Marriage is an extremely complex relationship with an unpredictable destiny. Research involving separated or divorced couples signaled that lack of love is one of the two most cited reasons for divorce; the other reason is either an extramarital affair or communication difficulties (Kayser & Rao, 2006). Falling in love may occur without much deliberation like the famous “love at first sight. Conversely, falling out of love may be a long-term gradual decline in love. During a developing love relationship, couples are more susceptible to ignoring a myriad of factors that will eventually influence their relationship (Abbasi & Alghamdi, 2017). These ignored personal and general factors become increasingly conspicuous after the relationship is established. When facing relationship difficulties, the presence or absence of mutual love and intimacy steers the couple’s relationship toward continuity or termination. Emotional indifference or romantic disengagement diminishes love and care. Romantic disengagement goes through five stages before ending in complete disengagement, which include differentiating stage, circumscribing stage, stagnating stage, avoiding stage, and relationship termination stage (Barry, 2010). However, not all disaffected spouses reach the relationship termination stage. Therefore, couples should seek early intervention to combat marital disaffection and reignite the love.
Remarriage is common, but its dissolution rate is even higher than the first marriage (Doherty, 2012). Acknowledging that the subsequent marriages may not be work either, leaning-out spouses could have a paradigm shift and be more willing to rescue their present marriage. Discernment counseling is a short-term counseling (maximum five sessions) provides assistance in making a decision on whether or not marital counseling should be pursued. Discernment counseling gives couples a clear outlook on how their marriage got on life support. Couples are then asked to take time to decide if they can commit to a last-resort, “all-out effort” for the next six months (with the thought of divorce off the table). Marriage counselors discourage quick decisions about reconciliation or divorce and recommend that couples take at least five counseling sessions (approximately six-months) to gain clarity and confidence before making the final call about their marriage (Doherty, 2012).
Abbasi, I. S., & Alghamdi, N. (2017). Polarized couples in therapy: Recognizing indifference as the opposite of love. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 43 (1), 40-48. 40–48. 10.1080/0092623X.2015.1113596. Barry, R. A. (2010). Romantic disengagement as a developmental process that contributes to marital distress and decline (Doctoral dissertation). Doherty, W. (2012). Take back your marriage. New York, NY: Guilford. Kayser, K., & Rao, S. S. (2006). Process of disaffection in relationship breakdown. In M. A. Fine & J. H. Harvey (Eds.), Handbook of divorce and relationship dissolution (pp. 201–221). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.