Marriage is wonderful. But, it's also hard. It takes a lot of patience and practice to build the kind of relationship that dreams are made of. We tip our hats to those who are striving and succeeding at building a lasting marriage. Progress may seem slow at times, but you are moving forward together, and that is what matters.

Because marriage is full of ups and downs, it's quite possible that the dreaded "D Word" has crossed your mind a time or two. Perhaps it's even left your mouth. We all have moments of frustration where we're just about ready to throw in the towel.

Despite how frustrated you may be at times, throwing in the towel is probably not in your (or your spouse's) best interest. All of us experience storms in life, but eventually they pass, the clouds disperse, and the sun comes back out.

Of course, there are those situations and circumstances that may be beyond repair. Our hearts go out to those couples dealing with very challenging issues, whether it be addiction, abuse, or any other severe difficulties. This article is not an attempt to belittle those challenges or suggest you stay in a relationship that is harmful to you. If this sounds like your situation, then we recommend reaching out to trusted friends and professionals for additional help.

This article is for those couples who aren't dealing with the really tough issues, but rather the normal ups and downs of married life. We all have our bad days, or even weeks or months. But, remaining committed and true to each other will surely pay off in the long run. With that being said, here are 6 good reasons to stay married.

1. Your overall happiness

Interestingly enough, studies have shown that individuals and couples experiencing marital problems generally expressed a higher degree of overall happiness when they stayed married - despite their challenges - rather than getting divorced. This goes to show that for couples who aren't experiencing major challenges, divorce doesn't really solve the "I'm just not happy anymore," problem. Sure, marriage can be difficult, but remember, divorce is difficult too. However, your marriage can improve along with your overall happiness.

2. Your financial well-being

Divorce is not cheap for either party. There are the obvious costs of attorney fees, splitting assets, and ongoing spouse and child support. But then there are the often overlooked costs that come from the inefficiencies of maintaining two households. On top of this, you lose the potential tax benefits that come from being married. The bottom line is that staying married is likely to help your financial future. In fact, some studies have shown that married couples can have up to four times the wealth of their single or divorced peers. Certainly, this isn't the only reason for staying married, but it's definitely something to think about.

3. The kids

There's no doubt that divorce is hard on everyone, but perhaps it's most difficult for the children involved. Once children are brought into a marriage, each decision impacts more than simply the husband and wife. In divorce, children lose one of the primary sources of foundation in their life - the love between their two parents. A child may see their life quickly change from what felt like a very stable environment to one that feels very unstable. Aside from the obvious fact that their parents are no longer sharing the same residence, this instability could come from changes in housing, schooling, friends, and a general bouncing between parents. While this may not be the only reason to stay married, it's certainly a good one.

4. Running away from problems doesn't always solve them

Sure you've experience problems in your marriage, but what makes you think those same problems won't crop up in subsequent relationships? It takes two to tango and you're half the equation. You may think all your troubles will simply float away if you find that special someone, but chances are that's not true.

5. Long term boost to your self esteem

Accomplishing challenging tasks provides one with a immense sense of satisfaction and overall boost in self esteem. Giving up and running away from a difficult task that was within your ability to overcome, leads to regret and feelings of "what if?" Divorced individuals often experience feelings of failure and self doubt. On the other hand, couples who refuse to give up on each other, and who commit to work through their issues together, often experience the sweetest feelings of triumph and success.

6. Things can improve and your marriage can THRIVE

As bad as things may seem now, they can get better! Countless couples have been backed up against the wall of divorce and made it out better, stronger, and happier than ever before! You can too! By making a deliberate effort to change (where needed) and to work together, you can create the marriage you have always hoped for. Will it take time, effort, and patience? Of course. But, it will all be worth it in the end.

This article was originally published on Nuturing Marriage. It has been republished here with permission.

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