* for better or worse …

Posted on July 21st, 2009 by melinda in making marriage work

making marriage work

part 2.

I would like to start this particular post with a disclaimer.  If you don’t know this, I just want to make sure I am being up front and honest with anyone reading.  My marriage to Richard is my 2nd marriage.  I was married before and that marriage ended in divorce.  If I could share one thing about divorce it would be this … I wouldn’t wish it on someone I hated.  But (there is always a but isn’t there?) I also want to be very very clear about several issues concerning divorce:  a) I would never encourage anyone to stay in an abusive relationship of any kind.  Even if a marriage is not per say healthy, marriage should never be harmful.  If you are being abused physically or emotionally, I would seriously encourage you to seek help.  I am not saying that God does not choose to heal those relationships, I am saying get yourself and/or your children in a safe environment and then make whatever decisions need to be made from a safe, healthy environment.  b) sometimes, no matter how hard you try or how much you want a marriage to last, it doesn’t.  Marriage is a two person partnership (3 if you count God) and you alone cannot build nor save any marriage.  If your spouse or ex spouse is not willing to do whatever it takes to make the marriage work, then you simply cannot do it alone.  You were not put on this earth to be anyone’s door mat.  I am not saying that at the first sign of conflict or disagreement, you fold up your tent and head back to mama & daddy’s.  Remember marriage is a lot of hard work and compromise.  I am saying that you deserve to be treated with value, love & respect.  c) please note that I am no relationship expert, I had a failed marriage and nearly a 2nd failed marriage.  I have no degree nor training in relationship advice or counseling.  what you read here are simply my opinions and what has worked or not worked for me in my marriage.  As always, I hope you will free to disagree with me on any of my opinions expressed here.  I will not be offended and I would encourage you to jump in and comment with your own thoughts and/or advice.  Your opinions could prove to be very helpful to someone reading just as easliy as mine are.  I am simply providing a place for discussion, without trying to force my beliefs or thoughts on anyone. 

There are several areas of intrest I personally have concerning the meaning of “for better or worse”.  When does the worse become enough to end a marriage?  How do we know we’ve gone from better to worse?  What causes a marriage to begin the slide downhill from healthy to unhealthy and how do we grab hold of something solid and scrape our way back up the healthy side of marriage? 

I’m going to start with my 1st question: I think that in our society divorce has become so common place that we as married folk feel like most anything is reason enough to end the marriage … eg: he put the toilet paper on the wrong way, or better yet, he didn’t put it on at all.  She’s fat, he’s lazy, he brings home junk cars, she blogs too much … get the picture?  In my opinion those are tiny obsticles in the maze we call marriage … not deal breakers.  I see things much more serious like unfaithfulness, abuse & addictions as being far more solid reasons a marriage may end.  But (there’s that but again) even those issues can be worked out in some circumstances.  Now granted, that will be a major undertaking and maybe even an impossilbe one, if both partners are not willing to make the sacrifices needed.  If both partners are not willing, it is my opinion that the marriage should not continue.   God nor anyone else expects us to keep ourselves in an unhealthy unfixable situation.  Sometimes we just have to walk away, but only after we have done our part to try to salvage the relationship. 

Moving along to question #2.  I’m not really sure there is a definative answer to knowing when a marriage starts to alter it’s course from better to worse.  I can share with you what happened in my life.  We stopped communicating.  Our goals became different, we grew in different directions, our priorities were no longer the same.  Basically, I took one road, he chose the other.  Do I think at that time in my life I did everything possible to save that marriage?  Probably not, but I’m also not sure I had the wisdom or desire to even begin to make the effort.  We went from being a couple to being two people who lived in the same house.  It didn’t happen over night and I am possitive I didn’t realize it was happening at all.  I just thought that’s what happened when people had been married for a while.  Looking back, I think there were plenty of signs, I just didn’t take the time to stop, recognize or admit to any of them.  Before long, it was too late and we were in the middle of a divorce. 

And now the last question … at the time my first marriage was ending, I had no clue how to find anything solid to grab on to stop the ball of seperation and divorce that was quickly gaining speed as it rolled down the hill of complete destruction and devestation.  And I didn’t do a thing to stop it.  Nor did he.  And it ended, we were divorced.  As for my 2nd marriage … that is a completely different story.  I fought like tooth and nail to save this marriage.  So did he.  I grabbed on to the one thing I knew for sure was solid in my life, my relationship with Jesus Christ.  I prayed, I begged God, I sought advice from other married Christians and I got some good advice I didn’t ask for along the way.  Please note, that I realize everyone who reads this blog  does not have the same beliefs that I have and to be fair and honest, some of those very people were as equally encouraging, insightful and helpful to me.  Fortunately for me, I also happened to be married to someone who wasn’t a quitter either.  He didn’t quit on himself and he didn’t quit on our marriage.  He stepped up and became the man he needed to be, by taking full responsibility for his actions and making the changes that needed to be made.  I, on the other hand, had to step back and let go of trying to be in control of everything and everybody.  I am not going to lie, this was not a simple quick fix, it wasn’t easy and sometimes still isn’t an easy row to hoe, but I will say, it is certainly worth the hard work.

Please feel free to jump in here … I would really like to hear your thoughts, opinions and experiences.  If you don’t feel open to sharing on our blog, please feel free to email me.

to be continued …


5 Comments on “* for better or worse …”

  1. Jodie

    Melinda…it took alot of courage to talk about this subject.

  2. Jodie

    please read your e-mail.

  3. Amanda Lail

    great post!

  4. Jodie

    Melinda please read your e-mail.

  5. Marjorie Markham

    Melinda, you are so right on a lot of points to be discussed. I, for one, could tell my marriage was in trouble even though from the outside it didn’t appear that way to others. Divorce was never on my mind but it happened. Somewhere along the way, my ex became an alcoholic even though he would never admit it. Infidelity on his part was also found. I tried to get him to go to counseling, but to no avail. My only other choice for me was divorce. Not something I wanted, its what I got.

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