This is a tough question and one which many of us ask ourselves at some time or another, mostly as a fleeting idea in a moment of frustration or despair, but it is usually dismissed almost as quickly as it arrives.
What if however, you find that thought playing more and more on your mind and the answer is more frequently no I don’t than yes?
It may be coupled with the idea “I’m not sure I love my partner any-more,” You may find yourself fantasising more frequently about life beyond marriage, or your husband or wife miraculously becoming the person dream they were.
Another common symptom of discord in your marriage are the dream to run away from it all, go settle on a desert island where no one knows you, which for most of us is no more than a dream.
So what can you do if you are asking yourself these questions?
First thing is to put to marriage to one side, leave thoughts of how you make your partner understand your unhappiness for another day and get focused on yourself.
Ask yourself – What do I want? You may think you want a divorce, but if you can take a step back you may discover it is simply better communication, more time together, more affection. If that is the case then let's look at your communication.
How do you communicate, is it easy and relaxed, you feel safe to express your need and your feelings or is their fear?
Fear of being misunderstood?
Fear of pushing your partner away, of saying the wrong thing?
What happens when you have to hold a difficult conversation? How do you feel, what are you thinking?
There are two things I share with my clients when we discuss communication:
1. The words don’t matter when you know why you are having the conversation and what you are trying to achieve, so don’t get caught up over-thinking what you are going to say.
Concentrate on why you are saying it and what you want to achieve from it.
The caveat here is, if you are hoping your partner will change his behaviour – you are on the wrong track. We can only change our behaviour and watch the ripple effect, but one mistake people make when they communicate is to hope that your words will change the mind or behaviour of another person.
They never will, not on a permanent basis and not unless your partner decides to change
2. When you have an expectation of a certain outcome it is almost as if you are inviting it. So if you start a conversation thinking, he will never understand me, then you will unconsciously try to convince him of what you are saying, which is needy. What he hears is “I need you to understand,” and can cause a defensive reaction from your partner.
The trick is to communicate to connect, so instead of “I need you to understand.”
You speak to share what you are feeling and what is going on for you, to create a connection. Without apportioning blame or having expectations of the outcome.
This is where most of my clients find the magic formula to changing their marital dynamic.
Having these conversations without expectation is incredibly powerful.
The other great technique I teach my clients is to speak truthfully and without apology. This doesn’t mean you are nasty or uncaring, this means you are respecting your own desires and you are communicating them clearly. You are showing your partner that you have self-esteem
and that you respect yourself and the relationship enough to speak up for what is important.
Don’t be tempted to apologise or to hold back on what you are feeling or thinking, trust yourself and your partner with your feelings.
This is not an overnight fix to a problem that may have taken years to create, but if you are prepared to commit to the process, put in the effort you will see a change in your relationship. It can’t remain as it was because you have changed, you have shifted something and your partner has no choice but to change.