Before we begin, I should let you know. I’m not a marriage counselor.
I am a wife and a mother. I am a daughter of a former missionary who is now a Baptist pastor. Growing up I saw a lot of people come into my house for marriage counseling. My parents never discussed the details with us, but I knew that not all marriages worked out. In addition to that, my parents were foster parents and I spent my summers visiting orphanages, so I also knew early on that not all families worked out.
Apart from that, my life inside the four walls of my home were pretty great.
I had the typical dating issues as most teenagers but still thought life would be better with my happily ever after. Yet, deep in the back of my mind, perhaps from seeing my parents council so many couples, I knew that despite all of my hopes, marriage would not be easy.
I’ve read my share of marriage books, all of which explain the balance between men and women. I’ve gone to marriage seminars, I’ve gone to marriage counseling (my dad was our counselor -talk about awkward).
I’ve read on just about every marriage related topic out there. Even topics that my husband and I don’t seem to struggle with.
In all of that I have decided that I know the reason marriages fail.
Marriage Is Hard
Plain and Simple. Marriage is not easy. I don’t care who you are, where you come from, how you were raised the bottom line is that marriage is hard.
My husband and I were standing in our kitchen the other night. He was washing dishes and I was cooking dinner. During that time we were talking about marriage, in general. The marriages our parents had growing up, the marriages we’ve seen fail, the marriages we’ve seen have great success, the marriage that we are in. Every one of those marriages had one thing in common.
What All Marriage Have In Common
Marriage is made up of individuals who have a life, history, hopes, failures, dreams, and scars. Those individuals, who have issues of their own, must come together as one and work on the issue we lovingly refer to as marriage.
As an individual, life is hard. It’s full of decisions and choices with consequences. Our moods affect the way we feel so we can tend to be indecisive. We may not really know what we want in life. Or, we may know and have a tunnel vision towards the goal.
When Two People Come Together
When two people who have lives of their own come together in marriage they are saying that they are one. But the reality is that they are not one. They are two, who must work as one. That is hard.
I like to imagine marriage as a three legged race. It’s funny to watch from a distance and it may feel full of excitement at first but it’s not easy. You have to give up a sense of your control to the other person that is tied together with you.
With Out The Rope
If we stay on that mindset of a three legged race it’s easy to argue that we aren’t physically tied down with each other and that’s true. But then the argument opens up that without the rope acting as one entity is made rather difficult. Because with a rope, you are given an instant reminder that you can not move a certain way without the other person’s consent. Without the rope that reminder is delayed until a consequence of your action is made known. You can continue down your own path with little to no affect on the other partner in the marriage until issues arise. Then accusations arise that you didn’t take the other spouse into consideration, and those acquisitions would be correct. Because, you are not one body but two. You may have made a covenant with your spouse saying that you behave as one, but you are physically two.
Developing A Mental Rope
In order to develop a mental rope you must be willing to let go of the idea that you are one. You must be willing to surrender your fate into the arms of your spouse. You must be willing to transform the way that you think into always asking the question “how will this affect my partner?”. This is no easy task and if both partners can not develop the mental rope than that bond will be weak and will eventually break under pressure. Both partners must be willing to work together, as one, when they are in fact two. For this reason, marriage is hard.
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