What is Marital Doubt?

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Many folks tend to keep their marriage doubts to themselves, and it’s not uncommon to worry about whether the relationship will endure. It can be a bit scary to think about, especially when seeking advice that might lead to unhelpful suggestions like “just listen to your inner voice” or “make a pros and cons list!”

These doubts often linger underground, sometimes for years, and they’re more prevalent than many realize. But here’s a comforting thought: about 1 in 5 married people (22%) report having doubts about their marriage’s survival, so if you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone. These doubts can occur before marriage too.

Marital doubt isn’t a constant state; it can feel like a roller coaster with ups and downs. You might feel confident about your marriage’s future, only to be thrown into doubt by certain events. This back-and-forth can be anxiety-provoking and draining.

Marital Doubt as a Private Emotion

It’s important to note that marital doubt is a private emotion, unlike other life challenges that may be openly shared. This privacy can make it challenging for doubters to seek support or navigate their emotions. Some may consider marriage counseling during this phase, but often, they hesitate to openly discuss their uncertainties, which can hinder progress.

Individual therapy is another avenue some doubters explore. While it can be a positive experience, ensuring it promotes personal growth and doesn’t become a one-sided venting session is crucial.

As doubts persist, individuals may start mentally preparing for the possibility of divorce, contemplating life as a single person. This internal preparation, while understandable, can unintentionally create distance in the marriage.

The dilemma arises when verbalizing doubts to your spouse might trigger a crisis. The fear of their reaction can lead to a cycle of uncertainty. It’s essential to recognize that the longer you prepare for divorce without communicating with your spouse, the more blindsided they may feel when you finally share your doubts.

So, how does marital doubt typically end? In some cases, the doubt fades away, replaced by the normal ups and downs of marriage. Alternatively, sharing doubts with your spouse can lead to crisis, but with the possibility of real change or even reconciliation. On the other hand, keeping doubts private and suddenly announcing a divorce can be heart-wrenching for both parties.

If you or someone you know is grappling with marital doubts, there’s hope for understanding, gaining clarity, and navigating the emotional roller coaster.