Having been married for 53 years, my wife and I both agree that marriage can be hard. We’ve had our ups and downs, our good days, and not so good days, as well as many great days. We have no unkind words or thoughts about those who do not stay married, simply because we do not know everyone's situation. We are grateful we have remained married these many years, but agree it is not an easy task.
Of course, the Lord never promised everything would be easy.
Every single day is a choice to stay married. Sometimes it is not our choice. On any given day, either partner can walk out the door and choose not to come back.
The statistics seem to reveal that half walk and half stay.
There are more reasons than I could ever begin to think of why people walk away, some legitimate most not.
Here is what I do know. Humans are wired to need the following relational connections in their lives:
In the very beginning, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Therefore, marriage provides for someone with whom you plant your roots, create a foundation for your marriage, build your home, your family, and your finances together. It also provides a lover, someone with whom you feel physical chemistry and a desire to share physical intimacy, as well as someone with whom you share emotional love and affection, and feel safe in revealing your deepest, most vulnerable self.
And from this perspective, the fact that 50 percent of couples stay together seems rather remarkable.
By the way, no matter how fantastic your spouse may be, or how hard we try to be the best partner we can be, it is nearly impossible for one person to meet all our needs, all the time. That is why God has provided friends with which we can share our emotional needs. One who will listen but not always agree with our discontent and dissatisfaction. One who will speak the truth in love to us.
I will admit the day-to-day hustle and bustle of work, kids, and life has a way of draining us of our time together for fun, good conversation, and our need for satisfying intimacy.
So you’re feeling exhausted, bored, uninspired, and unsexy or sexy but unnoticed. These are not good or acceptable reasons to walk away from our viewpoint.
Therefore, talking, listening, understanding, compromising, arguing, and sacrificing is part of a healthy and lasting relationship.
Marriage can be difficult at times. It is hard because life can be hard. Relationships are hard. Parenting is hard. Work is hard. And people are complicated. We tend to hide our weaknesses and vulnerabilities—our fear, loneliness, shame, and confusion. And we aren’t very good at talking about the parts of ourselves that we don’t fully understand or try to ignore.
So what does it take for a married couple to remain in the 50 percent that stays together? There is definitely no one size fits all prescription. There are situations when a partner and/or the children are in mental, physical or psychological danger and it is essential for one partner to leave the abusive partner. However, for most of us married folks, it’s about accepting your spouse’s imperfections and blind spots. Furthermore, individuals evolve throughout their lives. Life with your spouse feels very different as a newly married, spunky 20- or 30-something than it does as an exhausted 40- or 50-something with kids and a mortgage.
But with a whole lot of work, a willingness of both partners to be honest with each other and themselves, and a strong foundation based on God, love, trust, and commitment, marriages can usually “survive” the times when one or both of the partners are not “feeling the love.”