Some spouses feel as though they might be at crossroads in their marriage.  They typically aren't quite as happy as they might like, or they are experiencing problems within the marriage that are causing a great deal of stress.  Because of this, they wonder if it is time to just let their marriage go and move on or if they should stay and attempt to fight for it.  Many of them declare their marriage "dead." Usually, the big unknown is whether or not the marriage can be saved and, if so, if it will actually be a happy marriage or if it will be just more of the same unhappiness.  People often hesitate to stick around if there is really going to be nothing to look forward to in the end.

Someone might explain: "I feel as if there is nothing left for me in my marriage.  My husband doesn't listen to or appreciate me.  We kind of just pass each other in the hall like strangers.  There isn't any intimacy or humor anymore.   Sometimes, I think that it's time to admit that my marriage isn't working, to just let it go, and to move on with my life.  It's a dead marriage right now. But when I have these thoughts, I am torn because my husband really is a very good and loving person.  He just isn't all that good and loving to me lately.  But he is an honorable and kind man.  He hasn't done anything abusive or mean to me.  But, somehow, I just don't feel loved and appreciated and I'm no longer all that happy.  I don't light up when we are together anymore. How do you know when you should leave your failing marriage and move on or when you should stay and work it out, especially when you can't see into the future?"

Evaluating If Now Is The Time To Walk Away: These were very loaded questions.  As this wife suspected, the answers are typically based on faith or hope since no one can see what tomorrow holds.  You have to make the decision based on your own feelings, your observations from both the past and the present, and your wishes for the future.  You also have to take into account the personalities of both you and your spouse and how important your marriage is to you at this time.  In the following article, I'll provide some questions or considerations that might help to at least put things in perspective and help you evaluate the situation as you move toward making a decision.

Do You Feel That Remaining In Your Marriage Is Unhealthy For You Or Limiting For Your Future? Will You Take Your Unhappiness With You?:  Some people will ultimately choose to move on from their failing marriage because they decide that it is ultimately unhealthy for them and they don't see it changing in any meaningful way.  In other words, the marriage has become a dark cloud over one of the partners and they can't see any way out other than to end things and move on.  I would caution you, though, that many people in this state end up taking some elements of their unhappiness with them.  They often wrongly assume that their spouse and their marriage is the source of all of their problems and then they are confused when they are still unhappy long after the marriage is over.

If you find yourself in your situation, examine your life in its totality.   Because if there are any individual issues contributing to your unhappiness, they will likely still remain once your marriage is over.  And ending your marriage solely because of this can be a mistake.  With that said, many people look around and feel strongly that their partner or marriage is the sole issue that is keeping them from truly being happy.

Can You Still See Some Good In Your Marriage Or In Your Partner?:  Some of the people who contact me are very clear on the fact that their spouse is a good person.   They have no problem with their spouse's character or personality.  In fact, most of their problems lie with the state of their marriage.  In situations like this (where you can still see some positive attributes in your spouse,) it is often easier to get the marriage back on track. Because you still feel at least some affection and empathy for your partner, you are likely dealing with someone who will at least attempt to meet you halfway. (I knew that my husband was a good person but I still made many mistakes that I'd like you to avoid when trying to reconcile, more on that here.)

On the other hand, people are sometimes very resentful toward their spouses.  They feel intense dislike or even hatred.  They can no longer see the good in this person and only feel stress when they look at them.  In these situations, saving the marriage is certainly not impossible, but it is more difficult because the empathy just isn't there.  You'll have to do more work in this situation and you may need more patience, but the situation is not impossible.

Have You Begun To Rewrite Your History Or Distort Your Memories?:  Often, when people have checked out of their marriages, they sort of distort their memories and their history.  For example, if you asked a happily married couple about their first date or their wedding day, they would downplay what went wrong and they will focus on what went right.  They may forget about how it stormed or other small disasters because they are remembering the feelings at the time, even if those feelings have waned.

In contrast, people who have checked out of their marriages often don't remember or recount those good memories.  They will tell you about the storms or describe the situation as one continuous disaster.  And in their minds, they are telling the absolute truth because this is how they have come to see it.  They are distorting things in order to make ending their marriage easier.  This doesn't mean that they should leave their marriages, but it is often easier for them to do so.

So, Should I Leave My Marriage Or Not?: This is not a decision that I can make for you.  It is one that only you can make because only you know how you truly feel and what you want.  Only you know your spouse's capacity to help you reform your failing marriage to one that is thriving and will make you both happy.  I can tell you that even marriages that are perceived as horrible or dead can turn around as long as at least one person is determined to make it happen.  Some people start out having doubts but are pleasantly surprised at their progress.  Frankly, it often comes down to your level of commitment to your spouse, your underlying feelings, and your determination to make the changes that are going to give you the marriage that you want.

I'm glad that I didn't give up on my marriage, although there were times when I had my doubts.  And I know that there were days when my husband was more than ready to walk away.  But in the end, we were able to pull together and turn things around and that was positively the right thing for us.  If it helps, you can read the story of our recovery on my blog at

Author's Bio: 

There are links to more articles about saving your marriage at