A few people wrote to me, either privately or in the comments area, taking issue with yesterday’s post about reasons not to stay married. One person asked about the meaning and importance of wedding vows. Another said that divorce always damages kids.
Today’s blog is not an attempt to argue with those viewpoints. I honor and encourage different opinions on this blog. I’m glad you all shared them. Your comments help to shape a full discussion. Thank you.
But I don’t agree. I don’t think vows or kids or a sense of obligation is enough to hold two people together in marriage for the rest of their lives. In my opinion, good reasons to stay married—even if you are both currently unhappy—include:
1. You are both willing to work together to try to improve your marriage. It takes two people to create a good marriage. It only takes one to ruin one.
2. You haven’t yet tried everything possible to save your marriage. You have not gone to marital counseling, sex counseling, or individual therapy. You have not read marital improvement books or gone on couples weekends.
3. You are going through a temporary rough patch. Maybe one of you just lost a job. Perhaps one of you is grieving the loss of a loved one. You can easily pinpoint when your problems started, and you can see an end in sight.
4. You feel hopeful that your marriage can be saved. You think your marriage has potential.
5. You’ve been working on your marriage and you see some improvement. You might not be anywhere close to nirvana, but you’re certainly better than you once were.
These are all good reasons to try. They are all good reasons to muster every ounce of endurance and resilience you have. These are things that just might carry you through so that, one day, you can look back and say, “Wow I’m really glad we stuck it out because look at how far we’ve come. I’m so happy you are still in my life.”
What are your reasons for staying married?
A professional journalist, Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, a memoir of how she saved her marriage, and coauthor of Pitch Perfect, a must-read if you've ever had a sense of dread tie up your insides before a speech, presentation, or conversation. If you enjoyed this post, you will no doubt love her updates on Facebook and Twitter.