Did you know two-thirds of divorces in this country are filed by women? When I was just starting out as a marriage counselor, many people told me women want therapy and will force their husbands to attend with them. In my experience, this has not been the case. As a matter of fact, many of the calls I get are from concerned husbands who want to save their marriage because their wife said she wants to end the relationship.
In most cases, divorce offers a false impression of happiness for everyone who is unhappy in their marriage but women are most vulnerable to the idea. In the book “The Divorce Remedy” by Michele Weiner Davis, she gives her opinions on why women are most frequently the ones who call it quits. She mentions that women are the ones who take a daily recollection on the status and health of their marriage. They examine the relationship to see if they feel emotionally connected and if they are spending enough time together. If they feel those things are happening, all is good and life goes on. If they feel detached or sense things are not going well, they will press their husbands for more. They will say things like “You don’t value our relationship anymore” or “You always put your work ahead of me”. Their husbands start to feel nagged and will withdraw emotionally and/or physically, which makes the wife even more unhappy.
When men become distant or possibly even hostile over this approach, women get aggravated and try other ways of getting their point across. They begin complaining about their partners’ lack of participation in every other area of their lives saying things like “I feel like a single parent” or “I have to do everything myself”. Although they are really trying to get their husband’s attention, men back away even further. This kind of interaction can go on for months, even years before a woman finally gives up and declares “I’ve tried everything. Divorce is better than this. I can’t take it anymore”. According to Davis, women don’t usually make this announcement immediately. They tell themselves they will divorce when the kids leave for college or when they finish school and can support themselves. Some even begin looking for another man to start over with and plan to leave as soon as they find him.
But here is the delicate part. Once a woman comes to this conclusion, she stops working on the marriage. She stops complaining. The man notices she isn’t complaining any more and assumes everything is better. He’s thrilled because he thinks she is happy again so he proceeds with business as usual…until the fateful “D Day” when his wife announces she wants a divorce. The husband is shocked! He thought things were better. He realizes his wife is serious about divorce so he wants to go to therapy to make things better but by then, the wife is done. She has had months or years to get emotionally prepared for leaving.
That’s the tragedy in this whole situation. By the time most men finally understand the depth of their wives’ unhappiness, most women have built a wall around themselves and cannot see any chance for change. The husbands are ready to do back flips to save the marriage but the wives are quick to dismiss any offers of reconciliation or external help.
Oh, how I love to work with couples like this! Sometimes I have to restore confidence in a disillusioned wife there really is hope. I tell them there is always time to divorce but there may not always be time to work on their marriage. Oftentimes, I tell them to let me hold the hope for their marriage for them until they can notice it themselves. I just finished working with a couple who came to see me on the brink of divorce. Last month they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows. I’ve seen too many successes to believe that a marriage is hopeless. I’m convinced too many counselors are hesitant to fight for marriages. We are all trained to help people make decisions that are good for them as individuals and if someone comes in who is miserable in their marriage, many counselors encourage them to leave. I don’t think divorce is the answer. If it were, people would stay single and be happy. Instead, they get married again and soon find they are once again disappointed and thinking about divorce. Every marriage has 4 stages: Honeymoon, Disillusionment, Misery and Joy. Most quit or stay stuck in misery without ever getting to the last stage.
If every marriage goes through these stages why not stay and fight for this marriage? The alternative is to keep cycling through relationships. Engage With Love Coaching Center in north Dallas was created with the belief in mind that all marriages are worth saving. Contact me if you want someone to help you fight for yours!