I wish I had a dollar for each time a couple in my practice decide to stay together simply for pragmatic reasons- the sake of the kids, professional reasons, fear of being alone or even lack of motivation to begin divorce proceedings- and over time, things in their marriage improve to the point where there is a strong sense of relief that they narrowly averted marital disaster. I’d be independently wealthy if I had. But don’t just take my word for it.
In Maggie Gallagher’s well-respected and comprehensive book, The Case for Marriage, she highlights an interesting study that supports the idea of slowing things down when considering divorce. Couples who report that their marriages were at the bottom of the scale on marital satisfaction were asked to rate their marriages again five years later. The study found that 86% of these couples reported high marital satisfaction scores. Why the changes? They weren’t completely sure, however, it appears that hanging in there for better or for worse, not to mention for richer or poorer, can be a wait well worth its while.
So, I, for one, am all for speed bumps on the road to divorce. But make no mistake, I’m not proposing that people stay together and be miserable. I’m just convinced that troubled marriages can transform into a great ones which may just be the biggest payoff of all.