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How to determine whether a marriage can be saved

Today, if you haven’t noticed, is Valentine’s Day. Whether you are the type who fully buys into the holiday is one of love and romance, or whether you are among the group of folks who thinks the day was created by greeting card and candy companies to sell boxes of chocolate, it is a day that causes many people to come to terms with the state of their relationship. Whether you are involved in a marriage that is sure to go the distance or one that is on the rocks, Valentine’s Day has some significance for most anyone in a relationship. 

The idea of divorce causes soul searching for a lot of people. The fact is that it should cause soul searching for everyone who is married. Divorce is not fun, glamorous or satisfying. Anyone that tells you otherwise is either lying or is not the type of person who you should be taking advice from. From having represented persons going through divorce cases from all walks of life, I can tell you from firsthand experience that divorce rarely gives you any satisfying moments and does not leave you in a better place. A different place, maybe, but from what I have seen you will not be better for having gone through a divorce.

The reason why people go through so much hurt in conjunction with divorce cases is that each person who files for divorce determines that the juice is worth the squeeze. Basically, the end result of the divorce will be worth the effort and hardships that went into making the divorce a reality. If you can only stomach the money spent on the attorney, the time away from your children, your job and your hobbies and all of the other unpleasant baggage that comes along with a divorce then the entire process may be worth it to you.

Today I want to reach out to those of you who stand at a fork in the road. One path will lead you towards divorce from your spouse. Unquestionably one of the most difficult decisions you will ever have to make in life is whether or not to get a divorce. With that said, you may also be able to reconcile with your spouse and put any thought of divorce behind both of you. There are no guarantees of future success in a marriage, but the ability to communicate your problems to your spouse is certainly among those concepts that can help get you and your spouse to a better place in your relationship.

The fact is that divorce is personal to you and your spouse. While you can certainly solicit advice from various people in your life, it is not possible to get specifically tailored advice from a friend, co-worker or a blog post. You need to be able to communicate your specific issues to someone who not only is willing to give you their opinion but is also willing to give you that advice from a position of experience. 

This is all is to say nothing about the impact of your divorce on your children. Just because you and/or your spouse has chosen to end your marriage does not mean that your children have that same luxury. The nature of your relationship with your kids may change significantly as a result of your divorce. It could be that your relationship with your children improves as a result of the divorce, but from my experience, this is not usually the case. On the contrary, many parents who are going through the hurt associated with divorce find themselves less capable of parenting in the short-term due to the hardships that are inherent in a divorce case. 

With all of that said, let’s turn our attention to the matter at hand. You came here to look for advice and perspective on how to approach a potential divorce. Namely, you probably want to know whether you should or should not move forward with the divorce that you are contemplating. If your spouse comes to you with a confession that he or she is thinking about a divorce, how should you react? What can you say to cause him or her to think twice about moving forward with such a significant change in lifestyle for you and your children?

How to take your marriage from one of unhappiness to one of contentment?

I will say from the outset of today's blog post that I am not a therapist. I did not go to school to become a counselor, therapist or anyone in that field of work. However, I am an attorney who has practiced in the field of family law and I have been able to witness real-life scenarios play out that involve families just like yours. For you and your spouse, marriage has not been easy. While I don't think there aremany married people who would say that marriage is easy, the marriages that are the most successful are the ones that involve two people that are willing to work with one another- often times work very hard for one another to achieve that successful relationship. 

Marriage is like putting a ring around you and your spouse. Obviously, you put a ring on each other's fingers when you get married, but I am talking about a metaphorical ring that keeps you and your spouse inside for the duration of your marriage. That idea can be great when things are going well and can be the hardest thing in the world to deal with when things are going poorly.

If you are going through a tough time in your marriage take heart that what you are experiencing over the course of a marriage can change if you and your spouse are willing to put in the work. If you all feel that your bond of marriage is loosening, that you are not as close to one another as you once were, take heart in the fact that your marriage keeps you both together hopefully long enough that you all can rediscover the bond that brought you together in the first place. It is hard to get out of a marriage- for better or worse. 

Come to an understanding of one another and you have a great shot at a successful marriage

What do you want to get out of your marriage? This is the first question that you need to ask yourself before you even approach the subject of your divorce. If you don’t know why you are married then you will have even less of an idea as to why you are married to your spouse. From there, you can decide why your spouse was the one you married. Ostensibly these are questions you should have asked yourself before getting married but if not, better late than never. 

Your married life will hopefully be a long one, full of mistakes, successes and every life experience in between. To make a decision about your spouse based off of a few occurrences that may have occurred in a relatively short amount of time is not a good way to evaluate a marriage. Rather, I would recommend that you take stock of your marriage and not only what it is today, but what it could be in the future. 

If you were going through a time of difficulty in your marriage you should consider whether your spouse is a person who is willing to work with you to improve the quality of your marriage. If he or she is not willing to do so, then that may make the decision to move forward with a divorce even easier. Likewise, if you look into your heart and realize that you are not willing to put forth the effort to improve your marriage through a change in habits or routine then that is also a sign of a marriage that is drifting towards a brick wall. 

Essentially, if you can come to an understanding of your spouse then you are much more likely to reach a decision that you and he/she love one another despite whatever differences that you facing. If you are facing problems associated with marriage then you can take solace that many successful marriages have faced similar problems and difficulties. Often times the only thing that separates divorced couples from successful marriages is this understanding and the willingness to work to overcome those problems. 

Marriages are not stagnant. Either they are improving or degrading- one or the other. People talk all the time to me about their marriage being in a rut being stuck in neutral. I'll tell them that if they were to look closer they would probably see that their marriage has actually been getting worse rather than staying the same. Marriage can improve but only if you work at it. I have yet to see a marriage get better over time when the effort is not put into it by at least one spouse- and usually both.

Marriage education courses and therapy

If you do decide to get a divorce and live in southeast Texas it is probable that you will have to go through a parenting course if you have children. This online course is one where you will be shown the basics of conflict resolution, co-parenting and the possibilities that exist in raising a child with a spouse with whom you are no longer married. Some of the advice is a bit redundant and even silly, but the idea that you can improve your skills at something (parenting) through meeting with and talking to people who have experience and perspectives that you may be lacking. 

For the most part, I believe that if you ask a group of people who had at some point in their marriage considered getting a divorce, the vast majority would tell you that they are happy that they ended up staying married to their spouse. I don’t have any hard data on this, and I have never conducted any surveys based on that question but this is something that I have observed in my years as a family law attorney. 

What about if infidelity is an issue in your marriage? Can your relationship recover?

Unfortunately, infidelity is a problem for many married couples. With social media and the internet in general in play, stepping outside of your marriage to engage in a physical and/or emotional relationship with another person is now more feasible than ever. If you or your spouse have engaged in an adulterous affair it is crucial that you be able to take inventory of your marriage to determine whether it should and can be saved.

Can you forgive your spouse for having broken the bond of trust that had existed? How well will you and your spouse be able to heal after the discovery of the affair? Finally, how will your marriage change as a result of the affair? Are you both willing to make changes to the nature of your relationship in order to see to it that the desire to step outside of your marriage does not come about again? These are all relevant questions to ask. 

Questions about marriage and family law in Texas? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material that we shared with you today, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys can schedule a free of charge consultation with you six days a week right here in our office. These consultations are a great opportunity for you to meet with a licensed family law attorney to learn more about your case, your circumstances, and our office.

Our attorneys and staff take a great deal of pride in being able to represent the families of southeast Texas in courts across our state. We hold fast to the principle that the good of the client outweighs the good to anyone else- ourselves includes. If you desire family law representation that goes beyond the basics, then the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is who you need to be working with. 

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