I am surprised and saddened by how little couples are willing to live with. I don’t mean stuff. I mean relationship. Couples tend to accept things the way that they are, believing that change will never happen, and then become afraid to voice their opinion. People become busy or resentful and settle for less. They may start out arguing about the crumbs that they give each other, but over time they seem to give up. Couples that don’t argue are sometimes more wounded and disconnected then couples that argue all the time.
Happiness in marriage is not determined by how many arguments that you have. Happiness is determined by how well you repair. Couples fight and never repair, or worse they stop connecting. The main reason that couples settle for less is that they become disconnected and stop growing together. Then over time they give up and settle into ruts. Here are some ways that couples give up:
- They really aren’t there – we are not present and in the moment. – Couples become so involved and focused outside the home for income, significance, and happiness that they aren’t emotionally present. They many be physically their but they are emotionally gone. This can also happen with couples that are stuck in bitterness or unforgiveness. This issue is more attitude.
- They want to be right more than we want to be happy – Couples give up because they are more worried about defending themselves and their version of right.
- They live opposite parallel lives – This is common for families with young kids. Two worlds begin to be created. One in the home the other outside of it. Couples begin to lead to opposite lives. This can also happen with two busy professionals, or couples with intense hobbies. I know many “hobby widows or widowers”. This problem is about complicated busy lives.
Keep Fighting for your Marriage
That all sounds heavy and negative. Can you stop this cycle and keep fighting for connection and happiness with your mate? The key is connection and repair. Here are some suggestions.
- You cannot do it alone. – Find friends, family and a good counselor that support your marriage. These should be people that encourage you to not give up. They should help you find tools to grow and change not just tell you how terrible your spouse is. The people around you need to believe and support the truth that you can have a great marriage.
- Pray that God will produce change in you. – Read and meditate on Galatians 5:22-24.
22-23 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.23-24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified. Galatians 5:22-24 MSG
- The work of Marriage is….
- compromise – Conflict many times is seen as “I am right”and “your wrong”. In marriage this never works. You are either both right or you are both wrong. If one of you loses you both lose. Be willing not sweat the small stuff. You have to understand oneness in marriage means that you either both lose or you both lose.
- and connection. – Create times that you can share. Repair begins to happen with you get lost in the enjoyment of shared activities together. This has got to be more than sex, even if you haven’t had sex in months start out with trying to learn to play together first. The sex will happen if you can laugh and non-sexually touch first. Trust and connection grow when you create regular shared experiences where you can laugh, play, encourage, affirm and non-sexually touch.
Fight for you marriage. Don’t settle for less, you can grow change.