Over the years, there have been several questions that have surfaced on my blog more than any others. Though spoken in different ways from different people at different times, these questions usually go something like this:
“What if I’m the only one putting any effort into my marriage?”
“What if my spouse never gives, but always takes?”
“I’m so lonely in my marriage. I want to call it quits. What should I do?”
For some, calling it quits means living in the same home, but giving up on any hope of a healthy marriage. For others, calling it quits means separation or even divorce. Before traveling down one of those roads, I’d like to remind you of 3 vital things.
1. Remember your vows.
“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish ‘til death do us part.” The day you and your spouse were married was the day you promised all these things as you stood before God, before your family, and before your friends. Remember, this commitment you made was meant to be lifelong, and calling it quits would break that unconditional promise you once made with all your heart.
2. Remember what marriage is.
Marriage was never meant to be a contract to be broken, but a covenant to be cherished. Here is the clear difference between a covenant and a contract.
Marriage was never meant to be a contract to be broken, but a covenant to be cherished.
|Based on unconditional love between God, a husband, and a wife||Based on conditional consideration between two people|
|Sacrificial Action (i.e. I’ll do it no matter what you do)||Reciprocal Transaction (e.g. If you do this, then & only then I will do that)|
|Based on Mutual Commitment||Based on Mutual Distrust|
|Seeks to Give||Seeks to Get|
|For Life||For Now|
In a nutshell, a contract is all about what you get. A covenant is all about what you give.
3. Remember the purpose of marriage.
In 8 Mistakes I’ve Made in Marriage, I shared that in my early years of marriage, I felt like an important part of Susan’s “duty” as my wife was to make me happy. I was a bit more focused on me than on us. I didn’t think so at the time, but now looking back I relied on Susan to lift me up when I was down, to help me upon command, and to meet my physical needs when called upon…just to name a few.
Did you ever think, “Once I get married, then I’ll finally be happy”? It doesn’t take much experience in marriage to discover that this simply isn’t true. The only person who can ever provide ultimate joy for you is God, not your spouse. Perhaps realizing this truth means changing your expectations of your spouse. Ultimately, marriage is not about happiness, but about holiness. It’s a holy union between God, a husband, and a wife—a union established to glorify God.
Are you thinking about calling it quits in your marriage? Have these things I’ve reminded you of helped? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.