For Better Or Worse: How Much Should You Put Up With In A Marriage?

Marriage vows often have couples promise to each other, "for better or worse, in sickness and in health..". The problem is, society is changing. Where your grandparents would stick out a marriage to someone particularly abusive, or drunk or an addict, people now know they do not have to stay in these unhealthy relationships. It begs the question, "How much should you put up with before leaving the marriage?" Here are the healthiest answers.

See a Licensed Marriage Therapist

Even if your partner refuses to go to marriage counseling with you, you should go on your own. The marriage therapist can help you spot issues in the relationship that are not going to get better unless your partner gets help, treatment and/or really wants to work on things. You will gain new perspective and insights to what your vows mean, and whether or not you should leave your spouse.

Battery, Physical Abuse and Sexual Assault

Persons who commit battery, physical abuse and sexual assault are extremely dangerous. Refusing sex when he/she demands it could result in sexual and/or physical assault. This is not a relationship in which you should remain because you could end up dead. Worse still, if you have children with this person, your children are witnessing very unhealthy interactions between two adults and they will assume that this is "normal" for relationships. Their acceptance of your abuse affects them in negative ways you cannot yet foresee. While the therapist will not tell you to leave, he or she will encourage you to examine why you stay and the dangers of making that choice.

Drugs and/or Alcohol

If you drink or do drugs with your partner, one or both of you may be contributing to the addiction behaviors of the other. This is a symbiotic/parasitic relationship that is not healthy in any shape or form. If one of you decides to get clean and sober, the other loses a partner in crime and may become abusive. Either you both enter treatment programs to become healthy partners to each other, or you will eventually find that someone leaves the relationship.

Lesser Problems

Conflicts in marriage are common. It is what happens when two people try to live together and try to work together as a unit. Fights are normal, but you may need some help understanding what is acceptable when fighting with your spouse and what is not. If these problems are truly lesser than the ones above, you may be able to put your marriage on a more functional path with fewer fights. It will take some work and a therapist, but it can happen.