This is the second post in a series on marriage (The first blog is here). Today I want to talk about commitment. If you want to stay married, you must be dead serious about not throwing in the towel, no matter how bad it gets (physical/emotional abuse aside). This must be a joint decision. You can’t keep a marriage intact if only one of you makes this commitment.
I have a friend who said he has open communication with his wife. They told each other that if they were ever unhappy with each other, that they would be upfront about it… and… his wife told him that if she was so unhappy that she wanted to leave, that she would tell him that too instead of having an affair. Now, I understand what they are trying to do, but what they’ve agreed to means nothing in terms of keeping their marriage intact. What they should be saying, is that no matter how unhappy they are, that they will never leave each other. Never. What??? Stay in a marriage if you’re unhappy? Yes!
I have a lot of friends who are from India. Many of them have arranged marriages. Most, but not all, are happy. Why? Because they decided to be happy. Happiness is a decision. I know what you’re thinking. But John, you don’t understand, my wife is a slob. My husband snores. My wife shops till she drops. My husband parks in front of the TV set all day Sunday watching football. My wife doesn’t know how to cook. She doesn’t want sex. He wants too much sex. He is insensitive. She is too emotional. He drinks too much. She sleeps too much. He spends all his time at work. She is demanding. He is too lenient with the kids. The list goes on and on.
If you don’t make a commitment, the odds are that you WILL get divorced.
There are so many excuses to get a divorce, but not many reasons.
This is very contrary to what American society is teaching us. Happiness is a choice.
Now – I understand that a relationship is composed of two people and that we all bring quirks to the marriage. To get beyond this, a couple has to agree to at least try to become better. Again – this is contrary to the “take me as I am” philosophy that we learn as we grow up. No… we should all be thinking how to become better.
Whatever your weaknesses, you should be working on overcoming them. Husbands, you shouldn’t be watching television all day. Wives, you shouldn’t be spending money you don’t have. I know, I’m being rather sexist by assigning certain weaknesses to women and men. They could of course belong to anyone, but you get the point. We should be working on our weaknesses. All of them.
So, to stay married for 25 years you not only have to make a commitment to never leave, but you also need to make a commitment to change. What really becomes difficult, is when one partner decides he or she doesn’t want to change. Then what? Then… you stay committed to the marriage. For better or worse. Those words weren’t thrown into the marriage vows by mistake. It is VERY easy to find the “worse” in our spouses. So easy today to say that you’re unhappy and leave. That is why marriage takes commitment.
During my marriage of 25 years, there were times when either Debbie or I wanted to leave. We were fed up with each other. Things were really bad at times. But….. we never threw in the towel. This month we’re going on a weekend get away to celebrate our 25 years together. Last night we had each other rolling on the floor laughing. We just had a great Christmas and New Years. We would have missed this time together, if someone along the line had decided enough was enough. You have to take the valleys along with the mountains.
Stay committed. Be willing to change.
All the best!
All the time!