6. Do one or both of you have contempt?
There’s more than just subjective reasoning behind contempt ranking as the number-one predictor of divorce.
Marriage researcher John Gottman has determined it to be the worst of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” when it comes to destructive communication styles in relationships. It is vile, hateful, demeaning, and seething with disrespect.
While contempt can be reversed and worked through, it is the most foreboding sign of a marriage’s demise.
Here are the reasons that you should work at saving your marriage.
1. You feel overwhelmed and stressed by work and kids.
Stress kills. It destroys the health of the body and it destroys the health of relationships.
People in the grip of stress react in ways outside their normal patterns. In an effort to concentrate and find solutions, they may withdraw, go silent, even lapse into depression. They may also become more reactive without thinking first about what they say and how they say it, stop taking care of themselves and even self-medicate.
None of these behaviors are good for a relationship, obviously. But in response to the question at hand, they don’t need to be deal-breakers.
What would your marriage look like if you had the skills to manage your stress more effectively? How would your communication look if you and your spouse could get away from the stress and focus on your marriage for a while?
2. You still respect one another.
Respect is such an integral attribute to a healthy marriage that its presence — even in the worst of times — is telling.
If you and your spouse still respect one another, you have a foundation for empathy, trust, and a willingness to work. Then your marriage is worth saving.
Compare a respectful relationship to one mired in contempt, and you will realize how much you have in your favor.
3. You have children and are good parents.
Unless your marriage is facing demons like abuse, addiction, and contempt, look at the whole picture.
Is your own unhappiness cultivated by a lack of time and attention to your relationship? Is it worth throwing in the towel if your children are happy and you and your spouse have good relationships with them? Have you taken any therapeutic steps to work on your marriage?
While there are situations more stressful on children than divorce, the breakup of a family has profound effects on children.
If nothing else, your children can be a motivation to dig deep and be honest in your examination of your marriage.
And remember, you’ll always be connected to your spouse, whether you’re parenting together or from separate homes.
4. You’re both willing to work.
Relationships work much easier and more effectively if both parties jump into it together. But even if only one person is willing to do self-work on behalf of the relationship, the relationship can survive.
Even the slightest willingness to take the first step — to reach out for help, to modify your own behavior, etc. — is a statement of hope.
A mutual willingness to work is your encouragement to hold on and do whatever’s necessary to save your marriage.
5. You enjoy one another.
If you can still smile and laugh together, the spark of your love is there. Do you enjoy a night out together, even if it’s just to a movie or a casual dinner?
If you’re avoiding one another at all costs, your marriage may have deeper issues to resolve. But if you can tap into the love and enjoyment that defined the early days of your romance, you have a lot to build on. It means your marriage is worth saving.
Answering the question, “Is my marriage worth saving?” involves more than jumping ship based on current feelings. Couples get bored with one another, life pours on stress, and energy becomes a coveted commodity.
Chances are that you have plenty of days at work when you “hate your job.” But what are the chances you just throw up your hands and quit, even when you’re not getting everything you want?
What kind of process do you go through, and how much effort do you invest to improve your situation before leaving? Isn’t your marriage worth even more than what you would give to your career?
If nothing else, picture yourself on the other side of the fence 10 years from now. Now look down at the grass you’re standing on. Chances are, it’s no greener than the grass you’re standing on right now.
So, what do you think? Is your marriage worth saving? Leave a comment below.
Originally appeared on: Your Tango
(Reprinted with permission)