Here’s a little-known fact: Divorce rates tend to be seasonal. And one of the biggest seasons for divorce is at the end of summer.
Couples often cite this time for several reasons. Few people want to separate right before a big family vacation or while the kids are home for weeks on end. By September though, vacations are over, the kids are going back to school or off to college, and it still feels far enough from the holidays.
If you find yourself considering separation now that summer is behind you, here are 5 things to do before making that big decision:
Remember that marriage takes a lot of work, but the work can pay off in the end.
According to Karl Pillemer, Cornell University gerontologist and author of the book 30 Lessons for Loving, “Couples who have made it all the way later into life have found it to be a peak experience, a sublime experience to be together….But all of them also either said that marriage is hard or that it’s really, really hard.” The idea that good marriages don’t take a lot of work…is just a myth.
Take time to evaluate your marriage.
You might be able to easily rattle off a list of grievances, but have you really looked at all aspects of your relationship to see what works and what doesn’t? You can actually grab a pen and paper to do this (or better yet, work with a good therapist). Not sure where to start? Consider how you communicate, the goals you share, intimacy, supportive moments, and quality time together.
Focus on the positive.
As humans, we’re pre-wired to overemphasize the negative and ignore the positive. Take the time to really think about what you do like about your spouse. They can be general qualities or small actions, like the fact that they do a good job handling the bills or making dinner.
Counseling is a tool that’s available to all of us, and there is absolutely no shame in it. Some relationships improve with counseling; some don’t. But the effort you put into counseling – and the skills you might learn - will be worth it either way.
Ask yourself if you’ve tried everything.
The decision to end a marriage is one of the most difficult choices a person will make. Not all marriages can be saved, though many can. There are helpful tools available for people struggling in their marriage, which can be sourced from a therapist or online. At Forwardly, we have a great checklist for members, “Have You Tried Everything to Save Your Marriage”, which helps members know if they've exhausted all of their options before deciding to divorce. If you do find your marriage is coming to an end, knowing that you’ve tried everything to save it first can help with the healing process.