Statistics show that half of all marriages will end in divorce, but you and I are more than a number. These figures do not predict the length or satisfaction of your marriage in any way. I think it’s important to remember this when it comes to viewing our marriage. Better yet, ignore the statistics if they are negatively affecting your marriage. I suppose a little worrying about not becoming one of the couples who divorce can be healthy, but we should not allow this disappointing statistic to shadow our own marriage.
I respect marriage and regard it highly. I do not take my marriage lightly, nor do I view divorce lightly. I chose my husband based on our shared values and this reassured me of our lifelong commitment to one another through the ups and downs. I’m aware of the fact that marriage is hard work and I fully intend on giving my marriage my all; it is my priority above all else. I also don’t accept divorce as a solution for my marital challenges; I believe that divorce should be avoided, if at all possible.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that divorce serves a purpose. I believe that divorce should be available to individuals in dangerous and toxic marriages. Staying in an unhealthy marriage for the sake of the kids is never the right reason, but this doesn’t mean that couples in unhealthy marriages can’t work out their issues. There are married couples who bail on their marriage too soon and it’s difficult to believe that the majority of divorces are justified. Especially since our government has made it so easy for couples to divorce. I feel divorce has become all too common in our society. It’s becoming increasingly popular for couples to call it quits and broken homes are becoming the norm for many families. What’s even more saddening is that many divorces are later regretted by individuals and that these dissolved unions might have been restored. Dr. William H. Doherty found,“… that a significant number of divorced individuals—maybe about half—report to researchers that they wished they or their ex-spouse had tried harder to work through their differences.” This supports the idea that HOPE applied to marriage can keep it alive and strengthen it over time.
Unhappy married individuals don’t have to settle for an unhappy marriage, nor do they need to resort to divorce. There is HOPE for these struggling married couples!
If you’re feeling like you’re headed for the door, then seek help. Help is out there and readily available. Don’t wait until you feel ready, instead act now. You may never feel ready, especially if you’ve got a negative attitude or are waiting on your spouse. Take the initiative and start today!
If you’ve fallen out of love:
Falling out of love doesn’t happen over night; it’s something that happens over time, so don’t wait until problems show up and work on your marriage daily. Take some time to remember what made you fall for your spouse in the beginning and do the things that might recreate the attraction. Go out on a date weekly to reconnect with your spouse. Laugh together, smile at one another, hold hands, and kiss to get back to that loving feeling. The lack of desire to do these things is not an excuse to avoid trying these repair attempts, so act now and think later.
If you’ve lost hope:
Believing your marriage is a lost cause is never helpful. Remember that marriage unites two imperfect individuals, who invite the “bad” into the marriage. Marriage is about accepting the “good” with this perceived “bad”. It is a commitment for life. If you’re still living, then begin recommitting yourself to your spouse.
Might I remind you that you once promised to stick it out, “… for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.” When you’re feeling like right now is your future marriage is the time to rethink this low point in your marriage as temporary. This will help you realize that your marriage is not lost!
One of my favorite songs is called Restore. It is a song about restoring struggling marriages and I believe it is the perfect message for couples everywhere, even though it targets Christian couples. I think we all could use a little divine intervention in our lives. This is especially true when it comes to our marriage. Do not forget the power of prayer when it comes to softening your spouse’s heart or gaining strength. Pray for your spouse as well as your marriage.
Marriage is meant to last and though you may be experiencing the “bad” at the moment, remember that the “good” is still ahead. When it gets bad enough that divorce seems like the only option, have a little HOPE. Have HOPE that you and your spouse will get through the “bad” together and continue fighting for your marriage.
You can have a better marriage, but it will take change on your part as well your spouse’s. It will require a lot of teamwork and sacrifice, but the payoff will positively affect your marriage. Have HOPE that things will get better!
*Please watch the following video clip and then complete the activity below with your spouse.
Fireproof clip (the back story is their marriage is on the rocks; the husband shows his wife there is HOPE)
1. Write down how you can recommit yourself to your spouse and your marriage. Share this with your spouse.
2. Write about a time when things were “bad” in your marriage that turned “good”. What was the process? (timeline the events leading up to the “bad” and “good”)