Statistics show that the majority of people are not particularly happy in their marriage. And with the explosion in divorce rates (more than 50%) and demand for marriage counseling, it's also clear that most people want to do something about removing their marriage problems.
However, if you are having problems in your marriage, the first thing to know is whether your marriage is really the right place for you to be at all. The truth is that it very well might not. You may have changed since the two of you got together. Your spouse may have changed. You may even have gotten together in the first place for reasons that are no longer valid or workable. There is no blame or judgement here; things are the way they are and only by acknowledging that can you really move towards what is the most important thing in your life: being happy!
Coming to the right conclusion about whether or not your marriage is the right one for you may be one of the most difficult things you ever do. But it is the gateway to happiness and fulfillment in your life.
All the counseling and 'working on' your marriage in the world cannot solve your marriage problems and create a great relationship if the foundations are simply not right. Here are five questions to ask yourself that will help you decide whether your marriage really is the right one for you. It's important that when you answer these questions to be honest with yourself. After all, facing the truth is the only way to move forward.
Can I really see myself ever being truly happy in my marriage?
Maybe you are not as happy as you would like to be in your marriage, but, deep down, do you feel that you could ever be truly happy? Tap deeply into your feelings as you ask yourself this question. Do you feel a sense of disappointment or dread when you think about your marriage and your future? Do you only see problems or compromises ahead?
People in the 'right' marriage often have as many problems as anyone else. But they know at a core level that their marriage makes them feel good. This is probably the most important question to answer honestly - you will know at a deep level what that answer is.
Do my spouse and I have a similar outlook on life?
The saying that "opposites attract" has done more harm than good for relationships. The fact is that unless the two of you have similar values, beliefs and attitudes about the important things in your life, you are going to struggle to maintain a happy marriage.
Are there things I don't like about my spouse that I know will never go away?
Are there things about your partner that irritate or hurt you? Are they so fundamental to their nature that you know that you will always have to live with them? Great marriages are not those where people learn to live with things they don't like about the other person; they're marriages where deep irritations don't exist at all.
Can I talk to my spouse about anything and everything and feel that I am being listened to?
Do you feel that you have to shut down your feelings with your spouse? Are there are things that you know they will get upset by or won't approve of if you try to discuss them? Total honesty and open communication without judgement or criticism is one of the key foundations of a great relationship. If you don't have that in your marriage you're never going to feel truly fulfilled in your life.
Is my marriage moving me forward in my life or holding me back?
One of the myths about marriage is that you have to compromise. But a truly happy marriage is never about compromise. It's a place where two people can share a space of such trust, communication and understanding that they can be themselves. If you're not growing as a person you are dying and if your relationship isn't helping you to grow then it is not in your best interests (or your spouse's) to be there.
Answering these five questions truthfully for yourself is going to give you a lot of clarity on whether or not you are in the right marriage. They will help you to move forward in taking the right action. Whatever conclusion you come to, remember that your responsibility to yourself and to others is to be as happy and productive a person as you can. Your marriage exists to help you to do that. It it's not making you happy and productive it may be time to move on.