Two Ways A 'Functional' Divorce Can Actually Save Your Marriage

The right kind of divorce.

Last updated on Jun 08, 2024

Ways A Functional Divorce Can SAVE Your Marriage Jacob Lund | Canva

Even though you love your husband, sometimes it feels like your marriage just isn't working. Some days are good, but others are much, much worse. When you spend more time arguing than talking, getting a divorce seems like the only option. But despite the drama, you both can't bring yourselves to take that step. Now what? If you know, deep down, that your marriage is worth saving, a functional divorce is your best bet. Yup, you read that right. Before you call us crazy, Divorce Coach Dr. Karen Finn breaks it down as "You taking responsibility for leaving behind pieces of your relationship that no longer work for you and taking the initiative to create a life that does." Here's how you can get a functional divorce and work on your marriage together.


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Here are two ways a 'functional' divorce can save your marriage:

1. Make a list of the parts of your marriage that don't work

Make a list of all the things that you think are working for your marriage, as well as everything that you both think can use some improvement. Karen raises an excellent point by saying "We start by looking at roles, rules, rituals and responsibilities that are working, and those that aren't. And for those that aren't, we figure out which ones would work better and we start to take small baby steps towards those new ways of behaving."


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2. Change your behavior, individually and as a couple

Start tackling everything on that list with your partner. Keep an eye out for any changes in your dynamic. Once you've both tried all of the new rules and responsibilities, ask yourself if there are any positive or negative effects. If you can honestly say that nothing's changed about how you feel and divorce seems inevitable, that doesn't make you any less of a person. The reality is that for some couples, separating gives everyone involved (including the kids) a better chance to heal. Karen mentions that "Together, [you can] triage the situation and [..] identify how [you] want [your] life to be." Regardless of your situation, working together is the first step to repairing your relationship.

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Knowing that something is wrong in your marriage is the first step to fixing the problem. Oftentimes, a marriage can be saved, but only if both partners are willing to put the work in. That might look different for each couple, whether it be marriage counseling, or even taking a break away from each other, or just more date nights. Whatever it is, make sure that you and your spouse are communicating with each other, and both trying to save the marriage.

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Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce and life coach. Her writing on marriage, divorce, and co-parenting has appeared on MSN, Yahoo, Psych Central, Huffington Post, Prevention, and The Good Men Project, among others.