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November 16, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Relationships

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What is a good marriage?


I was married for 7 years to a good man, then left him after a miscarriage. I feel like I used my hurt as an excuse to leave him for another man that was younger and more "fun." We have married and have had 3 children together, but I'm finding I am missing the way my ex treated me. I'm finding our lives consist of raising our children and we never really had anything in common besides a honeymoon period. This marriage seems to be a struggle every day for many reasons. I feel that even though I would not want anyone in my life if we were to split, I feel there would be someone else that may have more to give, more respect and more in common with what I need. He is a good father but does not have the same morals in raising our girls as I do, and I have just been feeling really alone and distant.

Is there a way to fix this relationship? Am I being selfish by thinking there are better examples of good marriages and would love to have one? Should I push that all aside and just focus on our young children, no matter how I feel? Thanks.

Savannah, 39-year-old woman


Dear Savannah,

I'll start by encouraging you to speak to a professional before making any big decisions. Your marriage dilemma is a complex one and may require either individual or couples counseling, or both. Fixing a relationship requires some effort from both partners (although the effort does not necessarily have to be equal), and you can only control your end. It's also important to consider that it would be very difficult to be a single mother with 3 children and it may take some time to find another suitable partner. Hence, before considering a separation, ask yourself what new perspective or new actions you can try to revitalize your relationship. Is it communication that went stale? Is it difficulty accepting each other's personalities? Is it a power struggle? Whatever the case, your ex is gone, and your current marriage is the one requiring your full attention.

It's not selfish to want to have a fantastic marriage, but most marriages carry some degree of disappointment, partly because all couples eventually end up having some conflicting interests and partly because we all (and especially women) are bombarded with pop culture myths about relationships and the "happily ever after." Just because a marriage is not blissful does not necessarily mean that it's fundamentally flawed.

That being said, we do not need to settle for being continually unhappy. Don't push your feelings aside; instead, develop a deeper understanding of what you desire and a concrete plan of action of how you may go about getting it. What specifically do you want from your husband - what actions can you request from him that will bring you closer together? Out of these specific things you want, what can he realistically provide? What is your part in improving the atmosphere of the marriage - what can you do differently, starting right now? You may or may not choose to communicate your new insights to your husband, but either way, actions speak louder than words. If you start behaving differently, it's quite likely that he will too. At least it's a good start!

Best wishes,


Lena Washburn is a licensed marriage and family therapist from San Diego. In her private practice, she works with individuals and couples to create a more joyful and meaningful life; at home, she parents her rambunctious 4-year-old boy and writes her blog. She particularly enjoys advising about relationships, parenting, anxiety, self-esteem, career, and how to deal with difficult people.

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