Darla was angry. She told us that her husband did not understand her and she did not feel like he ever would. She wondered if he loved her as she told us countless examples of his inattention to her needs. And when he finally asked her out on a date, it was to something that he knew she hated. She was done.
Her counselor had been supporting her right to be happy. The counselor had even shared some scriptures to justify how her husband’s inattention was scriptural justification for divorce. She was at her wit’s end.
Darla felt like they had really loved each other early in their marriage but that something had changed. She did not hear God telling her to leave him and wondered if they should do more personal work alone with individual counselors or commit to a Marriage Saving Intensive.
Perhaps you are a spouse like Darla. You wonder if you are loved anymore and you are unhappy in your marriage. Too frequently unhappy spouses are ill advised, as Darla was, to seek a divorce.
According to a study commissioned by the Institute for American Values, happiness is just as elusive as a divorced single as it is within marriage. The study included over 5,000 couples and here are some of the findings:
- 74% of divorces happened to adults that were happily married five years prior to their divorce.
- Two out of three (66%) of unhappy spouses who decided not to divorce were happily married five years later.
- Only one of five (20%) of unhappy spouses who divorced were happy in their new relationship five years later.
- Unhappily married spouses who divorce are no happier than unhappily married spouses who do not divorce.
- Unhappily married spouses who divorce and remarry someone else are not happier than unhappily married spouses that stayed married.
- Unhappily married spouses who divorced did not experience reduced depressive symptoms, increased self-esteem, or increased mastery in their lives.
- Divorce was associated with dramatic declines in happiness and psychological well-being compared to those who stayed married.
- Three out of four (75%) unhappily married spouses were married to happily married spouses.
- Staying married did not lead to domestic violence. 86% of spouses who divorced and 93% of unhappy spouses who did not divorce did not report any domestic violence. ( Read: How to Know If You Are In A Dangerous Relationship).
What this study means is that your happiness is not based solely on your relationship. Staying with your spouse and working it out leads to a happiness that you cannot get if you leave. Staying and working it out is your best hope for having the marriage relationship you want.
Darla and her husband came in the next week for a Marriage Intensive. The pain in their marriage was deeper than she had reported. And God did his miracle work in bringing healing to each of their hearts and to the relationship that day. They are still together over a year later and she reports being happily married.
How do you read the research that staying with your spouse and working it out leads to a better chance of your happiness?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.