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7 Ways to Know If Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For

How to Let Go of Someone You Love

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?

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.


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33 thoughts on “7 Ways to Know If Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For”

  1. Pam,

    I am in a similar situation. It hasn’t been as long as your marriage. My husband left me just a few days ago to be with his long distance co-worker. But I still want to try to work on it. I am definitely going to better myself wether he comes back or not. So I will be in a better place.

    I have read that getting support and information from someone going through similar situations is the best. How are things going for you so far?

  2. Colleen,
    Your story sounds just like mine. My husband endured years of physical and emotional abuse by his mother and father and then at age 12 was sexually abused by a student teacher (although he doesn’t see it that way as he was a willing participant with her). He had an emotional affair with a long distant co-worker. I found out by total accident, but he had been acting distant for over 1 year and I couldn’t put my finger on it. This was during our 29th year married. We now have been married 30 years. We each have our individual counselor and are seeing a marriage counselor. He says things like I could live alone, I am not sure I want to be married, it’s what I want for myself. I found another picture of the girl on his phone after he said it was over, I felt like I was having a heart attack. Our kid is in college too and I think that’s when it started, I think he was depressed when she left home. We also worked hard, both full time jobs with me doing most of the child activities. I feel so alone, I have tried but he can’t even hug me. So I am trying to work on myself with my counselor and am thinking about going back to school. He says he needs time, but I don’t know how much time I can give him. If I wait, the outcome may still hurt me. I wish you all the best in your situation. I just felt so compelled to write as your story is so much like mine.

  3. HI I’m am struggling. My husband and I have been together for 29 years. Our marriage was typical, marriage, babies, both of us working trying to make it work with no family to lean on. As time went on we became disconnected. I worked the weekends as a flight attendant and my husband worked Mon thru Fri. We didn’t have time or we didn’t make time for us. I thought ok this is our life to make it work for our schedule but eventually years down the line it took it toll. We became disconnected. I am pretty secure with myself except that I never communicated my feelings or did my husband. So in time our boys grew older I was the one who did all their activities, church, baseball, school, events etc. while my husband worked. It got to the point of not speaking to ech other nicely sometime Nick picking and him taking up training for marathons so he was training a lot. I thought the it would get better s the boys got older and we could leave them and start going out nurturing our marriage but we didn’t appreciative. Then I found out he was having an affair Jan 2017. I confronted him he denied and I showed him the proof. We talked I forgave him and I said I will look for counseling. I felt we reconnected now I look at it and maybe it was me because we became intimate again and I felt emotionally connected and thought he was too. I tried to find a female counselor because my husband was abused severely as. Child by an uncle and I knew he felt better with a female. I couldn’t and made an appt with a male who basically said our marriage was toxic and he can help us but not with a 3rd party involved. We left and he said he didn’t like him. A friend of mine who is a therapist told me you can’t fix your marriage until your husband fixes himself with his past. So we did counseling separate and Insat back patiently while he opened up to his counselor about his abuse. Almost that entire yr 2017, he was here at home and things felt good but our communication expressing ourself was not great. He was still in the affair and in April I knew he saw her he admitted and said he wasn’t sure I Reacted and said fine let’s talk to the boys 17 & 15. We cried spent the next day as a family and went back into our routine. He is a truck driver so during the week he was on the road and calling me everyday, I thought ok but then again in Oct he did it again he said he or she called him and probably they spent time together. I told him he needed to make a decision. He said he couldn’t. I asked him to leave. He picked his things on a Sat while I was working and I came home to everyone of his gone. He said he will live in his big rig. We cried and he left. We spent time Super Bowl Sunday and he ended up spending the night we were intimate. He had to work so he woke up at 4am and said he didn’t want the night to end. I felt that was real. He didn’t call me all week. I asked him to meet me on the we home from work and said you obviously don’t want our marriage so I’ll give you what you want. Divorce. 2 weeks later he drew up papers online instead of hiring an attorney to see us financially. I was in shocked and disbelief. I feel and every time we met to talk he would cry bring up his childhood trauma that he is running because he doesn’t know how to deal with things he admitted he has always runs away . I also believe he is pushing me away intentionally because of the guilt and shame of what he did to our family and he never has dealt with the guilt and shame he endured as. Child. There is so much I still could add but he still has the papers and is pressuring me on them. I set boundaries and sled him not to come here when I’m home to spend time with the boys. I feel we could save our marriage but he is running. I’ve skied him if he is with her he said yes but sometimes I feel he is lying. I think he is depressed. Is it me not accepting I’ve sled him if he really wants to do this and he said why are you asking me this now. Then he gets frustrated and leaves the conversation. I know it’s up to him to fight he knows how I would do anything to fight. I know I can’t fix him should I sign the papers and let it go? I’m afraid to throw this away when I know if we could just get the therapy needed we could try and save this.

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