I was chatting with someone regarding relationships recently. They remarked they would never get married again if their current relationship failed. I have heard this from numerous people over the years. The tiring efforts to make relationships work seem to drain people to the point of giving up the dream of someone forever.
I used to weigh my marriage against the beautiful portrait of perfection in other relationships. Believing I was missing something, I studied and researched. Nothing added up. It wasn’t long before I realized the display I saw was just that, a nice window exhibit for the outside world.
There is nothing wrong with keeping marital issues behind closed doors. My problem came when I felt ashamed to discuss my issues because everyone around me had a so-called fairytale, and I had some disturbing Lifetime movie relationship . The truth would eventually come out. Those perfect marriages were never perfect.
It became customary to hear of another separation or divorce. It became clear I was never alone in my crazy relationship. I was only alone in my transparency. I didn’t fear my truth, struggle, and hardship. I wasn’t afraid to say it out loud, “My marriage needs help!”
One day it occurred to me that the majority of my closest friends are divorced. My closest friends happen to be my church family. Something in that frightened me. If it happened to them, it could happen to me.
I am not here to bash anyone. I experienced separation. I pass no judgment. Many couples had one spouse that desired divorce, leaving the other devastated and grieving for months or years. Some were mutual, and some were nasty. People cheated, and some changed. Whatever the reason, divorce happened.
Changes with the Wind
We all know it takes work, consistency, compromise, and acceptance that effort is not always equal. We might struggle when one spouse gives and gives, and the other is happy to sit back and receive. We take these personality tests one month, but change the next. (Or is that just me?)
Recently, everyone in my church uses their “number” (from the current popular test) to explain things. I took the personality quiz, and for me, it is not how I base my life. I change often, could be my bipolar, but I’ve seen a lot of ladies do the same thing. I hate to say it, but it is usually the girl swinging on the personality pendulum. It makes marriage rough.
If you’ve been swinging for a while, it is exhausting hanging on. If you’re the one watching the swing, trying to hold on, or doing everything to stop it, you are exhausted as well. I wonder if that is the point people begin to say enough.
“Who I met ten years ago is not who you are today.”
“Once we had kids, you changed.”
“I’ve changed, and what I want has changed.”
“I’m not the same person. We want different things.”
..you work too much..you never help..you never talk..you never listen..
Keep the Focus Home
My marriage has seen years of growth and years of growing apart. The other day my husband said he always knows we are on the same page, and I began mentally flipping the pages looking for the one we share! Right now, I feel we are books apart. Though I think we are distant, when we talk about it, I will probably discover we are closer than I realize.
We have been together for 24 years. I freely admit I am difficult. He stays the same, and I change like the Colorado weather we endure. I’m a hot then cold soul, and tend to allow circumstances to dictate which me I am. He spends a lot of time deciphering my mood, then working to find his place. The effort is incredible, and I suck at reciprocating. Hard to admit, but it’s true.
Will I ever balance the private me and the married me? I don’t know. He may get tired of my swinging and finally let go, or he may stand firm and wait. I see myself as a burden; maybe he sees me as an incredible challenge worth accepting.
Marriage is hard work. We’ve all said it. Whether love is at the forefront of my marriage, or on the back burner, I choose to stay committed.
Love doesn’t lead my decision. Christ does. I won’t pretend all is perfect or broken. I may not know how we get through problems, but I commit to work through them. There could be days I dislike the man next to me, but I will remain by his side. How we accomplish that has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Jesus in me.
If I keep my eyes on God, I see things with better vision and clarity.
Is it worth it? I suppose it depends on who you are and what your expectations are, what your commitment theory is, and what you are willing to give and take.