I met my husband when I was 16 years old. I was just a baby and yet, after being together for a couple of years, I knew I wanted to spend my life loving him.
But it hasn’t been all peachy keen. We’ve had far more ups than downs, but we’ve had our moments when we felt like giving up on the marriage. And giving up on your marriage can look different for many of us. For some, it looks like going to court and filing for a divorce. Or putting up a wall and making ourselves unavailable for one another. I wanted to build that wall because I didn’t want to feel or get hurt anymore. I wanted to give up on my marriage because my feelings were clouding my perspective and almost impaired my judgment. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our feelings that we can make decisions that have a profound impact on our lives. And thankfully my feelings didn’t get the best of me in those times, because who knows where our marriage would be had I gave in to the impulse to give up on my marriage.
I think if we’re honest, many of us have been in a place where we were ready to give up on our marriage.
And maybe you’re in this place right now. Maybe you feel tired, unfilled, and lonely in your marriage. Maybe you’re arguing a lot and you’re not connecting intimately with one another. Maybe you’re ready to throw in the towel and give up on your marriage. Or maybe it’s not you, but it’s your spouse. Or maybe it’s the both of you.
I know it because after being married for 12 years I know that if you commit to your marriage and give it your best, even when you don’t want to that things can get a lot better. And things don’t have to hit rock bottom in order for them to get better. Because we’re human and we’re imperfect, that means there’s always something we can learn and a way we can grow.
No matter where you are, there is hope. You may not be able to see how things can get better because they’ve been this way for a while, but change is possible.
Something that helps my marriage grow and get stronger is that we’ve continued to pursue one another and to invest in our marriage. This is a commitment we’ve made to one another because we know that we’re better together. But it isn’t always easy to do, because this isn’t something you decide and then put on autopilot. This commitment takes daily and intentional work, which is why so many people struggle because most days you just don’t feel like.
When you combine your personal struggles, caring for your family, managing home and business, and then marriage, the pressure and overwhelm are real. So, I get it. Trust me I do. I know how we can have the best intentions to pour more into our marriages and then life happens. But the commitment remains. That’s the part we want to remember. And how you express that commitment may vary from day to day, but by acknowledging the commitment and staying intentional about working on your marriage is preparing you to have a strong and healthy marriage. But I know you don’t always feel like working on your marriage. That’s why we can’t rely on our feelings here.
If we only did things when we felt like it then we’d be in pretty bad shape. Imagine if you only paid your mortgage when you felt like it. You’d probably never do it because you’d probably never feel like doing it. Or imagine if you only brushed your teeth when you felt like. Again, you’d probably lose consistency and end up giving up more time and money to your dentist more than you’d like. The problem with pouring into your marriage and committing to your marriage when you feel like is that it lends to inconsistencies. And inconsistencies only create chaos, confusion, and frustration. Inconsistency doesn’t build a strong and healthy marriage. So, one of the things you want to do in your marriage is decide to commit to the health and strength of your marriage, no matter what.
And that’s easy to do when you feel like it or when you’re feeling good. That’s why I want to give you a question to ask yourself when you don’t feel like working and you feel like giving up on your marriage.
When you feel like giving up, ask yourself: If I give up on my marriage will this be what’s best for me and my marriage?
Sometimes when we’re in a marriage we forget that it’s not just about what feels good to us or what feels right to us. Though we’ve become one, we’re still individuals with distinct needs and dreams. So, by asking if the decision is good for you and your marriage it’s calling for you to consider yourself and your marriage, not just one or the other. Now I want to be clear about something. Sometimes what’s best for you and your marriage may seem like they’re hard or conflicting because of issues that need to be addressed in counseling or coaching. And that’s okay. For example, if your marriage is in a tough place, doing what’s best for you and your marriage may mean getting support for your marriage and for you. Also, if you consider that your marriage is a commitment that’s unwavering no matter what, then you’ll be more inclined to work through the rough patches. That’s something we’ve done in our marriage. We’ve decided that no matter what that we’d do what it takes to not only be together but to be happy and healthy together.
The next time you’re so frustrated, tired or feeling like giving up on your marriage ask yourself: Is this what’s best for me and my marriage. And here’s an extra one: Is this decision working towards my commitment or against it?
Both of these questions, when asked and reflected on, can humble you and shift your perspective. Tell me, what do you do to stay committed to your marriage?