This is a question many people wrestle with. When someone reaches out to me for advice I always ask what’s brought them to this point. If infidelity, domestic violence, and/or substance abuse has found it’s way into the marriage, it’s completely understandable to want out – sometimes it’s necessary to leave sooner rather than later.
If none of those issues are a factor in your marriage, however, there’s a good chance your marriage can be salvaged. Before a divorce is finalized in Texas, the judge is going to ask if there is any possibility of reconciliation. If your answer is yes, the divorce will not be granted. The judge will send you off to try different methods to save your marriage. Knowing that, I like to go through options ahead of time that couples may want to try to incorporate before spending a lot of money on litigation. If, in the end, the marriage doesn’t survive – at the very least you can say you gave it a good try before calling it quits.
Here are some resources couples may want to attempt in an effort to save their marriage.
- Talk to your minister/spiritual advisor. Usually your spiritual advisor is a trusted individual in your life so there is a comfort level in talking to them. In many cases they may have even performed your marriage ceremony. They are often very skilled at helping couples through marital issues and will serve as a good neutral party to get advice from. There also is little to no charge if you are a member of their church which is a great added benefit.
- Marital Counseling. Some people are more comfortable talking to a stranger and this is where a certified counselor can come into play. As with any counseling, finding the “right” one for you can be hit or miss. I strongly suggest for couples to filter through qualifications in an attempt to find someone who can actually help you. In many searches you are often allowed to narrow down counselors by religious beliefs, years or practice, areas of expertise. When you talk to them you can ask for additional details – have they been through or counseled others in similar situations, how old are they, what is their philosophy to counseling. Being thorough in your search can save you from wasting time and money on counselors who may not work for you.
- Marital Boot Camp. This is one of my favorite options because a lot of couples have great success with this. In many instances, couples don’t divorce because something major happened. It’s often small things over time that chipped away at the marriage and caused the couple to “grow apart.” I often hear lack of communication, intimacy, and/or respect as reasons why couples call it quits. This is exactly what boot camps help you work on. Most boot camp programs are weekend retreats where you work on communication exercises, trust exercises, and establishing new boundaries for the marriage. These exercises are great at helping couples rebuild their marital foundation and provides a launching pad to a healthier, happier marriage.
Dissolving a marriage and breaking up a family is never an easy road to travel. If there is any hint of doubt about divorcing I strongly encourage you to use all available resources to try and save your marriage. Lawyers and divorce courts aren’t going anywhere, so let that be your last resort. There are many resources out there that can successfully aid you in keeping your family together. If your marriage can be saved, please do everything you can to save it.