Three and a half years ago my marriage was on the brink of being over. My wife, Casey, and I both knew that our problems had probably progressed past the point of no return. Once we got to the point of actually discussing divorce, it became clear that I needed to take a hard look at my life and my relationships. Ultimately, I looked at several factors that showed me that the good completely outweighed the bad, and today Casey and I are still together and happier than ever. Not all marriages and couples are the same, but here are 7 of the questions I asked myself before deciding that divorce wasn't the answer. Take a look--these could apply to your marriage, too.
How will this affect my family?
As Casey and I struggled, my daughter, Addie, was at the forefront of my mind. If Casey and I divorced nothing would be the same. Addie loved us both, and separating our family was going to do damage to her. She would have either stayed with me in Indiana or left with Casey for Utah. Either way, that would have devastated Addie.
Will my spouse and I ever be happy?
Deciding to stay in a marriage where I wasn't going to be happy wasn't going to let Casey be happy either. All of the things she struggled with before we discussed separating would still be there, and we'd be right back on the path towards divorce. But because I thought I could be happy, I believed Casey could eventually be happy too.
Am I really capable of change?
I wondered if I really could change. I had promised Casey that I would show her I loved her every day for the rest of my life. On the surface it seems like an easy task, but marriage isn't easy. If I was going to recommit to our marriage there would be no third chances. In the end I decided it was something I could do and that it was something I had to do because Casey deserved it.
Does my spouse bring me comfort?
I'm a really good sleeper. I can sleep in pretty much any location regardless of what's going on around me. But I can't fall asleep when Casey's gone. Having her in the bed with me brings me a feeling of comfort. Ending our marriage would eliminate that feeling. My world wouldn't be alright without her sleeping in the bed at night next to me.
Will I be okay without the familiarity of marriage?
Casey and I understand each other better than anyone else could. I could recognize the stages of her depression. I could recognize when she was feeling anxious. And she knew almost everything about me. We had a system down and I didn't want to lose that.
Can I afford to lose my best friend?
Casey was my best friend. There wasn't another person I wanted to spend time with more than her. When we were together, we had fun. We had our fights every now and then, but we were mostly happy while we were with each other, and I didn't want to lose my best friend.
How important are the marriage vows I took?
We had made a commitment when we got married. We had read our vows and we had received advice from the bishop who married us, but we had made our own commitment before our wedding day came and we repeated that vow as if it were the motto of our marriage. Our marriage was going to be the most important thing in our lives and that meant we had to sacrifice whatever we had to sacrifice to make it work. Giving up wasn't the right decision for us.