Why Stay?

By David Dowling, JD, MDR

It’s a question I’ve asked friends and clients over the years.  Why stay?  What’s keeping you in the marriage?  The answers, while varied, follow certain themes.  There are so many reasons for people to stay in a difficult marriage. Children play a prominent role in couples sticking it out.  The idea that if parents can remain married until the youngest heads off to college, keeps them together.  Fear, money, culture, and religion also top the answers to why people stay married.  These forces are powerful and a challenge to overcome.  It’s never easy to put our own, self-interests ahead of our children, family, culture, and religion.  However, is it really in the best interests of a child to live in a tense and stressed home?  Living in fear is never a good idea.  At some point, we must consider what will make us happy and allow us to live a life we can be proud of, not one that others define for us.  Every marriage hits some rough times.  It’s inevitable.  The forces that keep us together can help couples become closer in times of crisis.  Having a common goal, creating a better environment for our children, tackling money problems, and embracing a common culture, can all bring couples together when it seems they’re moving apart. 

On the flip side, staying in a marriage because of our children, money problems, religion, and culture, can lead to greater unhappiness for everyone involved.  Children don’t become more stable adults because their parents remained married but fought frequently.  The result is children modeling poor communication skills and believing that no matter what, you stay in an unhappy marriage. 

Financial concerns also weigh heavily on couples when considering separating.  Making the change from one household to two can be more daunting than staying in a difficult marriage.  Today, couples are crippled with mounting school loans, credit card debt, and an underwater mortgage.  Splitting up doesn’t seem like an option, but the alternative doesn’t benefit anyone in the marriage.  With the assistance of a certified divorce financial analyst, couples might find solutions they never expected and see a way to separate. 

Whatever the reasons for staying, it’s essential that we think through all of the options and outcomes.  Seeking professional help can provide a different perspective and open new possibilities for couples contemplating divorce.  

Do you have questions regarding Orange County divorce or separation? Contact us at California Family Mediation Center at (949) 274-8210 for a FREE consultation today.         

Rachel Ragosa