From your first crush in kindergarten to your most serious romance, relationships are full of uncertainties. I thought that once my significant other and I became legally married that somehow that piece of paper would ward off any and all challenges. But your wedding ring isn't magical and it doesn't guarantee you and your partner will always be on the same page in life. So when trouble hits (regardless of the cause), how do you know what to do if you think your marriage is worth saving but your partner isn't sure? Whether you simply suspect this from the way you two interact or if you've actually had a frank conversation about things, it's never easy when your level of commitment isn't reciprocated, or if you feel like you're at a stand-still in your relationship and not sure what to do next.
But do hard times automatically mean you have to throw in the towel if your relationship has been a bit one-sided as of late? Not necessarily. Obviously there are exceptions — for instance, abuse of any kind is never OK. As it turns out, communication plays a huge role in determining the fate of your relationship. As Susan Lager, a psychotherapist, told Psych Central, discussing issues in discernment therapy can, "help couples on the brink of divorce gain clarity and confidence about deciding on a direction for their marriage." Though this short-term form of counseling may not be for everyone, it could facilitate the kind of dialogue that's been missing at home.
If you think that the threat of a break-up is more imminent, Dr. Susan Heitler, a clinical psychologist, suggested to Psychology Today that the quickest way to find resolution is to avoid placing guilt or blame on your partner. Though you may be dealing with some very painful wounds, lashing out in anger or resentment will only deepen the cracks in the foundation of your marriage. In fact, if you and your partner can acknowledge that a successful marriage doesn't just happen randomly, you're on the right path. As Dr. Nicholas Kirsch, a couples therapist, told the American Psychology Association (APA), "marriage, like any other commitment, takes conscious effort to preserve."
You wouldn't drive a car without giving it a tune-up. So. regardless of who's behind the wheel and who's in the passenger seat, agreeing that a successful ride requires maintenance might just mean you don't have to give up on your car just yet. Of course, it doesn't keep you from having to work on making things better, but it does help lay the ground work if you and your partner decide you want to do the work involved to stay together.