When it comes to bad relationships in married couples, some feel as if they are at their wits end. That they can’t take it anymore, whatever the specific situation may be. They feel as if they are trapped and only have one way out to a better life. This end of the road blunt solution is known as the divorce. Now some couples, before reaching this ultimatum, try to search for some possible alternative to see if they can save their marriage. Almost automatically, some would think maybe marriage counseling could be their best option.
Although counseling could quite “possibly” work, I believe that it is definitely not the best alternative. Most often than not, marriage counseling usually ends up failing and possibly make things worst. What if I said I could show you a much better alternative with a higher success rate? Well I believe that I can with explaining how taking a break is the most viable solution. But first let me explain why marriage counseling is not the best option to take.
First of all, the perspectives involved which would be the children, dad, and mom, would all probably agree to this first option. The children, usually not knowing any better, would probably assume that professional counseling is the ultimate solution considering professionals are involved in trying to fix their parents relationship. When it comes to parents views on this solution, it can go two different ways. In one scenario, both parents can agree to attempt to salvage their marriage and attend couples therapy with an open mind to see if it is possible to fix the problem.
On the other hand, you can have one parent that completely rejects the idea and figures they can fix it on their own without seeking professional help while the other is pushing to use therapy as the only means of saving their marriage. If not that, then one has already accepted the fact that they want out. So for instance, if both parents agree to work at their relationship and attend marriage counseling, then yes of course they stand a chance at salvaging what they have.
But when it comes down to one parent already wanting out but decides to just go ahead and give it a shot to show the other that not even professionals can fix what is wrong then you have a dilemma. When therapy comes down to the roots of this, it ends up doing more harm than good. Sam Margulies describes in his article a specific scenario in which this case is evident. This is a very common scenario and it can take several paths. First, Marie, the initiator of the divorce may agree to try counseling.
She has no hope of fixing the marriage and in fact wants out as quickly as possible. But she agrees to this false attempt at what Don regards as a possible reconciliation to “prove” to Don that the marriage is fatally wounded and cannot survive. She hopes that if Don sees this for himself he will be more inclined to work with her toward a cooperative divorce. She also secretly hopes that if Deon falls apart she will be able to park him with the therapist who will help him get through the process.
Sometimes things go as Marie planned and Don comes to agree with her that they would be better off divorced But sometimes the strategy backfires. Don and Marie started marriage counseling but by the third session it becomes evident to Don that Marie has no intention of trying to save the marriage. In fact, he feels deceived and believes she agreed to marriage therapy just to prove to him that the marriage is over. This, he believes is proof that Marie isn’t willing to “try” to save the marriage and he becomes angry at her for deceiving him.
In fact, he becomes angrier than he was before and begins top blame the whole divorce on her. And now, he I ready to find the “tough” lawyer to protect him from Marie. (Margulies) Essentially this scenario practically proves that in order for any type of marriage counseling to have any chance of success is only if both partners ultimately have that burning desire to repair their broken relationship. If one does not then, “… couples often emerge from this attempt angrier than when they began” (Margulies). So if couples therapy is not really the best possible solution then what is?
Well in one specific instance where counseling was attempted, an alternate solution fixed the problem. Anon states that “At the end of our year of therapy we actually broke up and were planning to go our separate ways. After a short period apart we started to reconnect… ” (Anon). Anon’s marriage has continually grown stronger after this break which leads us to the solution to divorce that has actually saved many marriages. The solution I believe to be the most useful to a damaged couple is the simple matter of taking a break or can also be known as a marriage sabbatical.
Just for each partner to take a simple breather from one another and from the life that is not working out at that moment. For the most part, the perspective of the children would most likely be a disapproval of that choice. The reason being because through personal experience, none of the children involved want to have a break from either parent. One of the consequences of a break between the two partners is that it’s also a break from the children for the partner that is being separated from the kids.
So that being said most children would not approve of that decision because they could also see it as the first step in getting divorced. Now for the parents perspectives, their can be two possible situations each with its own outcome. One is where one partner really wants to take this time apart to evaluate what needs to happen while the other greatly disapproves the idea. Usually the parent that is being deprived of their children during the duration of the break is the one that is most against this break as a solution than the partner initiating.
In this situation, the idea of break could quite possibly lead to the inevitable divorce. However on the other hand, if once again both of the parents involved are understanding and desire to try anything to fix their relationship, then a break can really open their eyes and greatly increase their chance at a successful marriage. How a period of time away from one another could work is for one, it gives each other an understanding and a visualization of life without each other if a divorce did occur.
Leon Scott Baxter states, “The reason a break can be so important is because it lets partners have time to reflect on their relationship without the distractions of the relationship itself clouding their vision. It gives them time and space to decide what they want from the relationship, from their partner and from themselves” (Baxter). Although that certain outcome is possible, it is just as possible that the time spent away from the other helped them to see that the grass is greener on the other side.
But when it comes to a marriage counseling versus a marriage sabbatical, the break wins because of the fact in counseling both partners have to be in accord with each other and both have to want to make things work. While on the other hand, if one of the partners does not want to try counseling to fix the problem and instead agrees on just taking a break, even though they have it set in their mind that they want out, it could give that person a different perspective on the issue and has a better chance at reversing the problem then that of what counseling could offer.
When it comes down to it, a marriage sabbatical has essentially saved many marriages. Anna Moore describes in an article the contents of a book written by Cheryl Jarvis in which she says that, “Jarvis’s time apart made her miss and appreciate her husband and fall in love with him all over again” (Moore). This instance goes to show that in certain instances a break between two married people struggling in a relationship could indeed fix the issue.
All in all though, the main component to save a marriage when near its end is essentially the will and determination of each partner to have the desire to continue in their relationship and make it healthy. Without that desire, then the chances of any continued marriage is drastically reduced in which case the only solution is divorce itself.
Courtney from Study Moose
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