Ending a marriage is one of the most serious decisions we can make in life. It’s hard to know when it’s time to call it quits. Deciding to divorce is a difficult, heart-wrenching process and should not be undertaken lightly. Make the choice understanding what lies ahead for you, both good and bad, and with a clear vision of the goal you have for your future life.
The decision whether to stay or leave a marriage is one only you can make. Others may try to influence you one way or another, but it’s your life and so are the consequences.
It’s important to achieve clarity when making major life decisions. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is divorce really what you want? Divorce is life changing. You want to make the decision with the certainty that you have done everything possible to make your marriage work. Take as much time as you need when considering this path. Don’t make such a major decision in the heat of an argument.
- Are your reasons valid? Have you looked at all the factors that weigh heavily in this decision; have you considered how it will affect your children, family, and friends?
- Have you looked ahead to what your post-divorce life will be like? Can you face this new situation with honesty and confidence?
- If divorce is what you really want, are you ready? There are many unpleasant consequences that go hand-in-hand with divorce. No matter how difficult the marriage, you will grieve your loss — it marks the end of your family dream. There will be a myriad of emotions during this vulnerable time. Be prepared for the hurt, disappointment, failure, loneliness, rejection, bitterness and anger. Do you have a support network of friends and family who can step in when you are at your lowest point?
- There will a change to your lifestyle and finances. The splitting of one household into two is expensive and complicated. Are you prepared to handle financial challenges? Will you be self-sustaining?
- The legal issues will need to be negotiated with careful thought, especially when children are involved. Are you ready to put the interests of your children first? To do so will be in everyone’s best interests as well.
Above all else, your answers to the above questions need to be honest. If you find emotions coloring your thoughts and actions, perhaps you should consider professional marriage counseling before choosing divorce. If you are struggling with finances and that is the biggest stress in your marriage, financial counseling may be useful. Don’t be afraid to seek help first, divorce is a big decision that will affect you for the rest of your life.
Research, plan, and prepare. If you are ready, going through an amicable divorce can start you on a positive and healthful path to your new life. Remember, how you divorce affects how hard or how easily you can rebuild your life. Make informative and sensible decisions that will put you on a steady foundation to building a happy, fulfilling future.