Dr. Romance writes: Should you stay in your marriage?

Marriage can be frustrating and disappointing, especially if you don't have the skills to fix it. But giving in to the frustration and leaving may turn out to be the worst thing you ever did.

Consider these reasons to stay:

1. You still love each other. Maybe you're irritated, bored, frustrated or resentful, but bottom line, you'd be sad to lose your partner. Don't give up. What's wrong can probably be fixed. If you haven't calmly told the truth about how you're feeling, and it only comes out when you fight, then you haven't created a chance to fix things and restore your loving feelings.

2. You have children. Divorce is devastating for kids, and it's not right as a parent to put your happiness above theirs. In any case, doing what it takes to repair the marriage will make everyone, including you, a lot happier than the failure of divorce. Leaving is only a good idea if your marriage is abusive. That's more damaging to kids than divorce.

3. Your complaints are petty and juvenile. If you're mad because you're not getting enough attention or there's no romance, or someone else looks better to you than your partner, you're probably not being realistic or doing your part to fix things. Don't be a baby. Grownups don't keep complaining, whining and nagging – they figure out how to fix things.

4. You haven't tried counseling, or you haven't put a real effort into it. You may need to try a couple of counselors before you find one you can work with. Look for a counselor who is demanding, who expects you to change what you're doing. It will be the best investment you ever made in your marriage and your own happiness.

"Guidelines for Finding and Using Therapy Wisely" will help you find a therapist if you can't discuss this productively between you.

How to Be Happy Partners: Working it out Together shows you new ways to work through problems and bring the happiness back to your relationship.

Happy Partners cover

For low-cost counseling, email me at tina@tinatessina.com

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.