Know when to say when

For someone contemplating divorce, there comes a time when you have to decide when the right time is to pull the trigger and ask for a divorce. In most cases that decision does not come easily. We want to give our spouses the benefit of the doubt. We want to reassure ourselves that we are not making a mistake that we can't undo, we want to be sure, to the very best we can, that we are making the right decision.

So when is enough, enough? When is it time to say "when" and make that time now and tell your spouse you want out of the marriage? Usually a conversation is had, some amount of time passes, and then... you try again. You try therapy and you try to be nicer and you try to be more considerate and affectionate and appreciative. You try and your spouse tries and no matter how long you try- a day or a month or ten years- usually, if you had reached your breaking point, the marriage will break. There is the rare occasion when marriage counseling works, when time spent apart brings a couple together, but I would be lying if I told you that was the norm. I would be lying if I told you that once that initial decision to leave is made that can be undone. I would be lying if I gave you hope that once one partner has left the marriage that the marriage can be repaired.

But I will say that it is worth trying to repair. And I will say that therapy is worth it and a trial separation is worth it, and trying the best you can to repair the damage is worth it. It may not work in the end and you may still wind up getting divorced, but you will have tried. And there is something to be said for that. There is something to be said for taking a vow to love someone until death parts you and promising to love someone through thick and thin and meaning it and believing it and loving someone so much you want to spend your life with them. And that promise and that vow and that love deserves you trying to make it work.

And you deserve to know that you gave it all you could, even if it didn't work. You deserve to know that you tried your best to help the other person understand your side, and understand your pain, and understand your decision. And they can believe it or not. And they can blame you or blame themselves or blame their family or their job. They can blame whomever and whatever they need to blame for their sadness at a marriage that is broken. But in the end, a broken marriage should be ended. A marriage no longer based on true love and respect and honesty is not holy matrimony. A marriage no longer looked to for comfort and guidance and stability, a marriage no longer a place of safety, a marriage no longer the platform for your dreams to take flight and your groundedness to take hold, is not a marriage at all.

And we all deserve to be loved. We all deserve the chance to find the person we want to see at the end of each and every day. It will not be easy all of the time, but it will be true. We all deserve to have someone who sees the best in us, who believes in us, who is our partner in love and in life. Marriage is not perfect, life is not either, but we should all understand that a marriage failed is not a failure of our life. It is not a failure of our soul and our being to call an end to a relationship that drains us more than fulfills us. And maybe, in calling an end to a marriage that is not working, we can save ourselves, and our spouses from further pain. And maybe, in deciding that the marriage is over, we are offering ourselves and our spouses the opportunity to find the love we all want. And maybe, in asking for a divorce, we are setting ourselves and our spouses free.

This is the life.