Problems of Marriage and Divorce

Sample E-mail Question and Answer by Pam Truit, M.A.

Divorce and Marriage ProblemsQuestion:
Dear Pam,

We've been married for eight years. We have a four year old son. However, we have been unhappy for a long time. Should I stay or go?


Problems of Marriage and DivorceAnswer:

With our current high divorce rate, marriage problems are very common. We all face times when our marriage problems are so overwhelming, divorce appears to be the only solution. In fact, divorce can become very appealing at times. With the limited information that you gave me about your marriage problems, I'll do my best to give you some ideas and some information which might keep you out of divorce court.

First, the most important thing is to understand that every marriage has marriage problems. There never was and there never will be the perfect marriage. In fact, marriage problems can be quite predictable. Interestingly enough, you mentioned that you had been married for eight years. You might be surprised to know the research has verified that there really is something to “the seven year itch.” Half of all divorces occur in the first seven years of marriage. You mentioned that you have “been unhappy for several years.” Is there any way that you might be able to pinpoint approximately when you began to view your marriage problems to be so significant that your relationship was dissatisfying for you? Many times the arrival of a first child completely destroys the easygoing, close, pleasurable relationship that you enjoyed with your spouse prior to becoming parents. It doesn't matter how happy and satisfying your marriage may have been before the birth of your son. It doesn't matter how much each one of you wanted your child. The grim reality is that the arrival of your little bundle of joy can turn your world upside down and completely change the balance of power in your marriage. Despite the phenomenal advances of women in the workplace and equality with men in general in our society, once a woman becomes a mother, you will lose an enormous amount of bargaining power. In addition, you will work harder and longer than you ever thought possible.

What other factors might be influencing your marriage? Has there been a recent major loss in your lives? The death of a parent or a close relative can be extremely traumatic. Have either one of you changed jobs, lost a job, entered the work force after being away from work for a period of time? Have you tried talking to your husband about your concerns? Unfortunately, if we only discuss our marital problems with our spouses in the heat of an argument, neither partner is capable of really hearing what the other person is trying to tell us. Usually what happens in an argument over “what's wrong with this marriage” or “why did I ever marry you anyway” is that both partners start the blame game. Although we all fall into the blaming trap, blaming never solves anything. Hope that some of these ideas might be helpful to you. My schedule is flexible, and I would be happy to exchange future e-mails or talk to you by telephone at your convenience.

Good luck.

Pam Truit, M.A.