Episode 4: How Do You Know When Your Marriage Is Over?

by | Last updated: Aug 28, 2023 | Podcast

In times of desperation, it’s something we ask everyone around us – friends, family, even the internet… “Is my marriage over?”

Unfortunately, as you may have found, getting outside opinions on your marriage will never lead to your own answer. In this episode, I’ll share the one path that will consistently bring you to a place of clarity so you can determine whether it’s time to reinvest in your marriage or lovingly leave it.

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • The one path that will consistently help you find clarity about your marriage
  • Why asking friends, family, and the internet won’t lead you to your answer
  • What to do if your spouse wants to give up on the marriage, but you don’t

Featured On The Show:

Can’t decide how to move forward in your marriage? Grab a copy of my bestselling book, Stay Or Go.

Want even more tools to navigate a disconnected marriage? Join me on social media: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | YouTube

If you have a suggestion for a future episode or a question you’d like me to answer on the show, email us.

If you’re questioning whether you can recover the feelings you’ve lost for your spouse, and you’re serious about putting an end to feeling stuck, lost, and alone… I’ve written a book just for you.

It’s called Stay Or Go: How To Find Confidence And Clarity So You Can Fix Your Marriage, Or Move Forward Without Regret. The approach I share in this bestselling book has already worked for thousands of women struggling in lonely, disconnected marriages, and I’m confident that it will work for you, too. If you don’t want to spend another day stuck in indecision, get your copy below.

“Welcome to The Loving Truth podcast, where it's all about finding clarity, confidence, and peace in the face of marriage challenges. And now, your host relationship expert and certified master life coach: Sharon Pope.

“Hello, loves. This is Sharon Pope, and this is The Loving Truth. Today we're gonna be talking about how do you know when your marriage is over?

“Now, I'm gonna say this - this is such an intensely personal decision that there are no three quick steps to knowing when your marriage is over, right? I know we love all those little quizzes and all that kind of stuff. You know, this is your marriage, this is another human being. It's a living, breathing relationship. So we've gotta go a little deeper than just the three quick steps, right?

“So that's not what you're gonna get here today, but what I can tell you is that you will be able to understand there's one path that consistently will bring you to a place of clarity so that you can understand whether the answer is to end the marriage or to dig in and reinvest in the marriage, and that there's still something really worthwhile and meaningful there for you.

“So I told you that this was a really personal decision. I mean, everyone has different points of things that they would do or that would help them make a decision. So, for instance, I'm thinking of a client right now where her husband cheated on her and was dishonest with her over and over again. Now, a lot of people can stand back and look at that and go, ‘Oh, if that ever happened to me, I'd leave.’ Except that's not really true. It's easy to say when you're not the one in it. But to be honest, most marriages (I think the number is around 60%) that experience infidelity actually end up remaining together, right?

“So there are those situations, and then there are situations where I'm thinking of a client where her husband was, as she described it, a good, kind, good-looking, talented, smart man. And yet she knew she couldn't have the kind of relationship that she ultimately wanted with him, right? And so that was her decision point, and ended up leaving that marriage, which is very similar to my story, as you probably know by now.

“So there are a couple things that I wanna share with you. The first is, when we are asking the question (this question gets asked all the time) ‘how do I know when my marriage is over?’ if you go Googling it, it will automatically populate for you because it's asked that often. But that's the reality, right? That's one of the issues, is that we're asking Google, ‘How do I know when my marriage is over?’ We're asking Siri, we're asking Google. We're asking family and friends and people that we love and confide in. Here's what I want you to know about that though, is that other people, while they love you, and they're very well-intentioned, they can't give you your answer. They can tell you what they think they would do if they were in your shoes, but they're not in your shoes, right? And even the woman who would say, ‘Well, if that ever happened to me, I'd leave him in a heartbeat.’

“But then that doesn't ultimately end up being the case the majority of the time, right? So sometimes we'll say we'll do something in a certain way, but when it happens to us, it's a whole different deal, right? And when someone is giving you their perspective or their opinion, they cannot give it to you, cannot, will not give you an opinion or perspective that is not filled with their fears, their experiences. We just tell each other our stories, right? So I can't give you your answer. Like, let's say my best friend comes to me and says, ‘Hey, I'm thinking about ending my marriage. Here are all the things that are wrong with it, blah, blah, blah.’ I can't give her a clean answer that doesn't have my experiences and my own fears weaved throughout that, right?

“So there's no way to just filter out our stuff when we're telling someone else what we think they should do. And it's the same way with your family and friends and all the ways that we look outside of ourselves for answers. The only way you can come to this answer is to go within. That means to quiet the noise, not to invite more noise in, not to go polling everyone and asking everyone what they think, but to go within yourself and get still and quiet enough so that you can hear some of that inner wisdom. That doesn't happen in one day, right? That is a practice. But the reason why, if you're in indecision and you're asking the question ‘How do I know when my marriage is over?” [is that] it means that you need more information, but that information is because you need to know what your answer is - not my answer for your life, not your mother's answer for your life, not your best friend's answer for your life. You'll be able to move forward either way, whether to stay or to go, once you have your answer for your life. Okay?

“So no more polling, no more asking everyone what they think. You gotta focus here on what you think. Now, when one person no longer wants to be in the relationship, the relationship in fact falls apart. Think about it like this. There's you and there's your partner, and the marriage is what the two of you create together. But the minute one of you says, ‘I don't want to do this anymore,’ the relationship itself falls apart. Okay? So that's the reality of relationships. Like we had to both agree to come together and we have to agree to remain in it. But as soon as someone opts out and says, ‘I'm no longer willing to remain in it,’ now everything falls apart, right? Had your husband proposed to you and you said, ‘no,’ the marriage wouldn't have happened.

“Now you don't have to agree to walk through divorce. It's actually the opposite. As soon as one person says, ‘I'm no longer willing to do this,’ well, now the relationship is over. It's why - you know the ways in which we put our marriage on a shelf, and when one of us is really disgruntled and struggling in the marriage - you know, if we were still dating, we would show up differently because we know it's not a done deal, but because we say the words ‘till death do us part,’ [and] it's sort of like prison. Like you're locked in, and so you're not gonna leave. So I guess I don't have to keep trying, right? That's all the dysfunction that comes with the ways in which we think about marriage and the ways in which we are not equipped to do it well, okay?

“So I digress a little bit there. Now, once you no longer want to try, that's when the relationship crumbles. And if you are on the receiving end of that - cuz I work with a lot of women where they're trying to make the decision, but sometimes I work with people where their spouses come to them and said, ‘I no longer want to be in it,’ and they're on the receiving end of that. And they're like, ‘How can I change her mind?’ or ‘How can I change his mind?’ Look, all you can do in that situation is to show up as the person that you wanna be; be the wife or the mother and the woman that you wanna be, be the husband, the father, and the man that you wanna be.

“Right? And that's going to mean that you're going to have to grow more, and your partner's gonna make a decision about that one way or the other, and you can't control it. But what I will offer is, do you really wanna be with someone if you have to convince them or cajole them, or beg them to be in relationship with you, right?

“Show up as the person that you want to be. Get equipped with some relationship tools, for sure. But know that we don't have any control. This is the nature of relationships, is that even though we try to put control around it in our wedding vows, there is no guarantee. We love to try to think it's permanent and it's forever no matter what. But is it really? Because look at the divorce rates around us. Most marriages do not remain together. So we can put whatever flowery words we want around it, but ultimately we both have to be in agreement to remain in it.

“Now, the last thing, and I did promise this at the beginning, which was, ‘What's the one path that you can take that will get you to a very clear decision?’ And that my friends, is how do I know when I've really tried, like when I've really given it my very best? Because here's what I can tell you - when you get equipped with relationship tools, with real relationship tools, not just like the way we come into marriage today, which all we learned was what we saw growing up at home; and some of them were great examples, some of them weren't great examples, but even those that were great examples, today's day and age and today's marriage is very, very different than our parents' generation of marriages. So get equipped with real relationship tools, then dive in and give it your very best shot.

“And if you give it your very best and the relationship cannot evolve to a new version, then you do have an answer that you can make peace with. So I would say that is the most direct path towards real clarity for yourself. But it's not just, ‘Oh, I've tried my best with no tools, no training, except what we saw at home.’ Like I always say, you know, you can't be anything and be successful at it without some tools in training. Like I can't be a great chef without some tools in training, some practice, some mentorship, some great ingredients. You can't be a great writer or a coach without some tools in training. You certainly can't be an accountant, a doctor, or a lawyer without some tools in training, right? But we expect to be a success. Successful, easy for me to say.

“We expect to be successful inside of our marriages with no tools and training, and we come into it with just love and hope and some vows, right? This is where I say we gotta do better and we need to start equipping people with these relationship tools. And so that's a lot of what I wanna share with you through these podcasts.

“All right. I hope that that was helpful for you. I know it's not a definitive answer to these three things, and then you know, your marriage is over. But I hope that I've given you something to really think about and consider because my hunch is that the way in which you're seeking the answers is part of the issue in terms of why you still don't have your answer.

“All right? I will see you next week. Until then, take really good care, love.

“If you're questioning whether you can recover the feelings you've lost for your spouse, and you're serious about putting an end to feeling stuck, lost, and alone, I've written a book just for you. It's called Stay or Go, How to Find the Confidence and Clarity so You Can Fix Your Marriage or Move Forward without Regret.

“The approach I share in this bestselling book has already worked for thousands of women struggling in lonely, disconnected marriages, and I'm confident that it will work for you too. If you don't want to spend another day stuck in indecision, go to SharonPopeBook.com to get your copy of Stay or Go now. That's SharonPopeBook.com.”


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