5 Hopeful Signs Your Marriage Can Survive Years Of Built-Up Hurt

Can your marriage be saved? Here is how to know....

couple kissing in the trees with their dog Megan Betteridge / shutterrstock 

Have you been married for a while? Were you deliriously happy on your wedding day but now find that that happiness is mostly absent?

Are you very sad that this is the case because the last thing in the world that you want is to get divorced?

You are not alone!

Every day, I talk to people who have been in marriages that have been damaged by the 1000 little cuts, those little daily occurrences that cause you pain but that you might write off because they aren’t big, deadly, cuts, like infidelity or fraud.


But now you are finding that those 1000 little cuts have been incredibly damaging, leaving you both hurt and not sure what is next.

So, how do you know if your marriage can survive all the hurt built up between you?

It’s the small things. Let me share.

RELATED: 7 Phrases Couples In The Strongest Relationships Use Regularly

Five clear signs your marriage can survive all your built-up hurt:

1. You still like each other.

One of the key ways to know if your marriage can survive all the hurt built up between you is whether or not you still like each other. I mean, truly like each other.


I am guessing that you are shaking your head at this one. I mean, chances are your spouse has been a dick sometime in the recent past and you may hate them because of it — I get that.

But, if you look at the big picture, do you still like your spouse? Do you like how they interact in the world? Are they good parents?

Do you respect the way that they take care of themselves? Are you proud of their accomplishments? If you weren’t married, would you be friends?

One of my clients has been miserable in her marriage for years but she knows that, deep down, she still really likes her husband. Yes, she might not like it when he comes home from work late every night, but she is also proud of all that he has accomplished in his career.


He might drive her nuts by leaving laundry all over the floor but she still enjoys looking at him walking around naked after he takes them off.

Even though she gets super angry that he is always late to events, she still feels proud to have him by her side.

I shared with her that, because she still likes her husband, it is more likely that they will be able to survive the 1000 cuts they have inflicted on each other. Why? Because ‘like’ is the basis of ‘love.’ And if the like is still there, love can follow.

So, do you like your person? If yes, then your marriage just might survive!

RELATED: 7 Reasons Women Start To Hate Their Husbands

2. You do things together.

I have a client that hates spending time with her husband. When they met, they liked to hike and go out to dinner and browse bookstores, and travel. Now, if there is an opportunity to have an adventure, big or small, she would rather do it with friends, or even alone.


As a result, she and her partner do virtually nothing together. Think about when you first met your spouse.

Did you share adventures? Did you go to dinner and a movie every Wednesday night? Was a road trip up north for the day something that you both loved? Was just having breakfast together something that made you happy?

And, as time went on, were these shared experiences a big part of why you fell in love with your person? Of course, they were.

If you and your spouse don’t spend any time together, you won’t get the chance to have shared experiences and, without those, the chances of finding the love that you once shared are very small.

For people to connect in a deep way, doing things together is very important. It’s one reason why long-distance relationships fail. It’s two people living parallel lives, having parallel experiences, and 'in-person' lives don’t cross that often.


As a result, keeping up the deep love can be difficult and the relationship ends.

So, do you and your partner still share experiences? If not and you want to save your marriage, I would suggest a road trip this weekend, or some other adventure, that might lead to getting your marriage back on track.

RELATED: 7 Signs You've Outgrown Your Relationship

3. You share the same hopes and dreams.

I remember the day that my ex-husband talked about the RV that we were going to buy one day. The one that we were going to travel the country in after he retired. I remember, vividly, thinking that we most likely weren’t going to still be married when he retired if that was his plan.


And, shockingly, we aren’t. One of the most important parts of deciding to get married is making sure that your hopes and dreams are aligned. That you both see your lives unfolding in a way that the other is on board with.

Perhaps it's raising kids in the city versus the country. Perhaps it’s a yearly trip to the Caribbean. Perhaps it's finding financial independence quickly.

It could be any kind of hope and/or dream but it is important that you share them.

After people are married for a while, those hopes and dreams can start to diverge in a big way.

Perhaps, after a few years in the city, a mom wants to raise her kids in the suburbs and her husband would rather live in hell. Perhaps the Caribbean is less attractive than a ski vacation for him, even though she still just wants to kick it on the beach. Perhaps she is no longer interested in being completely financially independent — she would rather just have him home more.


I know that, when we were talking about getting married, there wasn’t a single mention of the RV in our future!

If married couples have different hopes and dreams for the future, the chances that their marriage can survive the hurts between them are very small.

Why? Because, age aside, people in healthy relationships look towards the future with a shared vision. A shared vision of what their lives will look like down the road.

Everyone’s definition of realizing hopes and dreams is different. For some people, it is important that their partner wants to do the same things that they want to do and, if their partner doesn’t want that, then there is no path forward.


On the other hand, if a woman wants to travel after retirement and her husband wants to stay home and putter in the barn, they can still have a shared vision for the future – that they will each do what they want and always come home to each other.

What is important is that they are on the same page about what the future looks like — a future that they can work towards together.

RELATED: How To Survive All 5 Stages Of Marriage (& Figure Out Which One You're In)

4. You are both willing to talk about things.

Communication. Communication. Communication.

I can’t say it enough. It is the key to a healthy relationship and to getting an unhealthy one back on track.


So here you are, reading about whether your marriage has any chance of surviving. Good for you. My question is — will you take the information that you learn today and share it with your spouse? If you do, will they be open to hearing about it?

If the answer is no, your marriage definitely has a problem.

In order to work through the various hurts that you have done to each other, it is important that you be able to talk about them, recognize what they are, and agree to talk them through so that you can figure out how to deal with them.

Unfortunately, this is one of the hardest things for a couple whose marriage is in trouble to do.

Years of snapping at each other have made it hard for someone to feel safe bringing up an issue. Trust that your person won’t hurt you if you speak your truth has been killed off long ago. Acknowledgment that there are two people in the marriage, two people who have both made mistakes, can be a hard thing to achieve.


As a result, couples live in the same house, tiptoe around each other, scared to bring up any issues, hoping that, if they are quiet enough or patient enough, their issues will resolve themselves.

Let me tell you — without communication, those issues will not settle themselves. Without communication, the issues will continue to fester until the marriage ultimately ends.

And, don’t put off these hard conversations. I always assumed that my husband and I would have the chance to talk through our issues — maybe after the kids left — but we never did. He found someone else, someone he didn’t have issues with and left me for her.

So, can you and your person communicate about what is going on in the marriage? If yes, great! You are on your way towards maybe healing it, together.


If not, I would encourage you to get some help communicating. You need to talk to each other in a meaningful way if you want to have a chance at saving your marriage.

RELATED: 5 Uncomfortable Truths About Marriage That Are Often Misunderstood As 'Problems'

5. You both want to make things work.

I have a lot of clients who tell me that they aren’t quitters. That they aren’t going to walk away from their marriage because they don’t back down from a challenge, no matter what the consequence.


And I tell them that, if they are the only ones fighting for the relationship, holding on is an exercise in futility. One person can’t be the only one fighting for a marriage. Both people must want to do the work and potentially save things.

I have a client who told me that she is a ‘sticker'. That she stayed in a bad marriage for 12 years, in spite of how unhappy she was. She told me this with a grin, proud of herself for having done so. I asked her how that worked out — her husband was gone and she was alone at the age of 50.

So, are you and your spouse both interested in saving this marriage? Are you both willing to do the hard work that needs to happen to bring you back together?

If not, I am afraid that the chances that your marriage will ultimately survive are slim.


So, there you go – how to know if your marriage can survive all the hurt built up between you.

And now you see that it’s the little things.

To have a chance to save your marriage, it is important that you still like each other, that you enjoy each other’s company, that you have shared hope for the future, that you can discuss issues, and that you both want to fight for the relationship.

There is one thing that I believe is NOT a sign that your marriage might be able to survive all the hurt. That thing? A passionate sex life.

In my experience, many toxic relationships have excellent sex lives. Why? Because there is a lot of drama and, often, make-up sex. Of course, sex can be about connection but it can also be sex brought around by the passion of conflict. Yes, having a good sex life isn’t a bad thing but it isn’t necessarily a sign that your marriage will be ok.


So, take a good look at yourself and your spouse and see if the little things that are important are present in your marriage. If they aren’t, perhaps it’s time to see if you can find them again.


RELATED: 10 Essential Things All Couples Need To Do To Build A Strong Relationship

Mitzi Bockmann is a certified life and relationship coach. She has over 10 years of experience in helping people find happiness in life and love.