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Making Marriage Matter Again

Are You Unhappy In Your Marriage?

Remember this?

I, ____, take you, ____, to be my (husband/wife). I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. I, ____, take you, ____, for my lawful (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

Are you unhappy in your marriage?

You’ve been married 15, 20, 30 years or more, or maybe less and you are miserable in your marriage. You feel like you are living a life sentence. Your home is in turmoil, it’s a living hell, constant arguing, bickering, fussing, cussing, yelling, accusing, complaining, name calling, crying. And when this is not happening, there is the silent treatment, ignoring, avoiding like a plague. Your single, divorced (in some cases unhappy/bitter) “girlfriends” are always inviting you to “hang out” for a drink, shopping, get away trips, cruises. Your single, divorced “have all the time in the world” “boys” are always inviting you for a drink, watch a game, golfing, play cards. However, your response is never “not this time, my spouse and I have other plans” or “let me check with my spouse to see if we have something planned”. Instead, there is no hesitation, you are always available and ready to go. Or you are always working late, on a business trip, you’ve joined every club, group, organization, church ministry to spend as little time at home. Or the kid(s) consume all of your time so you don’t have to deal with the mess at home. Or both are doing your own thing and living separate lives, living in the same house only because of the kids, can’t afford to leave, fear, etc.

Ok, so you are unhappy, the question is “Why?”

The truth is, when one person is unhappy, inevitably your spouse is too. Even though, there are some spouses that are not affected because they are aloof/clueless and go their merry way not realizing that there is a situation that needs attention. Real talk — unhappiness just doesn’t happen — there is a reason, a root cause. It takes something or things, or event or series of events to produce this feeling that has the potential of snowballing out of control. Let’s explore some possible reasons. Some of you got married for the wrong reasons, were never in-love, ignored obvious signs therefore a strong foundation was never established. Some of you have grown apart, fell out of love, changed emotionally, spiritually, physically and your partner can’t or don’t want to deal with it, and there is physical/mental abuse. There is also lack of trust, constant accusation, insecurities, infidelity, affairs, jealousy, too much controlling, disagreements on how to run the household, finances, raise children, caring for parents, etc. Then there are some of you that started on the wrong foot: wanting to live a single married life, too independent, never replaced “me” with “we” (my money, my account, my car, my house, my kids (if blending families), etc.), friends/family constant interference, mama-papa drama, lies, etc. therefore that “oneness” was never fostered and never came to fruition.

In my humble opinion, it all sums-up to: (1) lack of love and respect. “So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33. Honestly, some men don’t know how to love their wives, and some wives are just outright disrespectful to their husbands. (2) not understanding your role and each other’s role. When you understand your role as a wife and you understand your role as a husband, understand and respect each other’s role, understand how they intertwine and complement each other, you will be in one accord, consensus, you will build a united front that will withstand all life challenges . (3) and not knowing the true meaning of “oneness”. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one”. Genesis 2:24. And ladies, this applies to you too! Please know that oneness goes far beyond the physical, it also involves emotional and spiritual oneness. If you want to maintain the integrity of your marriage, keep it between you and your spouse, not between you, your spouse and everybody else.

So what should you do?

Stay and continue living in misery (because I don’t want to be alone, start all over, save face, won’t be able to maintain my current lifestyle, don’t’ want to hurt my partner, fear for my life) or leave (and this doesn’t guarantee happiness). Well, it takes two to make a marriage work. If one is not interested, then this makes it very difficult for things to get better. So there has to be consensus, willingness, and commitment. Both must want it in the same degree, not one wanting it more than the other.

How do you rekindle what is lost or wasn’t there in the first place?

Communication, you have to talk to each other – honest talk about things that really matter – and listen carefully to each other. And this “talk” can’t happen when you are having an “episode” because everything said comes out wrong and is received wrong. This “talk” has to happen when you are both cool, calm and collective, and in a receptive mode. Talk about how you feel, what you like or don’t like, your interest, dreams, passion, strength/weakness/limitations, your expectations, your now and future life together. There are couples who have lived together for years and don’t really know each other “intimately” (and I’m not talking about physical). I’m going to say this and some of you may not want to hear it, but sometimes you need a third party intervention (marriage counselor, pastor, or friend (make sure this friend doesn’t have a hidden agenda)) to lead/moderate an open, honest and civil discussion and that can give objective, unbiased, honest opinions, suggestions and recommendations. You have to be very careful with using family members or friends in this capacity because more times than not, their advice will be based on their feelings for you or their bitterness from bad experiences which they never got over.

Respect, this is very important. Don’t dismiss, undermine, ignore, belittle what I say, do or feel. Don’t embarrass me in front of others or call me ugly names or insult me/put me down or put your hands on me in any way, shape or form. Love me, appreciate who I am and the things I do for you, be sensitive to my needs/feelings/emotions, be there for me when I need a shoulder to cry on, a hug, a word of encouragement, be supportive, be my confidant, tell me when I’m wrong in a caring way, have my best interest at heart, be my lover and my best friend. As a Christian, I will tell you that with God everything is possible. And if you really want to salvage your marriage and experience “true oneness”, let God be the center of your life and of your marriage. God will bless you, your spouse and your marriage beyond your wildest dreams! I can attest to this.

For more on relationships and related scriptures, read my book A Time To Reflect pages 203, 207, 211, 215 and 257.

Deborah W. Morison rededicated her life to God in 1999. Author of “A Time To Reflect” and a Christian Life Coach. God has gifted her with wisdom and good old common sense which she uses to help people get through difficult times.