Almost every couple who comes to Marriage Quest for a couples retreat is considering divorce, either one or both spouses has a foot out the door, questioning if they are compatible or not. Some have even filed divorce papers and now are questioning their decision. Exploring the divorce decision is called “Discernment Counseling.” The far majority of couples we work with choose to stay together and learn how to move forward toward a positive future together. For couples who come to believe that too much damage has been done or they cannot overcome their incompatibility, we offer a path to lovingly detangle their lives and create a plan for them that will help them and their children to be happier and healthier.
What Are Common Red Flags In A Marriage?
In a healthy marriage, spouses go out of their way to make the other person feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, many couples do not do this. They make each other feel worse. Signs that your marriage could be in trouble are:
- One or both partners being other centered (i.e. focused on work, kids, friends, etc) instead of couple centered
- Conversations feel punitive. Lots of negativity. Feeling judged. “I can’t do anything right”
- Silence or withholding what you really feel as not to hurt the other person or to avoid a fight
- Lying about important things
- Not prioritizing the relationship and avoiding time alone together
- Frequent fighting most of the days during a week
- Avoiding sex with each other
- Complaining to friends, family, or coworkers about your spouse’s shortcomings
While the red flags above are a significant sign of relationship distress, our job at Marriage Quest is to help you understand the root cause of these issues and make effective changes in your relationship so that you can either repair or lovingly decide to separate and move on.
Can Couples Counseling Save A Marriage?
Yes. Part of our marriage retreat is a period of time listening to each partner describe what they have in mind. This may well be the first time they have ever, in each other’s presence, explained how they feel about their marriage and about each other and what their goals are. Also common are couples who are so confused about what they want; our goal is to help them find clarity.
Sometimes Considering Divorce Creates Reconnection
It is worth noting that even after exploring separation or divorce, and often because of that exploration in detail, it is more than possible that the couple reaches a critical mass and they reverse their decision. Many couples find peace with their past and now can move forward together with their new found skills and understanding.
Your Marriage Is Our Client
Unlike conventional therapy we treat your marriage as our primary client. If there are children involved, they too are part of the family system and become part of our consideration. Although the couple, or more commonly one spouse, may have already decided he or she wants a divorce we are always aware that people can change their minds, and this period of introspection leaves the opportunity for change. Unlike other programs, we advocate for marriage but not at any price. When divorce is clearly the couple’s choice, or when the discussion leads them to that decision, our attention then moves to preparation for divorce.
I'm Worried We're No Longer Compatible
Many couples who are considering divorce are questioning their compatibility and have either never sought professional support or have experienced marriage counseling in the past that actually made their situation worse. The truth is that most couples really are compatible, but they have never been taught how to be in a longterm romantic relationship. A Marriage Quest Retreat can help you improve communication, repair from past hurts, and finally make a decision about the future of your relationship.
Many People Regret Getting Divorced
About 40% of couples report regretting getting divorced, and that number increases to 80% if the separation was due to an affair. This is often because with time comes clarity, and people start to recognize possible ways they could have saved their marriage while at the same time experiencing delayed empathy or perspective for the situation and their partner. It really does take two to make a marriage work. It also takes two people to break a marriage. Spouses that did not see their role in the dis-ease of their marriage, now see their part in the breakdown and leave with a new empowered perspective.
Second & Third Marriage Have Higher Divorce Rates
A healthy marriage takes skill, and most people are never taught those tools. Without the right intervention and education, you are very likely to repeat similar mistakes in a future relationship. People who learn what they contributed to the conflict in the marriage are more likely to be successful in future intimate relationships. Additionally, people who marry their affair partner often quickly realize that it was not the relationship they hoped it would be. It’s impossible to compare affair sex to married sex, and a cheap meal can taste delicious when you’re really hungry. It doesn’t mean it’s a quality meal. History has a way of repeating itself. Untreated, people go back to doing what they’ve always done. When marriage is done right you get to heal your childhood wounds through the marital relationship. It is sad to think how many couples discard their marriage for a new “improved” one. Maybe the marriage isn’t the problem, but how you “do” relationship is.
The Reality of Divorce
Divorce changes a couple’s lifestyle, their roles, their friendship circles, and it changes the meaning of the world. When couples have tried all they could do to save a marriage and “failed,” the losses they experience can be overwhelming, however the changes can be relieving. It is a time of significant stress for all family members emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually. For couples who believe they have done everything they can do to save the marriage to no avail and are going to consider divorce, the major goal is to desensitize you and your partner to the idea of divorce and stimulate personal growth by preparing each of you for your new role as a single or separated person. It is important to learn creative problem solving regarding the many changes that occur in lifestyles after separation, such as raising children in two single-parent households, loss of social support from friends, and loss of emotional support from the former spouse. Divorce can be respectful and help both partners continue to grow and thrive when it is handled appropriately. This can be a complicated process.
How To Prevent A Divorce
The initial decision to consider divorce is often rooted in strong emotions. You probably feel hurt, betrayed, untrusting, or just generally defeated and hopeless. Many couples enter marriage at a time of strong connection and hope, but various stressors in life start to pull the couples away from each other and cause conflict. Some couples enter at the pinnacle of con
Preventing a divorce requires active effort and understanding how your partner wants to be cared for while also expressing your needs clearly and respectfully. It’s normal to have ups and downs in a marriage, and in fact the negative experiences can bring a couples closer together when handled in the right way.
What is a Trial Separation?
A trial separation might happen when a couple is in the process of considering a divorce but are not positive that it is the right decision. This often happens when there are children involved. Some people go to an attorney to make it a legal separation so there is no issue of “abandonment” with the person leaving the marital home. Often, but not always, the trail separation leads to a new beginning for the couple.
What Should I Consider Before Filing For a Divorce?
Are the issues that you and your partner are dealing with a test that something needs to change or a sign that you are not compatible. Many couples go through rough patches. While that is normal it still is useful to get good help before making the decision to get divorced. Some children will say that their parents should have divorced long ago and not “stayed for the sake of the children.” Other children will say, “Why didn’t you get some help?” Many marriages can be flipped around, especially if there was a strong attraction in the very beginning of the relationship.
Get Good Help If You Are Considering a Divorce
Everyone understands that if you have a toothache you shouldn’t go to a heart surgeon for guidance. In the field of counseling, coaching, and therapy the clinician can work with all kinds of situations without specific training and expertise. Marriage counseling is different from individual therapy, and doing marriage counseling is far from popular amongst therapists. They might do it, but not necessarily like it nor have proper training in it. We are specialists in doing couples retreats and are very good at it.
Miracles Can Happen
We have witnessed more than once or twice a couple who have worked through their plans to separate, or even divorce, only to change their minds days, weeks, or even months later and rekindle their marriage. Truth is we have helped couples reunite their marriage years after they divorced. Relationships are complicated and that is what we are best at.
Sex And Aging
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want to tell your spouse that you are considering a divorce, share what you want or wanted in your marriage. Don’t complain about everything that is annoying you about them. Share your own thoughts and feelings in a more positive and useful manner. Perhaps something like, “Honey, I love you, but I have not been happy for a long time. I want thing to be better here or I might look to get a divorce.”
About 40% of couples report regretting getting divorced, and that number increases to 80% if the separation was due to an affair. This is often because with time comes clarity, and people start to recognize possible ways they could have saved their marriage while at the same time experiencing delayed empathy or perspective for the situation and their partner.
Consider A Marriage Counseling Retreat
While navigating the complex world of separation and divorce versus staying together, you want a clinician who has done it many times before with success. If you are concerned about red flags in your marriage and considering divorce, we are here to help. Marriage Quest is an intensive counseling retreat designed to aid couples in making healthy decisions during troubling times.
I'm Ready For Help
Please contact us today to either book your retreat ASAP or schedule a free phone consultation to learn more about our programs.