When the two of you are taking your vows of marriage, saying “I do”, the thought that the relationship would seriously deteriorate probably never crossed your minds. That is a day of happiness for you, thinking you had each found your soul mate.
But the one thing about life is that change is inevitable. If a couple is able to change at the same time and in the same direction as life circumstances change, the change can be a good thing and keep your relationship healthy. But if you each change separately and/or in different directions, there are going to be problems. One of the biggest problems is that a once loving relationship turns into an abusive relationship.
The word “abusive” does not necessarily mean physical violence. (Although it can be that, and at that point the local authorities and police department via the domestic violence department can lend a needed hand) but abuse can also happen in other ways, sometimes very subtle way.
One partner may take every opportunity to verbally abuse the other, whether in private or even in public like at office parties. These little cuts and defamation's all add up, until the person who is saying them eventually starts to believe them, and the person who is the brunt of the cruel joke also starts to believe that they are stupid or not worthy, causing a severe lowering of their own self-esteem.
Counseling, as quickly as possible, is the best answer. But that depends on both parties being willing to attend the counseling sessions. If only one partner attends the counseling sessions, the session will not be effective in terms of resolving the problem, but may indeed start to turn into topics of whether or not divorce is the answer. There is no rule of thumb to determine if divorce is the real answer, even though that would be a pretty drastic move. At the same time, you need to realize that if your paths in life have diverged significantly from where they were when you were at the point of your marriage vows, there is a decent chance that it is unlikely that your paths may ever converge again, unless both of you take drastic steps to make that happen. And like with the counseling sessions, this is something that both of you need to work on, since just one of you will be unable to make changes that will accommodate both of you. It is a two way street.
If counseling is not an option, perhaps because of cost or perhaps because one of the two people is unwilling to attend counseling, then the two people need to sit down in a quiet place without distractions and talk it out. Communication, really effective communication between two people can take a relationship to tremendous heights if it can be done effectively, where the “ground rules” clearly indicate there will be no yelling, no blaming, and the goal is to come to a common meeting place as far as what direction you both need to take to get to where you want to be.
One very good method is to have two sets of relatives or friends who are married as well that can be called on anytime to come to the rescue if abuse is happening. They will be able to help and advise both of you and it helps them not to have the same problems as well. It also gives the troubled couple an outlet from hurting the other. When people see others in need it helps them to be better involved in their marriage as well because they have will have first hand encounters with people that have the problem. It makes them and their relationship better. Those that just get married should learn from others and find ways to help those in need as it will strengthen themselves.
Sometimes the couple needs to consider whether divorce is an option. Divorce is not something you enter into on a whim, it is a huge step especially if there are children, yet sometimes a step that needs to be seriously considered. Seek proper help first to change things and not give in without a fight.
Bar advice. A abusiveness relationship is not something you need to put up with, nor is it something that you need to tolerate. Before things get really serious, get good advice from your religious leaders, parents, relatives and close married friends. This will help settle yourselves to understand the sacrifice needed for it to work.