It is not uncommon to be asked, if I ever think that some marriages just aren’t worth saving. The question comes in a variety of forms. Maybe its the idea that, some people just aren’t the right match, or, wouldn’t the kids be better off if the parents divorced rather than continued with their pattern of conflict. Some have suggested that we’re just not happy, and as such, we should go our separate ways.
The fact is, research on these ideas, suggests that saving marriages is generally best for all involved. Couples who weather hard times and stay together, tend to be more satisfied five years later than those who divorce. This is true for them as a couple and as individuals. Kids tend to function better in intact families than divorced. Part of the reason is that, often, divorced couples don’t tend to give up the patterns of conflict they had while together. So now the kids have parents who continue their conflict, except, now they fight mostly about the kids and custody, and they use the kids to manipulate, coerce and punish their exe. I would suggest that this is the worse of two evils. Some of the best research on these things can be seen at sites like smartmarriages.com and the research and reference portion of prepinc.com
All the above ways of thinking, tends to be based on an assumption that there are two choices. Continue our current pattern or go our separate ways. There is a third option, stay together and learn to deal with your problems in a better way. It takes work, usually hard work, but the results are worth it.
Back to the original question. As a general rule, I am pro marriage. I specifically got into the marriage therapy business in order to help people save and thrive in their marriages. I don’t think I’d be inclined to go to a therapist who has a truly neutral stance on the value of marriage. This isn’t to say that I make decisions for my clients. It is their decision to make. However, I am honest with them about my pro marriage stance.