These tips for what to do when you regret getting married are inspired by a husband. He’s a nice man who rushed into a marriage because of “love at first sight.” After the wedding, the relationship changed.
In How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, Patricia Love and Steven Stosny teach couples how to get closer in ways that don’t require talking about your marriage. This book has lots of stories about couples who have turned their marriages around, plus practical advice about the behaviors that make and break marriages. It’s a great resource that might be helpful for people who regret getting married, but don’t want to get divorced.
But unfortunately, you can read all the books in the world about how to save your marriage…but if your spouse doesn’t care about the relationship or is just using you, then reading self-help books won’t be very helpful. On What to Do When You Find Out Your Wife is Cheating on You Jose said, “My case is different because I am the husband. I feel trapped in my marriage but I feel I can’t just throw her out into the streets. I am not that cruel. My wife does not speak English too well, but when we first met it was love at first sight.”
Jose goes on to say that his wife was great in the beginning but soon changed after they got married. That’s why he’s searching for what to do when you regret getting married, and why he feels trapped in his marriage. “My wife stopped loving me and only focused on her son,” he says.
“This is my stepson that I acquired through the marriage. I do everything I can to support my wife and her son. I work hard and do side jobs to bring extra income. I come home and clean the house, wash clothes, clean dishes, and restrooms. I do this just so that she can take it easy for a while but I soon learned that it was a mistake. She takes advantage of everything I do. She got a job working part time for a friend of mine and she does not appreciate what I do for her. She never communicates or tells me anything and I feel like I should not have gotten married.”
Perhaps most importantly, Jose said he feels obligated to his stepson because he doesn’t want him to feel bad or think Jose is a bad person. That is the sweetest thing! Many men would just walk out the door if they regret their marriage, especially if the children aren’t their own biological offspring.
What would you tell Jose if you were me? I welcome your encouragement and helpful tips in the comments section below. What would you do if you regretted getting married?
When You Regret Getting Married
I can’t give advice because I don’t feel right telling people what to do (although I wish Jose would’ve asked me for advice before he married a woman he didn’t know well!).
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These are the questions that occurred to me when I read his story…
How are your children affected by your marriage?
Jose said he doesn’t want to leave his wife – even though he’s unhappy – because of how his stepson will be affected. This seems like a honorable, loving thing to do…but when I think about it more, I wonder how his stepson is affected by his mom’s marriage to Jose . What is he learning about love, life, making mistakes, repairing lives, moving forward?
If you’re wondering what to do because you regret getting married, or if you’re unhappy and trapped in a loveless marriage, you may be thinking about how your children will be influenced if you leave. I’m just curious about how they’re being affected now. They can sense what’s going on – perhaps they’re even caught in the middle of your arguments and pain.
What is the cost of staying versus the cost of leaving?
Before I experienced a divorce in our family, I didn’t think leaving a marriage was a big deal. I grew up with a single mom who divorced when I was a baby. So, to me, divorce wasn’t that big a deal.
It wasn’t until someone in my husband’s family experienced a divorce that I learned how traumatic it can be. Even the friendliest of divorces are painful for everyone. So, I no longer believe couples should just divorce if they’re not happy…but I also don’t believe God intends for us to live joyless, painful, dreary lives.
This is why I can’t tell you what to do when you regret getting married. There are no easy answers. Both solutions (staying in a marriage you regret and leaving) are painful.
One way for you to resolve this dilemma is to consider the cost of staying married even though you regret it. Weigh that against the cost of leaving your marriage. I encourage you to do this “cost benefit analysis” with someone you trust. Counselors are often good people to talk to because they’re objective and experienced in helping people make difficult decisions.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
Have you read the Boundaries books?
In How to Set Boundaries in Marriage, I describe a wonderful book called Boundaries in Marriage by Drs Henry Cloud and John Townsend. I thought of this book while reading Jose’s story, because it sounds like he’s allowing his wife to take advantage of him. He feels used and alone in his marriage – of course he regrets getting married! He doesn’t have a life partner, does he?
If you regret getting married because you feel you’re being used by your spouse, read Cloud and Townsend’s books on boundaries. Learn what your role is and how you can change your responses to your spouse. You can’t change your spouse, but you can change how you react.
Have you talked about your marriage regrets?
It can be helpful to talk to a friend or family member who is supportive and wise. If you hide your regrets – or if you feel ashamed by the marriage or your spouse – your emotional burden will grow. Find someone you can talk to, who can help you figure out what to do when you regret being married.
My prayer is for healing and peace in your marriage, your home, and your life. I pray you find guidance and wisdom. May you listen carefully for God’s still soft voice in the hubbub of your thoughts and emotions. May you take time to bow your head and heart, and ask Him for strength and power to move forward in your marriage and life.
Question for you: What have I missed? I welcome your thoughts on what to do when you regret being married.
If you’re a woman who regrets getting married, you may find Did I Marry the Wrong Guy? I’m Still in Love With My Ex helpful.
I can’t offer advice for specific situations, but you may find it helpful to share your experiences of regret and resolution.