2 wedding rings on opposite sides of a crumpled and torn piece of paper saying marriage.

How To Know When It’s Time To Stop Fighting For Your Marriage

For better or for worse, until death do us part. Whenever you begin to wonder if you should stop fighting for your marriage, this is what your inner voice says to you.

After all, these were the commitments made when you walked down the aisle, said your vows, and signed the marriage certificate. You promised to fight for your marriage, to support your partner no matter the circumstances, and to love them unconditionally for a lifetime. But life’s not easy. Love’s not easy, and sometimes you feel like just giving up.

But how do you know when to stop fighting for your marriage?

How do you know when enough is enough? When it is time to finally give in and call it quits?

Well, the truth is, there is no easy answer.

(Unless you are the victim of domestic abuse — physical, emotional, sexual, or financial— please take the proper steps to get help and find local resources.)

Marriages can be difficult. There are good days and bad. Ups and downs, rights and wrongs. There are moments you will never forget and moments you will want to forget.

There can be days, or months, or years when you drift apart. And there will be times when you’ve never been closer.

All marriages take work. They are a constant choice for both parties. You don’t just wake up every morning for 50 years happy and in love. You have to put in the work.

When you fight for your marriage, it takes grit. It takes hard work, communication, and perseverance. Just like anything you want to excel at, it takes commitment. For better or for worse, until death do us part.

No one ever said marriage was going to be easy. You might love your partner more than anything, and they might love you right back, but that does not simplify the road ahead. It does, however, make it worth it.

When you have someone you love deeply, and that person loves you back, you should fight for your marriage.

Finding a partner you love and who returns that love is an accomplishment. Some go through their entire life not understanding what it feels like to be loved and to love. It is exceptional and should be treasured. But that does not mean it will survive life.

Life is full of tremendous ups and downs, and sometimes love doesn’t survive. It could be the loss of a child, the inability to have a child, the loss of a parent, substance abuse issues, abandonment, lust, or a multitude of other things that life will put in your way.

You can’t stop fighting for your marriage because life gets in the way.

Life will always be full of trials. As a partner, you have to choose love. You have to choose your marriage. And you have to communicate your needs.

Are you getting enough one on one time with your spouse?

Do they help around the house?

What is standing in your way mentally, physically or emotionally from being fully in your marriage?

Where are you seeing your bond broken? And how can your partner better show their love for you, or support you more?

How to know if it’s time to stop fighting for your marriage is the most challenging question of all, and it’s not easily answered. There is no definitive way to tell – no simple “if you mark these boxes, it’s over.” On the other hand, many marriages on the brink of divorce, or even walking through a divorce, are miraculously saved.

There is always an opportunity to save your marriage – if you are willing to work for it.

So, how do you know when it’s time to stop fighting and call it quits?

Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if your marriage still has a chance.

Is there still a part of you that loves your partner?

Loving your partner is the foundation of success for your marriage. Even though it can be hard to recognize at times because you’ve grown apart. However, if the love is still there, then your marriage has a chance. Remember, love doesn’t always mean you get butterflies together. The love we often see in the movies is rarely the persistent reality of love.

Love can look different depending on the people involved. So, you may need to dig deep to recognize – and maybe remember – what love means to you. What are the things that made you fall in love with your partner? Are they still there? What is making you second guess your marriage?

Does your partner still love you?

This is a big one. Sometimes our partners fall out of love with us. On the continuum of love, where do you believe your partner is? Are they willing to work on things? Have you explained what you need from them, and are they willing to try? Do they want to support your goals and dreams?

Have you talked openly about your feelings with them?

You can’t stop fighting for your marriage without truly giving your partner a chance to fully understand your needs. If your partner loves you and desires to work on things, then now is not the time to give up.

Has there been infidelity in the marriage?

If there has been, you both must do the work to analyze why infidelity occurred if you want true healing. Grasping at “reasons” or leaving it unexplored does not do either of you any good. Instead, it will leave you with unhealed wounds and new trauma, and it can lead to it happening again.

So if there has been infidelity, it doesn’t mean to stop fighting for your marriage. It just means you have to work hard and be willing to forgive. Neither of those is easy, but both are so worth the effort.

What has led you to consider stopping the fight for your marriage?

Sometimes when we have kids and get stuck in the day-to-day rut, we realize how hard marriage is. Maintaining a career, raising a child, and having time for yourself and your partner can be overwhelming. It can be challenging to see a way out when we allow this to go on for weeks, months, and even years. You may think it is too far gone to save, but have you tried?

Writing down why you are unhappy can help you better understand what will help you be happy. So, whether it’s staying and trying to resolve your marriage struggles or parting ways and moving forward separately, having clarity will help you move forward.

To stop fighting for your marriage, you must know you did everything you possibly could.

Walking away from a marriage is far from easy. It’s even harder when you are not confident you did everything in your power to make it successful. If you do choose to stop fighting for your marriage, you must walk away knowing you gave it your all. You must understand that the love that was once there simply isn’t there any longer.

It is only when you genuinely and wholeheartedly invest every ounce of time and resources possible to save your marriage, and both of you are deeply unhappy that you can walk away from your marriage without the potential of regret. And sometimes, even during that time apart, you may realize what your partner truly means to you, and you may find your way back.

Mary Ellen Goggin offers relationship coaching for individuals and collaborates with her partner Dr. Jerry Duberstein to offer private couples retreats. To learn more about working with Mary Ellen, schedule a ½ hour complimentary consultation.

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Mary Ellen Goggin

Mary Ellen is a highly skilled and intuitive relationship guide. She brings over 35 years’ experience with individuals and businesses as a lawyer, mediator, personal coach and educator. She received her J.D. at University of New Hampshire Law School and a Master’s Degree at Harvard University. Mary Ellen co-authored Relationship Transformation: How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too with Jerry Duberstein — and they were married by chapter 3. Mary Ellen brings a unique blend of problem-solving, practicality, and warmth to her work. She’s a highly analytic person, with geeky and monkish tendencies. She’s a daredevil skydiver, a voracious seeker of knowledge, and an indulgent grandmother. Her revolution: helping people become the unapologetic rulers of their inner + outer realms. Read more about the retreats