Each decision to leave an unhappy marriage and divorce is personal and comes at a high cost; emotionally, mentally and financially.
We are bombarded every day with quotes, memes, and commercials encouraging us to never quit. It is branded into our brains that we must keep going, persevere and overcome. On many levels, this is sound advice and should be heeded. There are struggles, concerns and life issues that come at us on all sides, and we need the mental boost to hang in there and not give up. There are other times, however, when we need to find the courage to give ourselves permission to quit.
An unhealthy marriage is one of those times.
Arriving at the decision to file for divorce is one of the most difficult and heart-wrenching moments in one’s life. No one ever plans to divorce. We all go into our marriages with love-filled hearts and high hopes for a lifelong journey with our ‘one’. Watching the journey unravel is painful and we wrestle with ourselves, deny the truth and hold tightly to those mini-sermon quotes to never give up. This is especially true when we have children in the home. But it is sometimes those children who need us to face our reality and provide us with the best reasons to get out.
Years ago, it was almost unheard of for a woman to file for divorce. We are nurturers by nature, and there was a time when it was expected for the wife to continue to nurture her marriage and her husband even after he had proven to be unworthy of such care and concern. We have come a long way from that mindset, and yet still we struggle with being the one to make that call.
If you are unsure about what do to about your unhappy marriage, here are three reasons to quit without guilt.
1. Abuse. There is no circumstance under which you should allow yourself to be abused. Love should never hurt. And just because there is not a bruise in need of makeup does not mean the abuse did not occur. In fact, bruises fade, but emotional wounds linger and chip away at our soul. If you are married to someone who demeans you, belittles you or otherwise tears apart your spirit, you should get out. Children who grow up witnessing this behavior have trouble forming healthy, lasting relationships themselves and develop a cynical view of love. Choose to be safe.
2. Abandonment. Oftentimes when a man no longer wishes to be married, he will choose the path of least resistance and instead of filing for divorce, will just quietly stop investing in the family. They will immerse themselves in work, spend time away with friends or pursue hobbies and find any excuse to avoid being a part of your life. The added frustration is having to explain to your children why Daddy is never around. You did not sign up to be married and then live alone. Never let yourself become so dependent on another that you are unable to move on. Choose to be free.
3. Apathy. If your husband has emotionally checked out of the marriage, it may be time for you to take back the reins of your life. There are those who define the opposite of love as apathy. If you live every day with a man devoid of emotion or concern for your well-being, you owe it to your future self to get out. Life is too short and too precious to feel invisible and vulnerable. Choose to be loved.
A few words of caution. I am not suggesting that momentary bumps in the road or the occasional misunderstanding be the trigger to pull the marriage plug. I am talking consistent, damaging behaviors that are resistant to counsel or change. Impulsive decisions wreak havoc on innocent lives, but there does come a time when attempts at resolution have been exhausted. Know your limits and know your options.
I also understand some reading this have already made this difficult choice, but still have moments of doubt. That is a reasonable reaction and only proves you are thoughtful with a desire to do the right thing. Each decision to divorce is personal and comes at a high cost; emotionally, mentally and financially. For those stuck in the time warp of indecision, or looking back with a sense of doubt, please take this moment to realize your worth and sign your permission slip to quit the chaos and move towards peace.