Hi Roger, How do you know when a marriage is well past saving? Are there signs? I'm asking for your opinion on this as "my friend" occasionally has a good day with her husband, but there are far more bad days and she cannot stand to be around him. Is this a "sign" or a phase?? 15 years married... sorry i promise i read the rules :) ~ Married in WV ~

Asked by Anonymous

The “too far gone to save” question doesn’t have a ‘general consensus’ answer among relationship health professionals.  The question I like to ask myself is, “can both partners in the relationship go back to seeing each other in a way that they are both okay with?”  From what I have seen, some couples can recover from the “it’s almost over” zone while others just don’t have what it takes.  Why?  Well the “easy” answer is that some couples are made up of individuals who have qualities that make them more likely to do the necessary work to get back on track.

I would guess that one person’s “point of no return” in a relationship is another’s “point where I need to do something about this.”  Perhaps your friend should ask herself, “Can I see myself doing the difficult work needed to move this marriage back to a place I’m happy with?”  She should also ask, “Can I see my spouse being willing to do that same work?”  The answer to those questions may provide some helpful insight as to what her next step will be. 

One more thing to bear in mind is that marriages are what they are because BOTH spouses contribute to the atmosphere that make them what they are.  That being said, ending the marriage doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual issues that the spouses contributed to the marital atmosphere will disappear.  I’ve always felt that the keys to any successful marriage are the ability for both spouses to adjust to their mates’ needs, the ability to respect each other, the ability to truly care about what rents space in their spouses’ heads/hearts, and the humility to put their mates first (just know that this last one MUST be mutual).