I'm once again at a place in my life where I have a couple of friends going through really hard times in their marriages. With these around me struggling, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about and pondering marriage. And David and I have talked a lot about our marriage and how to keep it safe and protected.
So I've been thinking about what happens in a marriage? What makes things even start down the wrong path? Here are a few thoughts I've had...
I think sometimes at the beginning of a marriage there are several misconceptions. These are misconceptions that any good premarital counselor goes over with a couple before they get married, but they are also things I don't think the average person thinks will happen to them. So either they don't pay that close of attention or they totally dismiss what is being said during counseling. So we enter a marriage all happy and hopeful and in love. Which is great, until "real life" sets in!
I think most people go into marriage wanting the same things: a life partner, a friend, someone to help make decisions with, someone to support us in life and work. Seems pretty simple, hu? Then why is marriage so hard? Why are there marriages falling apart all around?
It's because marriages don't just happen. A marriage and a wedding are 2 different things! A wedding is the easy part (which is a laugh if you've ever planned a wedding!) and the daily-ness of marriage is the hard part.
We love the person we're married to, so why is it hard? Because we're all human that's why. We make mistakes. We say things, do things, and act in ways that hurt the person we're married to. Often these things start out innocent enough. I think very few people wake up one morning and think "today, I'm going to say something hurtful to my spouse!" But sometimes that happens. Then you add in the "normal"(children, school, jobs, money, cars, house)stresses of daily life and eventually - if not handled correctly - these "little things" turn into big things and then they get bigger and bigger and before we know it things "just aren't good anymore."
Then for some reason (I guess mostly cause it's kinda hard) people don't talk about it. They just keep on in their unhappy state, fuming and holding grudges and before we know it there's a huge wall and neither person knows how it got so big or how to deal with it's size now.
I don't have the answers here, these are just my thoughts... but men and women are so very different and it's a process learning how to talk to each other - and talking to each other is key. It's hard, I know. I'm not the best communicator, and often I handle things in the wrong way, or at the wrong time, but thankfully David is patient and understanding and we usually get around to the issue. Of course this process in itself can sometimes be painful!
I think the other thing that married couples forget to do or don't do - is spend time alone with each other. This is especially true if there are children in the home. We get to busy doing "stuff" and taking care of the house, laundry, etc... that we forget how important it is to spend time alone together! As a very wise friend pointed out the other day - in not that many years, the kids will be gone but my husband will not. So that relationship is so important to foster! Taking time for each other is key!
I have a bunch more to say on this topic. But I've been writing and rewriting this post for nearly a week now, so I'm gonna post this and then just add another post at another time!
On a last note... if you and your spouse are having trouble - seek help. Call a friend (preferably of the same gender!), a pastor, a counselor... someone who can listen to you and pray with you and support you! Satan wants nothing more than to take down as many marriages as he can. Let's not let that happen!