3 Things to Remember Before You Call It Quits in Marriage

3 Things to Remember Before You Call it Quits in Your Marriage


Over the years, there have been several questions that have surfaced on my blog more than any others.  Though spoken in different ways from different people at different times, these questions usually go something like this:

“What if I’m the only one putting any effort into my marriage?”

“What if my spouse never gives, but always takes?”

“I’m so lonely in my marriage. I want to call it quits. What should I do?”

For some, calling it quits means living in the same home, but giving up on any hope of a healthy marriage.  For others, calling it quits means separation or even divorce.  Before travelling down one of those roads, I’d like to remind you of 3 vital things.

1. Remember your vows.
“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish ‘til death do us part.”  The day you and your spouse were married was the day you promised all these things as you stood before God, before your family, and before your friends.  Remember, this commitment you made was meant to be lifelong, and calling it quits would break that unconditional promise you once made with all your heart.

2. Remember what marriage is.
Marriage was never meant to be a contract to be broken, but a covenant to be cherished. Here is the clear difference between a covenant and a contract.



Based on unconditional love between God, a husband, and a wife Based on conditional consideration between two people
Sacrificial Action (i.e. I’ll do it no matter what you do) Reciprocal Transaction (e.g. If you do this, then & only then I will do that)
Based on Mutual Commitment Based on Mutual Distrust
Seeks to Give Seeks to Get
For Life For Now

In a nutshell, a contract is all about what you get. A covenant is all about what you give.

3. Remember the purpose of marriage.
In 8 Mistakes I’ve Made in Marriage, I shared that in my early years of marriage, I felt like an important part of Susan’s “duty” as my wife was to make me happy. I was a bit more focused on me than on us. I didn’t think so at the time, but now looking back I relied on Susan to lift me up when I was down, to help me upon command, and to meet my physical needs when called upon…just to name a few.

Did you ever think, “Once I get married, then I’ll finally be happy”?  It doesn’t take much experience in marriage to discover that this simply isn’t true.  The only person who can ever provide ultimate joy for you is God, not your spouse.  Perhaps realizing this truth means changing your expectations of your spouse. Ultimately, marriage is not about happiness, but about holiness. It’s a holy union between God, a husband, and a wife—a union established to glorify God.  

Are you thinking about calling it quits in your marriage? Have these things I’ve reminded you of helped? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lyn

    What if it involves emotional and verbal abuse? How do I know when to give up?

  • Bubblygirl624

    What was the name
    Of the book recommended on focusing on changing yourself?

  • shannaemy

    Wow! We have a Creator of the Universe who created marriage. So many people today spend so much time ‘leaning on their own understanding’ and spouting it, compared to the time they spending seeking God to do a miracle in their own minds and hearts. Why do we care so much about what man thinks? Why do we care so much about what we think? Jesus said I AM THE WAY. That means He IS. My husband and I were separated twice, he filed divorce on both occasions. Marriage does not ‘take two’. it takes one. One who will seek God with all their heart, not move without Him, and let Him do ANYTHING He wants with their mind and heart, and fight on their knees. It takes one who will follow Him and nothing else. He will lead in a way we don’t want to go, a way that will seem crazy to the ‘norm’ culture. But His way works. My husband came home, and has not left again. That was 8 years ago. Our time of ‘discussing’ here would be better spent praying for this couple. :)

  • mels

    Lyn, that was my situation. I’d really encourage you to go talk to a pastor or counselor who has experience with abuse to get advice on how to proceed. I’m praying for you.

  • E

    I didnt even realize I was in a contract and he was in a covenant until now, and I wondered where I went wrong…we’re working it out though

  • C

    This scenario sounds like I could have written much of it….I didn’t realize there was another person on earth who shared my experiences as I always thought I was the one with the problem and just a rebellious wife (since I heard that all the time). Mine was like this for almost 19 years. I chose to leave after many years of prayer, misery, 2 different tries at counseling, and much uncertainty because of how I was raised and how it was affecting my kids. It was not a decision I took lightly. A marriage with physical abuse leaves visible scars but with emotional abuse and control no one can see your scars and it is much harder to help people understand what you live in and why you want away so badly. But abuse is abuse nonetheless and isn’t God’s will for anyone. I felt deep in my spirit that God released me to do what I needed to do for my own sanity. I have many other challenges now as a single 45 year old mom, but I am healing and getting back to my joyful self. Don’t let any preacher put guilt and shame on you because of what you feel you need to do. It’s between you and God. Seek Him first and He’ll help you know what to do for your situation.

  • mels

    I’ve made sure to pray about this before I’ve made decisions. And I’m at peace with my decision.

  • WillySunflower

    The passive aggressive ones are the crazy makers…I know what you are going through. I have this same situation except mine doesn’t talk about anything…he works, eats and watches tv…never any conversation….just tv. And affection…what is that? I don’t even remember what that is like.

  • mels

    Oh, yes. I remember those days. I’ve been away from him for over a year now, and I do not miss that behavior!

  • James D. Chamberlain

    Divorce is pretty clearly defined as a sin and Christmas instructed on it in the book of Matthew.

  • James D. Chamberlain

    Actually – Jeremy is the direct opposite if “right”, as I believe Momofour clearly articulates. Jeremy said divorce is not a sin, Momofour demonstrates Jeremy’s error, and you comment that Jeremy is right. Do you read the posts you are responding to?

  • nessa

    I’ve been with my husband for 9 years, married almost 2 years. I love this man more than life itself, but I’m living a lie. I believe in my voews, and I gave God my word for better or worse, but there comes a time when you wonder if love blinded you to doing something that you shouldn’t have. Numerous times he has told me I was fat, unattractive and disgusting to him and he wanted me to lose weight, but when I did he called me a whore and I got depressed and gained it all back. Now to let you guys know, my husband is my first and last. I’ve never slept with anyone or done anything with anyone else. So when he stated I was a whore I assumed I was doing wrong and thus got depressed and gained all my weight back. There have been some red flags thrown before we got married but I assumed it was because he was getting cold feet, and was scared of being married. First off, when he proposed and later on I asked him what made him ask me to marry him, he stated he felt obligated to. Umm ok, first red flag right there. A few weeks before our wedding, he tells me he loves me but wasn’t in love with me, wasn’t happy with us, and didn’t want to be with me, but staying with me was better than being alone. Now this was a major red flag that should of had me running but love blinded me. We have fights like Everyone else, but this time it’s like we are separated. He stays in the house next door and I stay home, we haven’t spoken but a few words for almost 3 weeks now. I feel alone, unhappy and depressed. I’ve tried multiple times to break this tension between us, but he acts as if speaking to me is the end of the world. I don’t want to live like this any more, but I have made my voews and my word to God.

  • Lana Forsythe

    I called it quits, once I was fed up with my husband’s love affair. We were married for over 2.5 years. He broke the wedding vow: ‘Forsaking all others, ’til death do us part.’ If the man couldn’t be friends with his female co-worker (whom he knew for a few months, loved and saw twice a week), I had to give up my male pen pals (who I have known for years, do not love or see). The man is more disabled than I am. He is below my mentality. I did not feel like a wife. I felt like a slave/CNA/caregiver. I felt like I was taking care of a toddler/baby.

    I wanted to call of the wedding, before the big day. The man changed, after moving to WI. He was able to take care of himself, when living in Iowa. The man became fully dependent on me, after moving to WI. I knew that I would be taking care of his money/bills/mail, scheduling doctor appointments, and talking to doctors on his behalf. I wasn’t expecting to be taking care of his meals, dressing and PH stuff. I thought about saying: ‘I don’t’ at the wedding altar. I didn’t want to make my father, or all of the guests mad.

    I did gripe about having to do everything. I did gripe about never having time to myself. I did threaten him with divorce, when we would argue and fight. I did not plan on divorcing the man, until I saw the Valentine’s Day card that the co-worker gave him. It wasn’t fun listening to them say I love you on the phone. They talked on the phone 7 days a week. They exchanged Christmas 2013 and Valentine’s 2014 gifts. I paid for them, out of the joint checking account. The man bought a birthday card and $25 Visa gift card for her April 2014 birthday. I made him pay for it, with his credit card. $70 in gift cards and 3 greeting cards for her. I had to pick and buy my own gift, or go with nothing at all.

    He would also talk to his mother and sister several times a day, everyday. He would talk to his other friends. I felt like I was the least important. I was committed to helping my disabled husband, even though it was very draining. He was not committed to me. He liked the co-worker better. They did not argue and fight. They worked things out. They did not live together, either. I did not fight with the man, when we lived in separate states.

    We got married on 3/18/2012. We did not bother celebrating our 2nd anniversary. We got divorced on 11/13/2014. I am happier without the man. I don’t have to keep getting jealous. All of that stress from living with him, caused me to gain weight and obstructive sleep apnea. I have lost over 60 lb so far. I was able to get my DL back. Getting married to him was the biggest mistake of my life. I don’t plan on getting married again. I am not going to keep changing my last name.

    I fell in love with a man, from an online dating site. He was also going through a divorce. The man is not disabled, and has equal or better mentality. The man saved his 15+ year marriage. He broke my heart a lot worse, than my ex-husband did. I will never get that close with a man again! Men are good at breaking a woman’s heart. I’d rather be single, for the rest of my life. Then I can have lots of casual, male friends. It would be hard to commit myself to one man, and reject the rest.

  • hurt

    I am experiencing the same problems in marriage as Mel’s. It’s so emotionally draining that sometimes I just feel numb and don’t know what to do. We are doing marriage therapy but I feel that the therapist is biased and takes the side of my husband. I just feel life is so unfair and meaningless.

  • hurt

    I think prayers help me through this marriage. Otherwise, I will go insane.

  • tiredreallytired

    I dont understand why we need to suffer at the hands of a non caring spouse. I have had so many people not care about me that all i do is run. Im tired of emotionally selfishness thats all i get. By my husbands standards only children and animals are worth empathy and love and im neither and im supposed to stay, why?? God would rather i be miserable and kill myself then get a divorce?

  • mels

    I don’t believe God expects toy to stay in a marriage when you feel like you’re going crazy or want to kill yourself. I hope you will reach out to a counselor who has experience with abusive marriages, so they can help give you some clarity.

  • mels

    In my relationship, marriage counseling with my spouse DID NOT WORK. He manipulated the counselors into thinking he was the one who was trying, and that I was the one who had all the problems. I’d encourage you to read “Why Does He Do That? Inside The Minds of Angry and Controlling Men ” by Lundy Bancroft. Also please read “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” by Leslie Vernick. Both of these books should give you some insight into your marriage and how to proceed.

  • marcella

    This is a wonderful thought. I have been keeping to this vow but my husband has depression and has let all this go without much thought so i have to give up i have lost to depression

  • Kylie


    I have been married for just over 10 years and my husband has suddenly started to doubt me. I have not been involved in any relationship other than my husband, but he feels that i am cheating on him. I am working and i have to talk to guys in office but he doesnt like that. Now he keeps picking on this every day and for 3 months now we are having a fights. I love my husband and i want this marriage to continue. My husband will not come for any counselling. My trust is only on God. Please help on how to revive my marriage. I want my marriage to be happy and not falling apart. Please help

  • micky

    I think people now a day consider marriage for other reason than their vows I do not. People marry now for only a mean meaning how it benefit their own needs

  • Mark Sullivan

    Hard to believe you actually picked a guy like this…?

  • sjack

    Thank you I really needed to hear your prayer right now. I will pray for you and all of those that are going through something. That God will provide guidance,strength and resolution to whatever the issues are for all of us. Stay strong and keep the faith.

  • Lori

    This came to my attention again today.. And I was reading through the comments again. Some of them stood out as hopeless advice to someone struggling with a passive agressive husband. The ones saying “try councelling but give up after six months”, and “you are valueable so you should leave him” and the ones criticizing people who remind us that divorce is a sin. These comments break my heart because God does hate divorce but not because he wants us to stay miserable, but because his ultimate plan for us, our spouse and our children is: goodness, blessing, fruitfulness, abundance, joy, peace, love….and so much more. That doesn’t come out of divorce….think about the divorced people you know, have their problems with their spouse gone away….usually they are perpetuated exponentially, they just don’t live in the same house anymore but they are tied together for life, by their children, their finances, their memories, their friends…and on and on. All divorce does is make the devil happy and make reconciliation impossible. I pray that each one who is having a horrible time in their marriage seek God with their whole heart…. Never stop calling out to him and ask him for wisdom and councel… Get closer and closer to Him through this trial, He will help you, he will speak to you if you ask him to. He says: “Call to me and I will answer you…and tell you great and in searchable things you do not know.”
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and he will make your path straight. He is the God of reconciliation!

  • Lauren Whitson

    I think a huge part of a healthy marriage starts before you’re married by choosing wisely a spouse to whom you’ll be compatible. Did you see signs when dating that would’ve suggested these qualities?

  • http://www.MarkMerrill.com/ Mark Merrill

    Yes, you are right. God WILL provide guidance and strength. Trust in Him. I will also continue to pray. Thank you for commenting.