7 Ways to Know If Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For

Have you reached the tipping point in your relationship? Here’s how to know if your relationship is worth fighting for, or if you should throw in the towel and start another round with someone new.

“I know that love changes and there are different phases of love,” says Toni on How Love Changes Over Time. “But how do you know if you’re in a normal slump or if your relationship is over? My wife is changing, going through some emotional stuff that is making her withdraw and pull away from me. Part of me thinks this is a normal stage of our marriage, but part of me wonders if things will ever be the same. So how do you know if a relationship is worth fighting for?”

Here’s one of the best ways to know if you should fight to save your relationship: you’ve done a “reality check” on your marriage. You know the difference between fairy tale love and true love. And, you know your own self. Below are some of the most common deceptions and myths about relationships, to help you see whether or not fighting for your relationship or throwing in the towel is the best route to go…

If your spouse is emotionally or physically difficult to reach, you may feel anxious or afraid. You might be worried that your relationship has changed or that he doesn’t love you anymore. While you’re struggling to decide if your relationship is worth fighting for, remember that all love relationships go through periods of distance and closeness, disconnection and attachment.

One of the most important tips on how to love someone who is emotionally unavailable is to stop trying to change or fix him. Let go of the illusion that your love will open your husband or boyfriend up, that your emotional depth and commitment is enough to save your relationship. Hold tight to the fact that even though love changes, you can change with it! You can discern whether your relationship is worth fighting for, and you can take steps to rebuild your love.

Is Your Relationship Worth Fighting For?

I’ve divided this article into two parts:

  • 3 Stages of Love
  • 7 Ways to Know if Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For

While you’re reading through these stages and signs, remember that you won’t find precise formulas or specific solutions. Every relationship is different and unique. I can’t tell you if your relationship is worth fighting for because you know your relationship better than anyone.

It is a difficult decision to make – especially if you have children or other investments in your relationship. Take your time, listen to your heart, and hold on to the peace that surpasses all understanding. Know that you can trust God – or whatever you conceive your Higher Power to be – to bring you through this stage of your life.

3 Stages of Love

“A relationship is like a shark. It has to constantly move forward or it dies.” – Woody Allen.

The First Stage of Love: Romance and Chemistry

Romantic love is driven by testosterone and estrogen; it creates strong physical attraction and sets the stage for emotional attachment. In this stage of love, endorphins soak your brain and you’re immersed in intense pleasure. The last thing you’re wondering about is whether your relationship is worth fighting for, because you know your man is perfect, ideal, made for you. In the romance phase you feel exhilarated and even “high” (similar to the feeling you get after eating melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate or enjoying a great workout. Endorphins!).

The Second Stage of Love: Physical Attraction and Power Struggles

The “lovesick” phase is characterized by a loss of appetite, less sleep, and daydreams about your new love.

How to Know Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For

How to Know Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For

In this stage of romantic love, the hormones dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are racing through your body and brain. You’re also trying to shape your lover into your ideal partner – which is where the power struggles come in. You’re becoming more realistic, and you and your boyfriend are working through everyday issues, such as which friends to spend time with or how to make relationship decisions. Even thought the initial intense chemistry is wearing off, you can confidently see the signs your boyfriend loves you.

The Second Stage of Love: Emotional Attachment and Acceptance

In this phase of love, you’re aware of both positive and negative traits in your boyfriend. You decided you want to build a life together – get married, invest in homes and cars, have children. Confrontation is most likely to occur in this stage of love (though if you’re authentic and honest, it’ll also happen in the second phase). You and your partner might start wondering how to know if your relationship is worth fighting for. Should you stay committed to a healthy love relationship or call it quits?

One of my favorite books about relationships is ScreamFree Marriage: Calming Down, Growing Up, and Getting Closer. In it, Hal Runkel shows couples how to stay calm while dealing with intense marital conflicts. He reveals the key to creating and enjoying a deep, lifelong connection in marriage, and why your relationship is worth fighting for. It’s an awesome book for couples to read together, or for individual partners to work through on their own.

7 Ways to Know if Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For

Perhaps reading through the 3 Stages of Love has shown you that your relationship is worth fighting for. That’s great! Get a book such as ScreamFree Marriage, and start learning how to save your love.

If you’re still confused and unsure, you may need to sort through your beliefs about relationships. All couples have preconceived notions about love and marriage, and some of those ideas are unhelpful and even destructive.

The following seven facts about relationships will help you know if your relationship is worth fighting for…

1. You know that a relationship can’t bring you lasting happiness

How to decide should I stay or go“Current relationship studies explode the belief that relationships bring lasting happiness and are a panacea for all that ails us,” write Judith Wright and Bob Wright in The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer“While relationships may boost happiness for a short time, they don’t lead to long-term fulfillment and intimacy.”

Do you expect your husband to change your level of happiness? Then you’ll be disappointed. When you’re trying to figure out if your relationship is worth fighting for, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a man or a relationship can or will make you happy. The only source of lasting peace and joy is the flow of divinity that is constantly humming above and around and through you.

2. You love who you and your husband are becoming as a couple

You know your relationship is worth fighting for if you’re in love with the idea of who you can be together, as a couple. Are you able to support each other as you both reach towards your ideal selves – both together and as individuals?

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Fix Your Marriage

When you interact with your boyfriend or husband, are you encouraging him to become a better version of himself? In the healthiest relationships, both you and your partner push each other to be your best selves. You support good choices, healthy habits, successful lifestyles, and satisfying activities outside your relationship. You know your relationship is worth fighting for when you have the potential to be united and connected as a couple who wants to be better, love deeper, and spread joy and peace in the world.

3. You have rejected the idea of a “soul mate”

Relationship research shows that believing in and looking for a soul mate actually makes it more difficult to experience an intimate love relationship. A romantic ideal of the perfect partner – someone created just for you – will stop you from fighting for your relationship when the going gets tough. And the going will get tough. All couples go through relationship problems and dry spells.

The healthiest couples no longer search for tips on how to know if their relationship is worth fighting for. They’ve committed to learning and growing together, to resolving conflicts as they arise, and working on themselves and their relationships.

4. You aren’t hooked on the myth of compatibility

“Happy couples are no more or less compatible than unhappy couples,” write the Wrights in The Heart of the Fight. “Compatibility is transient; it comes and goes, and no couple is compatible all the time. Couples in blissful relationships work with their differences – and grow from them.”

Your relationship is worth fighting for if you share deep sense of meaning and purpose with your husband.Your relationship is worth fighting for if you have common values and a dedication to growing healthier emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Your relationship is worth fighting for if you aren’t distracted by the myth that you have nothing in common, and you’ve learned how to stop going back and forth in your relationship.

5. You know chemistry isn’t what counts in a relationship

The first stage of love is often fueled by passion and chemistry, feeling madly in love and out of control in a wild meeting of hearts, souls, bodies and spirits. This isn’t true love. This is a chemical rush, and it is fleeting. Chemistry and energy that flares quickly and burns brightly will die a quick and flaming death.

Here’s one of the best tips on how to know if your relationship is worth fighting for: you love your boyfriend or husband but you aren’t obsessed by him. You don’t feel lovesick or preoccupied by thoughts of him all day long. You feel supported and encouraged, and you know you’re supporting him and encouraging him to be his best self. You know your love is worth fighting for when you have built a strong relationship that is founded on healthy communication, conflict resolution, and joyful and painful experiences together.

6. You aren’t focused on how attracted you feel to him

“Who we are attracted to isn’t necessarily who is best for us and in fact, is often the opposite,” write the Wrights. “It’s an automatic response to people who unconsciously represent aspects of our relationship with our parents. The stronger the attraction, the more they represent either that quality itself or its mirror image.”

For example, if you had a distant father you may find yourself attracted to an emotionally unavailable man. If you had an abusive father you may be attracted to passive men. Our early relationship with our parents determines who we’re attracted to as adults. If you’re wondering how to know if your relationship is worth fighting for, you might look at the deeper issues that attracted you to your partner.

7. You know you need more than love

One of the biggest myths about relationships is that love is all you need.

7 Ways to Know if Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For

7 Ways to Know if Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For

If you believe a great relationship develops just because two people fall in love, then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment! Even the healthiest most loving relationships need to be fought for. Real love doesn’t mean you won’t have issues to discuss or that you’ll never be hurt by your boyfriend or husband.

Real love means you’ll have to work on your relationship. No matter how much love and chemistry you feel for someone, you’ll still have to put time and effort into your relationship. If you’re wondering how to know if your relationship is worth fighting for, you need to let go of the myths and fairy tales about romance. Learn what true love really is.

Before we wrap it up – and before you tell me if your relationship is worth fighting for – let’s quickly review a few quick tips for a healthy, strong relationship.

4 Tips for a Loving Relationship

“Relationships – of all kinds – are like sand held in your hand,” said Kaleel Jamison. “Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but most will be spilled.”

A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost.

1. Focus on the things you can control

Your attitude, your behavior, your words, and your energy are all things you have control over. If you want something to change in your relationship – and if you’re fighting for your relationship – then focus on your own attitudes or actions. Don’t try to change your boyfriend or force your husband to be something he’s not.

2. Express yourself honestly and kindly

Learn healthy ways to express your disappointment, anger, or frustration. Be honest and authentic, kind and loving. If you aren’t sure what you think and feel, take time to connect with yourself. Connect with God. Pay attention to what you’re happy and sad about.

3. Grow towards your boyfriend or husband

If you’re committed to fighting for your relationship, then learn how to build healthy communication patterns. Focus on spiritual and emotional growth, and always remember why you fell in love with your husband or boyfriend. Think about the traits you were once attracted to, and work to revive those old feelings. Don’t forget who you fell in love with and why you’re with him.

4. Own both your positive and negative feelings

Your partner can’t “make” you feel anything If you feel unfulfilled in your life or overwhelmed by relationship problems, look at your dreams and goals. Are you pursuing the life you were meant to live? Are you following your heart? Develop your personality, mind, and spirit. Figure out what will make you happy in this phase of romance, and start creating the life you were meant to live.

Love isn’t just a vehicle that brings happiness and contentment to your life (or frustration and anger!). Love is a living, dynamic creature that changes, grows, and needs attention…and you must nurture it.

How do you know if your relationship is worth fighting for? I welcome your comments below. I can’t offer advice, but you may find it helpful to share your experience and thoughts about your partner.

Relationship Help

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5 Responses

  1. Laurie - Blossom says:

    Dear Victor,

    It sounds like you’re doing what you can to save your marriage – you really are fighting for your relationship! And, you’re working on getting stronger emotionally and spiritually.

    Honestly, I think you’re on the right path. Keep moving forward, keep going to your marriage classes, and keep your eyes focused on God. Don’t give up on Him, and don’t give up on yourself. Don’t give up on your marriage, either, especially if you want to restore it! Saving a marriage – and fighting for a relationship – is a process. It takes time to grow and heal, to work towards one another.

    Give yourself time to heal, and give your wife room to breathe. If you and she are meant to be together, you will find your way back. Keep working, keep moving forward, and keep fighting for love.

    Here’s another article that may give you an idea or two:

    What to Do When Your Wife Isn’t Happy

    I wish you all the best as you work towards saving and restoring your marriage.


  2. Victor Cruz says:

    Thank you for your article.
    My story is difficult
    , my name is Victor married for 23 years and have to boys now men.
    My wife still married to me we live in the same house separate rooms and I’m aware of her relationship with another man.
    I have enrolled in a marriage class, working on changing me both physically and mentally.
    I understand I’m a big part of why she was driven to go outside the marriage. I love her with all my heart and want to salvage my marriage. I’m working on the 31 day prayer for my wife, we still work out together. Pack her lunch every and love her unconditionally regarding of my situation. I often get mix feelings from her sometimes she cares and needs time to figure out her mess. Some times she only sees me as a friend and the father of my kids. She feels she has no connection or spark towards me. I’m on a 50/50 chance per our conversation of getting back together. She is taking a year break and then see if she will consider working things out. At times I want to explore and throw in the towel. I don’t know how long more I can take. I don’t want to do anything reacting on my feelings. Any advice will be helpful.
    Thank you and love to hear back from you soon.

  3. Nara says:

    Thank you so much for your amazing article, it was very clear and straight to the point.
    I’m 29 and my husband is 11 years older than me. I met my husband 3weeks after I broke up with my 4.5 years ugly relationship with an egoistic boyfriend. My husband was born in the middle east, but never lived there, he moved to the USA and had to start his life all by himself away from all his family when he was only 14 years old and got adopted into a Jewish family. It’s been 2 years that we are married, but never had the money or time to figure out a date to have the celebrations. My family was really forcing us to get married before we move in together, so we took care of the marriage certification over our lunch break and now every day goes by I keep questioning myself whether I should stay and fight or leave? We’re so opposite of each other, we don’t like the things we like. Our hobbies are different, but business wise, we can always push each other and making us a better person.
    I am so lost BC I’m so new to all these marriage laws 🙁
    Please help me if I should stop worrying and just work for everybody tells me the first couple yr are always the hardest or just leave bc I’m always crying in my alone time 🙁

  4. lauriepk says:

    Dear Mona,

    Thank you for sharing your experience here – it sounds like your marriage is difficult, and you are unhappy with your relationship. I don’t blame you – especially since you expected things to be different after you married him! I am sorry you’re going through this.

    The most important thing is to build a support network of people who you can lean on. I know you feel alone, like you have nobody here…and that’s why it’s so crucial to reach out and connect with people who can support and walk alongside you through this journey.

    Connect with people through church, community groups, and even your work if possible. Call a local women’s resource center and ask what type of support they offer.

    You don’t have to stay in a relationship that’s not worth fighting for. It won’t be the easiest thing you ever do – but I know you can do it! You are strong, and you can tap into a higher source of inner wisdom and power that will help you get through this.

    Here’s an article that may help:

    How to Leave Your Husband if You Have No Money

    You can do this. Whatever you need to do in your life, you can do it! Especially if you reach upwards and inwards for the strength you already have.

  5. mona says:

    Hello, I’m from south america, i was in a long relationship, after 7 years we’ve been together. But I don’t know if our relationship is worth fighting for, he’s from usa and be brought me here to be married … i was so happy because finally i have a “happy” family with him …. now after 3 years of marriage, but every day is worse. We have a lot of fights, we don’t make love , he don’t kiss me, and almost never we have a conversation. He cheats on me, he lies and he’s rude. He has so much bad energy but I’m still with him. I’m a lawyer in my country, I am 33 years old. Here I work in sales and don’t make enough money to leave him. I really tried with the marriage and he don’t understand nothing. I’m very tired and alone, I don’t have any friends, no money, no kids, my family is in different country… does somebody have an idea if I should fight for this relationship…

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