One of the questions I'm most frequently asked is, “How do you
know when it's time to quit?”
Hi. I’m Mort Fertel, author of Marriage
Fitness, and in terms of when to give up on your marriage, here's
what I recommend.
If divorcing is a consideration for you from a moral perspective, then
before you go that route, try first for at least one year.
Did you hear that?
Try for at least one year!
And I mean REALLY try. You can always call it quits. You always have
that option. But once you pull that trigger, it's over. No more chances.
Your life will never be the same. Do you have kids? If you do, their
life will never be the same.
If you end your marriage, you don't want there to be a shred of doubt
in your mind. You don't ever want to look back and wonder if things
could have been different. You don't want to ask yourself, “What
if this…and what if that…what if I tried this…what
if I did that?”
If you have to end your marriage, you want to know DEEP IN YOUR HEART
that you did everything you could to make it work.
If you have to end it, you want to be able to move on with your life
and into another relationship with a clear head. You want to come to
a place of healthy “completion.”
THIS IS CRUCIAL! And to accomplish this, in my experience, it takes
at least one year. I know it probably seems like a long time, but it's
an investment in the rest of your life.
Here's the key point. Listen carefully. It's a good investment for
the rest of your life WHETHER YOUR MARRIAGE SUCCEEDS OR NOT. Obviously,
it's a good investment if you turn your marriage around.
But if you don't, it will NOT have been a wasted year. It will have
been the most important thing you could have done with that year because
of how your effort will impact the rest of your life AND YOUR NEXT RELATIONSHIP.
I have seen too many cases of spouses ending their marriage prematurely,
and as result of not reaching “completion” in one relationship,
they find themselves in the same situation a few years later with someone
The work I do with marriage coaching clients sometimes turns out to
be more beneficial for them in their next relationship than in their
I remember once when the marriage of someone who registered for the
Lone Ranger track of the Marriage
Fitness Tele-Boot Camp ended in the middle of the program.
This man asked me if he should continue with the final 3 weeks of the
program. I said, “Absolutely.”
He responded, “Why? What's the point? My marriage is over.”
“You're not doing it for this marriage,” I explained. “You're
doing it for the benefit of your next one.”
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that your intention while you're
working on your marriage should be for the benefit of your life after
your marriage. Your intention needs to be to restore your CURRENT relationship.
But if you fail, your effort will NOT have been for naught.
Bottom line is this. If you're asking, “When is it time to call
it quits?” The answer is: one year after you think you're done.
If after one year of trying everything in your power to make your marriage
work you're still miserable, then you should consider moving on. Until
then, hang in there and don't give up.
This topic reminds me of my situation many years ago. I remember learning
late one night that my wife had an appointment with a divorce attorney
the next morning. We were hours from “done.” Who would have
ever thought that we could turn things around at that point?
NEVER too late! In fact (and here's real food for thought), very often
the turning point in a marriage is when a couple hits rock bottom. Sometimes
it's not until things couldn't get worse that they can get better.
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