The bad news is it doesn’t matter how you feel. That’s also the good news! Why? Because your marriage commitment goes beyond feelings. Here’s how to know when to give up on your marriage instead of trying to make it work – these tips are inspired by a reader who asked for help deciding if she should stay or go.
If you want to save your marriage, read Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. He describes how husbands and wives communicate, and shares that unconditional respect is as powerful for husbands as unconditional love is for wives. He also reveals the power of unconditional love and unconditional respect – as well as how husbands and wives can reap the benefits of marriage.
But how do you know if your marriage will offer benefits – or if it’s worth saving? Here’s what one reader said: “I’ve been married 13 years and I keep thinking it’s time to give up on marriage. I would say my husband is a good father but he always flirts with his coworker in front of me. He doesn’t include me in conversations when we’re in public and it makes me not trust him. Nor feel close to him. When I talk to him he said I was over reacting and he wasn’t flirting and he loves me. I really feel cannot trust him. When I try to have a conversation he get angry and always with he’s cellphone and he don’t even let the kids use it. I’m very concerned I don’t know if I should give up on this relationship or keep trying to save my marriage.” – from How the Power of Love Can Save Your Marriage.
I can’t tell you if you should give up on your marriage. Only you can decide if you should keep trying, or decide to let go.
This article was inspired by a comment from one of my readers, on 7 Signs Your Marriage is Over. She says, “I found out my husband has been having lunches and dinners with another woman from his work, for almost a year. I decided to forgive him and stay in the marriage, to give him a chance to work our relationship out because I know it’s worth it. But I’ve been very physically and emotionally insecure after since. He claims he’s over her. But he doesn’t let me look at his phone, and says I’ll get paranoid if he tells me who he’s having lunches and dinners with. I don’t trust him and want to give up on this marriage. What do you think?”
You Might Give Up on Your Marriage If…
The most important sign that it’s better to give up on your marriage is your own gut feeling…and I think this reader’s gut is telling her that she can’t make it work with her husband because he isn’t meeting her halfway. She has good reason not to trust him – he’s giving her reasons not to trust him.
You and your husband have different life goals
One of my friends wants to have children – she’s 39, and feeling like it’s now or never. But, her 37 year old husband doesn’t want kids. They’ve broken up and gotten back together several times because she wants kids and he doesn’t…and they keep trying to work things out. Neither one will budge on their goals, but they love each other too much to split up.
If she doesn’t want to give up on her marriage, then she needs to make peace with never having children. It really is as simple as that. If you want to save your marriage, you need to compromise and accept your husband for who he is…because he won’t change.
You keep hoping things will get better – but they never do
On my article about how to cope when you’re unhappily married, a reader said she knows deep down that she should give up on her marriage, but she keeps hoping things will improve. Many women (and men!) stay in loveless marriages or unhealthy relationships for years or even decades, hoping things will get better.
If you’ve been unhappy for several years, then maybe it’s better to give up on your marriage.
Your husband doesn’t care about trying to work things out
Do you feel alone in your marriage? Does it seem like your husband doesn’t love or respect you – much less want to work on your marriage? Are you the only one who wants to learn how to save your marriage? That’s another common complain women have about their partners: they just don’t seem to care enough to say “I love you”, much less build a strong, healthy marriage.
If your husband doesn’t want to do his part in working things out, then you need to give up. You can’t create a healthy marriage all by yourself.
Your intuition (gut feeling) knows what’s best
Why is it crucial to listen to your gut when you’re trying to decide if you should give up or make your marriage work?
Because your gut is picking up on signs and signals that your conscious mind isn’t aware of. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking does an excellent job describing how our subconscious picks up on external cues and clues. That’s how your gut works: it picks up on things in your marriage that you’re not even aware of.
In my reader’s case, I believe she’s picking up on signals from her husband that show who he really is. I don’t think she can trust a man who cheated on her for a year. Her gut is telling her the same thing. But it’s not her insecurities that are telling her she should give up on this marriage. It’s him. Her husband is telling her he’s doesn’t want to try to make it work (he isn’t showing her his phone, and he’s accusing her of being paranoid and insecure). Sometimes you have to listen to your gut about when to give up on a marriage.
Anything good is worth fighting and working for. Marriage is good, but it requires your time, energy, discipline, and commitment. They forgot to put that in the wedding vows, didn’t they?
I welcome your comments on the “should I give up on marriage?” question. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but it may help you to share your experience.