Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

It is not uncommon for individuals to choose to remain in an unhappy marriage.

Of course, there are those who do so consciously and will admit it. At the very least, to themselves. And then there are others, who are somewhat conscious but choose denial. Those individuals recognize their unhappiness but convince themselves and others – ‘the grass is never greener,’ ‘all marriages are unhappy,’ ‘we’re too old to start over’ or ‘it’s better for the children.’

These are just a few of the marital catchphrases that justify enduring relationship misery.

It’s no secret that marriage is a complex beast.

There are the typical issues of respect, communication, balance, selflessness, and teamwork it takes to succeed in a union. And then there is the most daunting aspect, it takes ‘two’ to truly make all of the above work. Hence, why so many people end up in unhappy relationships. Both people need to ‘care enough’ to make it happy and care about each other’s happiness.
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Now here is the interesting part…

Though an unhappy relationship takes ‘two,’ it only takes ‘one’ to choose personal happiness.

Therefore, it is a choice made by ‘one’ to continue in an unhealthy or unhappy marriage. Sadly, either unaware or choosing to not recognize this fact, people will remain in bad situations.

5 Reasons People Stay in Unhappy Marriages:

1. Fear:

Fear is a strong motivator. Marriage can present an imaginary comfort zone. One that is frightening to venture outside of, especially if a couple has been together for a long time. It is natural to be afraid of the unknown. It is also logical to be scared of being alone.

However, if fear is keeping one from happiness then it is better off addressed. The longer fear is avoided the more menacing it becomes. It is in facing what scares us that we elevate our confidence, our purpose, our sense of empowerment and happiness to the next level.

2. Keeping a Family Together:

Keeping a family together is a primal instinct for parents and an honorable one. Sadly, some families are more destructive when kept together than when apart. There are many negative influences in a bad relationship. Even worse, if the relationship is deteriorating due to narcissism, addiction, etc.

The parents are the primary role model for children. Thus, keeping a marriage together for children simply illustrates how two people aren’t properly loving, respecting and caring for one another.

All too often, one person or both, believe that waiting for the children to get older is a good reason to not leave one another. It may keep the family physically in one house but it doesn’t give the wonderful example of a family that is emotionally together.

3. The Grass is Never Greener:

Yes, this is true in many aspects of life, work, and relationships. However, there are couples that are actually happily married. Not perfect mind you, but who are content and truly in love with one another. Therefore, a person convincing themselves there is no such thing as a good marriage is kidding themselves.

This is not a good reason to stay. Why? Because it elicits another idiom ‘Misery loves company.’

4. Denial:

Denial protects and at other times it inhibits. There are couples that stay together because either one or the other refuses to listen to their inner instincts, the words of a counselor or family and friends.

Unfortunately, some relationships can’t be salvaged. Again, that takes two committed, concerned, and loving persons not simply one. A person often knows down deep that they refuse to let go of the person they love and the marriage. Nonetheless, love is a compelling emotion and one that many are willing to destroy themselves for in order to hold onto.

Of course, denial also speaks to the aforementioned ‘grass is never greener.’ A marriage could just have the long-term illness of neglect and general lack of maintenance and fail. It need not have the trauma of an affair, narcissism, etc. to cause a spouse to be in denial of its terminal status.

A diagnosis of mild discontentment that is never remedied could be enough to cause the denial of unhappiness.

5. Age:

Age is an extremely powerful reason for not leaving an unhappy marriage. Of course, it is akin to the aforementioned fear.

Age can play many tricks on an unhappy spouse, leaving them questioning rather than committing.

Where will I go?
How will I get by?
Will I have enough money?
Will I ever meet another person to love?
Who will take care of me if I need it in the future?

There are not guarantees; however, there is the absolute certainty of continued, lethargic discontent in remaining in a less than satisfying marriage.

Sadly, many people endure these types of marriages and in turn, this leads to further dissatisfaction the longer they stay. It can also lead to other poor behavior, i.e., affairs, substance abuse and other negative outlets to alleviate misery. Quite the contrary, it just ultimately exaggerates it.

Unhappiness should motivate happiness.

It’s never too late to recognize every single human being deserves to be inspired by our lives, by our purpose, and most intrinsically by love.

(Photos courtesy of Pexels)
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