We live in a culture where time for most of us is in short supply. Between work, home, children, activities, community, church and friends, we do not take the time to deal with difficulties at home. There is no room in most of our lives to handle a family or marital crisis, as the demands of our day usually leave us emotionally spent or too tired to care. However, the unfortunate truth is that our demanding schedules are oftentimes the source of marital stressors, and left unattended, these stressors will slowly fester under the surface, ultimately making them impossible to ignore.
Usually when the reality of a painful truth is realized, a person will respond in one of two ways. Either the person will be completely consumed by the problem or, alternatively, completely ignore the situation and immerse himself or herself in something less painful. Neither scenario is an appropriate response when faced with marital difficulties. Being consumed by the problem will result in a severe imbalance in all other areas of your life, and immersing yourself in something less painful is no more effective than putting a Band-Aid on a gun shot wound.
The first operating premise regarding time is that you should take it, as acting on impulse will only add to your difficulties. Unless there is a clear and imminent threat, you should take heed not to make rash decisions about your marital status. Initiating a divorce action should be a well thought out decision and should be your last resort. Attempt to understand and resolve your marital difficulties before moving forward with a divorce. Be respectful of the time and effort you and your spouse have put into your marriage, and be sure before you walk out, that your relationship is irreparable.
As with your conduct, govern your time, keeping in mind the following:
- Arrange your extracurricular life so that you do not run from your marital problems, but rather, make a serious effort to address them.
- Set aside periods of time for self-reflection.
- Simplify your life as much as possible so that you can be available for counseling with your spouse.
- Do not start major projects that would distract, such as renovating your home or taking on additional outside commitments.
- Do not neglect the ongoing and additional needs of your children.
- Understand that communication in a relationship is a full-time 24-hour-a-day job that requires great effort.
- Consider using public places as a location for you and your spouse to discuss your relationship.
- Do not compare your situation with others you know who have gone through a divorce. Each situation is unique.
- Understand the realties and implications of divorce.
- Do not consider divorce to be a quick fix for marital difficulties, as a divorce action can be lengthy and have lasting consequences.