Falling in love is easy. Getting married can be scary and intimidating, but it is still easy. Staying married may be one of the hardest things you'll ever do, but if you learn how to stick it out, it can also be one of the most rewarding.
If it is so hard, why would someone want to stay married?
Most things worth doing are difficult. Staying married to someone and working through your issues takes the courage to look at yourself honestly and to learn skills like communication, accountability, and compromise. This is difficult, but divorce isn't the cake walk many people think it is, either.
Divorcing someone doesn't mean they are out of your life. This is especially true if children are involved. If your spouse won't listen to you now, what makes you think they'll be more inclined to do so once you're divorced? If you think getting a divorce will give you more control over how you parent your children, you're wrong. If your partner is abusive or gives you another reason to seek sole custody of your children, get out now. But if there are idealistic differences between you and your partner, these will only be magnified when you get divorced. You will have sole control over how you parent, but you'll lose all say in what happens when your children go to your spouse's house. This can become a nightmare when dealing with issues like allergies, behavior problems, and moral issues. When you have a child with someone, you are bound to them by parenthood forever. Divorcing them will not make that bond go away.
Divorce won't make your problems go away, either. Think back on the relationships you've had in your lifetime. Are there common themes? What makes you angry about your spouse? Are they controlling and irritable? Were your other partners controlling and irritable, as well? It is likely they were.
There are two paradigms at work here. The first is that we often seek out one kind of person to partner with. The second is that we bring our baggage with us when we leave a relationship. You cannot divorce yourself from your problems, and if you do divorce you're very likely to leave this marriage and choose a relationship with a new controlling, irritable person who pushes all the same buttons your current spouse does.
There is a reason for this. We subconsciously seek out the kind of person who will help us deal with our emotional baggage. We choose someone who will push our buttons. Why on earth would we do that? Pain in a marriage is a very good sign that emotional issues are being brought to the surface, and that is good news. If we are aware of our pain, it is only a small step to being aware of the reason for our pain. Turn your focus inward for a moment. What hurts? What responsibility do you have in that pain? What could you fix in yourself that would begin to relieve that pain? The only person you can control is yourself. If your partner is showing you the issues you need to work on in yourself, you can thank them for that. You cannot escape your problems by leaving a marriage, but you can use the marriage as a kind of immersion therapy that will help you work on those problems.
Marriage is rewarding. We grow and change throughout the course of a marriage. If we're lucky, our partners grow and change, too. We all grow at different rates, but when our partners begin to change for the better, it pushes us to change, as well. If you're having trouble in your marriage, it is worth your time and energy to seek out help to learn the skills you'll need to stay married. If both you and your spouse are committed to working on the marriage and on yourselves, you can get through almost anything. When you do, you'll reap the rewards of emotional health, endurance, affection, and triumph, and you'll do it together.