I dropped by a friend’s house the other night to drop something off. She was there alone and when I casually asked where her husband was, she said she had no idea. My quizzical look caused her to expand.
“I have no idea where he is and I really don’t care. Frankly, it’s easier when he’s not here. He just makes a mess and riles up the kids. I assume he will be home at some point tonight.”
I knew things between she and her husband were off, I just had no idea the extent to which they were living in a loveless marriage.
There are a lot of reasons that people give for staying in a loveless marriage. Most often they are related to children and/or finances. But is staying in a marriage when you have fallen out of love really the right thing to do under any circumstances? The answer to that is – it depends.
Most don’t realize when they say their “I do’s” that marriage will at some point become hard. Whether your love is strong or not, all relationships go through ups and downs. And the sweeping emotions that you feel at the beginning can change over time. It doesn’t have to mean the love is gone, but it does mean you need to make additional effort and potentially redefine what you want and need from your spouse.
For some, unfortunately, life’s circumstances and these changes can be too much and they can find themselves feeling that they are living in a loveless marriage with no viable options. Whether you stay in a marriage or leave is a very personal decision that requires a lot of soul searching and practical considerations. No one can make that decision for you, but there are some things that you should think about.
Marriage is give and take and life requires you to make changes and modify expectations. If you feel like you are living in a loveless marriage is it possible that you and your spouse need to reconsider what you want and need from each other and your relationship? Ask yourself the following questions.
- What did you love about your spouse?
- Are those qualities still there?
- What do you want from your spouse?
- What do you expect from your spouse? (yes, wants and expectations are different)
- Have you accounted for the changes in your life and how they affect what you want and expect
- What about your own behavior? Do you think you are measuring up?
Once you are satisfied with your answers to these questions consider having your spouse answer them as well. There are many times when the love isn’t really gone, it’s just buried under life. Creating a new normal and rediscovering the love can be really difficult, but not impossible. However, as I discussed with my friend, there are ways to fall in love with your husband all over again. If you can see there is hope but don’t know how to make it a reality, you might consider marriage counselling.
Living in a loveless marriage is not something that anyone wants or plans for. Sadly, the fairy tale of love everlasting is not true for many, as in the case of my friend. Deciding what is right for you is a very personal decision that no one can make but you. If you find yourself living in a loveless marriage consider very carefully what you really want and need. Ultimately your happiness is yours to control and define. Unfortunately, that does not mean the road to getting there will be easy – just worth it.