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Reader Challenge: Married a Few Months and Want Out


One of my favorite romantic movies is Sleepless In Seattle. I especially enjoy the scene where bride-to-be Annie has reservations about her upcoming marriage, so she pays a visit to her brother, Dennis, a very non-emotional psychiatrist. Annie paces back-and-forth in his office and tries to make sense of her feelings. Dennis very calmly informs her that love is simply "two neuroses knowing that they are a perfect match." :)

What makes this so funny is that in some ways that is a great description of marriage: all the neurotic tendencies and annoying habits of one person are now blended with those of another.  

I thought of that conversation between Annie and Dennis after I read a very sad email from someone who got married a few months ago, but already felt the marriage wasn't working for them. In their own words, they "want out," but are conflicted about the embarrassment that such a short union will cause them.

So today I want to offer two general pieces of advice to all those who are newly married (or beginning a serious relationship).

If it's a non-moral issue, let it be a non-issue. There are naturally going to be irritations about the other person that annoy you. I've heard about couples having fights about the silliest things: how to squeeze the toothpaste, whether the toilet roll should face up or down, the "right" way to load the dishwasher, etc. 

All these little neuroses have nothing to do with someone treating you well; they just have different habits. Let these little things go because they don't matter.

If it's a moral issue, confront it immediately. If your spouse/significant other is behaving in a way that is immoral - being unfaithful, physically or emotionally abusive, has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, in other words something very serious that will impact your life together - then those moral issues need to be addressed right away.

If there is a moral issue that you discover about your spouse - whether you have been together for two months or two decades - you must confront them about it despite how uncomfortable and painful it may be.

Marriage is a very complicated institution. The only people who can know exactly what is occurring within the complexities of that union are the two individuals who are married.

Deciding when to leave a romantic relationship is a very personal, and often painful, decision. For a silly issue, work through it (example: if you two have different definitions of what a "messy" kitchen is). For a serious issue, sometimes the best choice is to leave (example: if you two have different definitions of what a "faithful" marriage is).

It's certainly understandable how someone could feel embarrassed after leaving a marriage that has only lasted a few months. But in such a situation, it's best to listen to your own heart rather than any inappropriate comments from others. Stay positive, and keep your heart open for a better and more compatible union in the future. 
By: Kristia Markarian