It’s easy to find good advice on how to make a marriage last. Anyone married long enough to weather a few storms should have valuable things to say. If you ask enough people or read enough material you will probably get a wide variety of answers. So much so, It may be difficult to choose what is the best advice to focus your attention on.
Over the years since we started this marriage ministry, I’ve thought about this idea a lot. I’ve wondered as we prepared for teaching a class, or meeting with a couple for private coaching. Is there a single piece of advice that’s more important than anything else we share? Read more
We first heard Dr. Slattery speaking as a co-host on Focus on the Family. So when we were asked to read and write a review for her new book our immediate reaction was, “absolutely, we would be honored.” We felt very confident that whatever she had to say about marriage would be well worth our time of reading and would definitely be something we would recommend to our readers. Read more
It’s easy to love your spouse when your marriage is healthy and going strong. There is a rhythm to how love flows and it seems effortless. It’s like the two of you are dancing in harmony with each step perfectly timed and choreographed. You give and then you receive and then you give some more. You both give love at the same time and in the same way. You both give love at opposite times and in opposite ways. You know without a doubt the two of you are becoming one.
But what if your marriage is not working this way? What if the music has stopped and there is no dance left in your marriage? You’re trying to continue to love your spouse even though you are seriously hurting inside. You believe in marriage. You want to honor the vows you have made. You want to do what is right before God. So you keep trying to love even when the pain of rejection and neglect keeps telling you to stop.
The words “I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you” have been said many times by one spouse to another trying to explain the current condition of their emotions. And sadly those words have been used over and over again as an explanation for why one spouse has decided to give up on their marriage.
But as I said in our last post, there is something terribly flawed with this way of thinking. And if this is the way you’re feeling about your spouse and your marriage right now, I want to send out a warning to you.
Chasing after this type of emotion is very dangerous. Not only is it a threat to your current marriage, this type of thinking threatens any future hope you may have for a lasting relationship.
“I love you, but I’m not “IN LOVE” with you.”
You want your spouse to know you really do care for him/her. The two of you have shared so much together, so naturally, you still love them as a person. You’re not cold-hearted and you don’t like hurting your spouse, but there has been a serious shift in the way you feel. You love him/her, but it’s not the same love you felt before.
Back before when the two of you started out and you were so in love you couldn’t get enough of each other. You felt so much passion you wanted to be together all the time. There was no way you could have ever imagined you would one day lose that feeling, but you did.
I’ll be the first to admit I have a problem deciding when to throw something away and when to save it. The struggle I have is when I look at something thinking I might throw it away, I then think to myself, “maybe if I throw it away now I will one day in the future wish I still had it.” Because what I’m really trying to decide is, has this lost it’s usefulness to me, or does it still have some form of value to me?
That’s the same problem I see a lot people have when it comes to their marriage. They are trying to decide if their marriage has lost its usefulness to them or not. If they determine that it no longer has the value that it once did, such as “makes me happy,” “fulfills me,” “completes me,” or “satisfies all my needs,” they are ready then to dispose of it.
Is the marriage crisis you’re dealing with breaking your heart? Do you feel like your world is shattered and crumbling all around you? And does it make you question how much you can stand or how long can you endure? If your answers are yes, I know how you feel.
Because fighting to save a marriage is one of the toughest ordeals a person can ever experience. The heartache and pain can be so tormenting that it makes it hard to function in any other area of life. And there are times when the pain is so hard to bear, all a person can do is shut it off by staying busy with other areas of life. Either way it seems like life is just a blur and all you can do is trying to survive it.
But I have another question for you, a question I believe that can make a huge difference in how you get through this experience.
The desperation I felt to save our marriage was tremendous. I had waited so long for signs of hope and yet so many times it seemed my hopes were dashed. I had no problem accepting the fact that I had hurt our marriage. So all I could think of was trying to find some way to fix the problems I helped create.
After a good while into our last separation, my wife finally decided to go see a counselor. There were a lot of issues she had been dealing with from her childhood and she finally reached a point where she said enough is enough. She wanted the stuff that had tormented her all of her life to be gone once and for all.