On the Verge of an Unnecessary Divorce?

In his book, Take Back You Marriage, Dr. Bill Doherty discusses the research around divorce.  For example, are you aware that research states that forty percent of couples that have divorced regret the decision?  Now that is less than half of couples who regret their decisions, yet still many lives are disshelved due to an unnecessary divorce.  In this book, Dr. Doherty discusses that for many people, they reach a point of pain and fear in their marriage which blurs their view of your marriage and leads them to using poor judgement regarding which path to take their marriage.  He lists a number of indicators that you have reached this point.  From his book he lists this indicators as follows:

  1. You're beginning to claim that you and your spouse were really never in love, yet your friends and family say you were cray about each other when you got married.
  2. You say your spouse never pays any attention o you and never makes an effort to spend time with you, yet somehow you're busy - with work you brought home, with volunteer meetings, with dinner or a drink with friends, with helping your child with homework - every evening of the week.
  3. These days you dwell mostly on your spouse's faults and failings but if pressed to describe the type of person your spouse is, you would use terms like "fair," "dependable," "responsible," and "kind."
  4. You say your partner can't be a good spouse, but is a good parent.  You rule out the possibility that someone who can be a good parent might also be able to learn to be a good spouse.
  5. You begin your usual long litany of complaints about your marriage to your mother or friend, but for the first time the response is "Maybe you're right to think about divorce," and you find yourself speechless as well as surprised to feel a little hurt.
  6. You say you're determined to be "done with it" and get on with your life, but you've canceled appointments for an initial consultation with a divorce lawyer.
  7. You make constant declarations that you want to work things out with your husband but your once-benign fantasies about having an affair are being to take share in reality - a work colleague asks you to lunch, an e-mail correspondent turns flirtatious, or you are pleased that the guy you play tennis with is getting divorced.
  8. You say that you crave emotional connection, but when your spouse is unavailable, you watch television instead of calling your friend.  You may not be such a great emotional connector yourself.
  9. You feel as if you've tried everything and despair that anything will ever get better, even when you know your spouse is trying to change.
  10. You know you will have trouble explaining to your children, now and in the future, whey you ended the marriage.  You are not sure that ending the pain you are in now justifies the pain that they will be in later.

If any of these scenarios resonate with you, reach out to a counselor/therapist who is trained in working with marriages.  These are not the conditions in which you are ready to make a decision about divorce.   Call the Center and talk with someone who can help you sort through your decision, 701-478-4144. 


Doherty, W. J. (2013). Take back your marriage: sticking together in a world that pulls us apart. New York, NY: Guilford Press.