Change the status of your status quo.
What do you do when you feel like you’ve reached the breaking point in your marriage?
When you simply can’t, CAN’T have the exact same fight over and over again and every bone in your body is saying “I’m done”?
That feels strange, right? It feels like if you say “I’m done,” it would suggest that there’s no life left in your marriage, doesn’t it? But that doesn’t have to be the case.
In our new Expert video, Senior VP of YourTango Experts Melanie Gorman sat down with a panel of professional divorce coaches — Cherie Morris, Laura Bonarrigo, Sonja Stribling, and Pegotty Cooper — and asked them “What does it mean when someone declares that they’ve reached their limit with their marriage?”
Surprisingly, all four Experts argued that those declarations of “I’ve had enough” can often represent the first steps towards changing your marriage for the better.
You can watch their wide-ranging discussion in the above video, but here are 5 reasons why they believe that coming out and saying “I’m not happy” can ultimately make your marriage a whole lot stronger.
1. It shows that you’re not ready for divorce… yet.
If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re openly expressing dissatisfaction with your marriage, the good news is that you’re not divorced yet — legally or mentally. You’re firmly in the “should I” or “shouldn’t I” phase, which is healthy because it means that you’re exploring your options.
It doesn’t mean that a divorce won’t happen, but it does mean that you’re not there YET, so salvaging your relationship is still possible.
2. It means you’re open to help.
The worst attitude you can have about your marriage is apathy. If you simply don’t care about what happens to you and your spouse anymore, you may have already reached the point of no return in your marriage.
BUT if you’re willing to initiate the awkward conversations, if you’re willing to raise your hand and say “Something is wrong here, I’m not happy” — that means you’re open to the possibility of fixing things.
Maybe that means involving a psychologist or a divorce coach. Or maybe it means making more time for each other. More than anything, it just means that you recognize that your marriage needs help. And that’s an important first step.
3. It forces you to ask “How does my spouse feel?”
We tend to feel isolated during times of marital discord, but, more often than not, if you’re not satisfied with your marriage, your partner is feeling the exact same way. So, if you’ve reached a point of frustration in your relationship, you NEED to ask your partner if they’re having similar feelings.
It’s not always an easy discussion to have, but if you’re telling yourself a story about how awful your marriage has become and you’re not willing to hear your partner’s perspective, you only know half the story.
4. It makes you both leave your comfort zones.
When one person in a marriage says “I can’t do this anymore,” it completely shatters the status quo, which isn’t a bad thing. It means that both parties now have to confront head-on the elephant in the room that they’ve been trying to ignore. It forces them to respond to their new reality.
Maybe their reaction is to try harder, plan more date nights, initiate sex more often. Or maybe their response is to seek out counseling, either individually or as a couple. OR maybe they do nothing… which can be a big sign that a divorce is inevitable.
Either way, speaking up can inspire change that might improve the current state of things or move you towards ending the unsatisfactory situation entirely. (At that point, either option is better than nothing.)
5. It demonstrates the value of being prepared.
Marriages are cyclical relationships. They go through ebbs and flows. Expert Sonja Stribling argues that marriages have seasons, like a calendar year. Everything is happy in Spring and Summer, when everything is flowery and new, but, as any Game of Thrones fan can tell you, “Winter is coming.”
When your marriage is in a Winter season, things feel cold and harsh and severe. And how do we survive winter? We prepare for it. So, if you’re feeling fed up that your marriage is stuck in a Winter, you can take precautions to help you endure the cold spell.
You can seek out counseling, you can talk to each other more, you can plan trips together, you can make a concerted effort to be more present with each other when you feel the cold creeping in.
The key is realizing that seasons eventually change. But, if you don’t gather enough supplies to weather the Winter storms, your marriage might not survive it.