARE good men out there, but I actually think this is not as important as the next step.
Below is the most important thing to do, even if you decide to stay married…
Get emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthy
Connect with God, yourself, the Universe, nature, animals, your soul, your SPIRIT. Find your identity, your sense of worth in something Greater than yourself! You are loved by the Creator and valued by people who know you. You are important and worthwhile.
The healthier you are physically, emotionally, and spiritually, the better able you’ll handle whatever changes are coming your way. This isn’t just marriage advice, it’s LIFE advice that will serve you well. This includes figuring out your life calling, whether it’s a career, a job, or being a mom. What are you meant to do with your life outside of being married?
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau
What do you think – are you making the mistake of staying married longer than you should?
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.