It takes two… and that being said… let’s lay a foundation to tackle this topic!
When it comes to marriage, the bottom line is you BOTH promised to love each other until death do you part. Love is not a tingly feeling. Love is an active choice. You choose to show someone love everyday… and marriage is a commitment of unconditional love. This means giving love regardless of whether or not the person deserves it.
Unconditional love is NOT easy. You will fail at loving unconditionally. Your spouse will fail at loving unconditionally. Neither of you are perfect, but catching yourself in your imperfection is what you promised to do. And so when you fail, you must make a correction and choose to love… despite your spouse’s ability to fulfill his/her vow in that moment.
Therefore, no matter what the circumstances are…
Two people always play a role in a problem.
The other person may have made a bad choice on their own, but you at least are responsible for how you react, respond, and move forward. Does he/she deserve it? Perhaps you would say no… but he/she deserves you keeping your promise of “til death do us part.”
I’m not asking you to enable someone. I’m not asking you to say bad choices were good choices. I’m not asking you to pretend like you weren’t hurt. I’m saying that responding in love is always the correct response.
Love is what changes people. Holding a grudge, making someone walk on eggshells, teaching someone a lesson, giving the silent treatment, abstaining from intimacy, withholding compliments, nagging, and not trying… can only create negative changes. Don’t you want things to get better?
Furthermore, was there something you could have done previously to prevent whatever happened? Could you have worked less? listened more? confronted earlier when it was a small issue? paid attention to your health? expressed your expectations or desires? spent less money? try to find out what was wrong? take the focus off of yourself? put your spouse before your kids? Often times people don’t make out of character decisions out of the blue. They are a response to something or result of small things becoming bigger things over time.
In preparation for getting married, my husband and I watched a series called iMarriage by Andy Stanley (highly recommended!). One thing that I never forgot from that series is when he discussed people who are continually dissatisfied in their relationships time and time again. Often time people who go through multiple marriages blame the partners as the reason for the marriages falling apart. But Andy said that the only common factor in your multiple relationships is YOU. This cannot be a coincidence. You are responsible for your relationships.
Some relationships may be easier than others, but if you are choosing “til death do us part,” then you have a responsibility to work through it. Instead of focusing on the negative of your spouse, focus on the positive change you can make. I know that this is not easy and can be extremely difficult and lonely, but I believe it is your best bet for restoration.
No one enters marriage saying they want to get divorced. Somewhere in there that sentiment can get lost. I am urging you to choose love, even when your spouse does not deserve it… and see what happens. What can you do today to show love and address the problem at hand? Here are some ideas:
- Make a delicious meal or his/her favorite
- Give at least 5 meaningful compliments a day
- Ask how you can help or serve him/her
- Ask what you could do to decrease his/her stress level
- Do one of his/her chores
- Give him/her the opportunity for some alone time
- Watch the kids or take the kids somewhere
- Surprise date night
- Write a note and leave it somewhere new everyday
- Change up your intimacy experience
- Talk about old memories
- Watch your wedding video
- Clean his/her car or fill up the gas tank
- Tell him/her what he/her is good at
- Give specific reasons why you think he is handsome/she is beautiful
Which will you choose? Do you have more ideas?! Share below in the comments…