I grieve over people struggling in their marriage. Anthony and I both come from broken homes, and the parents of many of my friends also divorced. When we married, I didn’t have many examples of healthy, long-term marriages. It took a long time for me to trust Anthony wasn’t going to leave me, or wasn’t better off leaving me and all my brokenness. I’m grateful that he’s a stubborn man.
It didn’t help that I had drifted away from an established church and didn’t have someone to speak gospel truth into my life and marriage. Once we found our current church and sat under the Word for a regular period of time, the concept of the sacrificial love became easier to live out. You can’t have a marriage that is healthy and long-lasting without that sacrificial love. You have to give 100% and give grace to the other person every single day. And don’t think they aren’t having to do the same. Trust me, you are difficult to live with.
When we see a new couple starting out, we always try to share just a little bit of our journey. Year three was the hardest for us – the bloom had definitely worn off by then. But 23 years later we wouldn’t trade this marriage for anything. And Anthony has a hard road ahead of him, but he’s still glad for our marriage and would never consider walking off to an easier life.
I am seeing cancer support groups where the spouse checks out, cheats, or leaves and it breaks my heart. We have friends who whisper (“pray for us”) and it breaks my heart. We have friends who are admitting they screwed up but the other spouse is no longer interested, and it breaks my heart. Especially when there are children involved.
Invest in your marriage. Pray for your spouse, fervently, that you would love them more and serve them better. You can’t change them, but you can change yourself. Pray for help to change and be a better spouse. Don’t let the children’s activities, and stresses of colleges, life decisions, etc, keep you away from each other. Communicate and support each other. Always be your spouse’s best defender and cheerleader. Make it a point to look for and appreciate the good your spouse does and is. If they’ve become someone you really can’t like, pray harder!
(Obviously, if you or your children are being physically or emotionally abused, get out!)
I’m talking about socks on the floor, dishes all over the house, household maintenance not done, bills forgotten – all of it is petty. Let it go, get over it, pray and love.
Big crises can make or break a marriage. And I firmly believe, like your faith, it matters how you prepare before the crisis hits. If you back-bite and cast blame and resent each other now, a crisis will just give you even bigger opportunities to continue the same. If you trust and support each other now, a crisis gives you an opportunity to keep doing the same.
Anthony and I have always wondered how people can walk away from years of shared memories. No one else knows how you do things, or the jokes, or the friendships, or why your mother can push your buttons. Give it another try.
Cheating just hurts everyone. It leaves scars forever on the children. Don’t pretend it doesn’t. Leaving even if there is no cheating also leaves scars, breaks trust, and leaves everyone unsure how to be vulnerable with anyone ever again. Cherish your wife, respect your husband. I think that if you don’t spend lots of time during the week thinking about how wonderful your spouse is and then demonstrating it to them in a way they appreciate, you have work to do!
Stepping down from my soap box now. Not exactly how I thought this post would go, but my heart is breaking for so many people.