My marriage is not putting anyone in eminent physical or emotional danger. It’s just not working out. Why should I make it work?
Because marriage is endangered. We campaign for endangered rhinos and leopards. We defend threatened turtles and dolphins. We grieve the loss of native arts of indigenous people groups. It’s time to fight for the vanishing institution called marriage. God instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden. He saw that it was good for a man to have a companion. He sanctioned marriage at His first miracle. Marriage is His great metaphor for explaining the relationship between Christ and the church. It’s worth fighting for. The very institution of marriage is under attack both aggressively and subtly. Aggressively, marriage is being re-defined by popular culture. We can only speculate how marriage will be defined or to what extent traditional marriage will impact the next generation. Subtly, marriage is being set aside in favor of co-habiting. “In a relationship” has become equally acceptable and at times even preferable to the traditional, narrow definition of marriage.
If the institution of marriage as ordained by God is worth fighting for, then that means my marriage is worth fighting for. In a sense, failing to work on my marriage undermines all marriages. If I can make my marriage work, I must silence any thoughts of wanting out. I will not let the institution of marriage pass from prominence on my watch. Preserving the institution of marriage on the sheer basis of my core beliefs about matrimony starts with making my marriage work.
Because it may heal. Marriage is a living, moving, breathing relationship entered into by living, moving, breathing individuals. When I can heal, or when my spouse can heal, the marriage can heal. In nature, healing occurs when the wounded feel the pain, find nourishment, safety, protection, and relief from the destruction. Through our Marriage Helper workshop, our Marriage Recovery video series for marriages hurt by infidelity, counseling, introspection, personal research, and/or God’s divine intervention, marriage partners can diagnose the root cause of their pain. Along the way, my spouse and I may be subjected to some bad counseling. But at its worst, it can be something we did together. Other counseling sessions may be life changing.
Partners can seek out personal or relationship antioxidants and nourishment. They can heal. The relationship may become the whole marriage I have always wanted. Giving ourselves, our partners, and our marriages the time and environment to heal may require staying “trapped” in a relationship that feels like it is destroying me, my kids, my finances, my reputation, and my future. I may want out, just so I can feel hope, so I can have 24 hours of trust, instead of months or years of violation.
With all the pain, why should I make my marriage work when everything inside me is shouting, “Get out!”?
My marriage can change because my spouse and I can change.
Because I made a commitment. I stood in the presence of God and witnesses and said I would stay married. At the altar that day, there’s no way I could anticipate what Satan would throw at us in his attempt to destroy our marriage. There was no way I could assess how damaging my baggage or my spouse’s baggage would become. However, if I had known, I still would have vowed to stand together and fight it. Now that I have experienced Satan’s attacks and the combined weight of our baggage, it’s not playing fair to quit working and get out.
Because I live for others. Christ is my example. “He humbled Himself and became obedient.” My marriage impacts scores of other people—most immediately, my spouse and children. In our independent live-for-myself society, we tend to focus on our happiness, our convenience, our opportunities, our finances, and our dignity. The thought that I would make a marriage work for my children, well, yes, some people do that; but make my marriage work for my in-laws? My church? My neighborhood? My mortgage company? Really?
“Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.” (I Corinthians 10:24)
The message of the 21st Century is, “I’m not about to drudge through a miserable, one-sided marriage that isn’t benefiting me and mine.” The mere mention of staying married for our parents or for the mortgage company borders on the absurd.
The reality: stable, whole, healthy marriages make our communities better, our workplaces are better, our kids’ classrooms better, our churches better, and our country better. They make us better. Why? Because God designed us, and God designed marriage. We’re not going to come up with a better plan than God had. We are never going to experience the beneficial overflow of marriage if we allow ourselves to give up on a marriage that still merits some work.
Work out or get out? No matter how trapped or hurt you feel today, you still have the power to make that decision. I pray that your eyes will be enlightened and that you will know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glory, and the power that raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:18-20).
P.S. – If your marriage is in danger of separation or divorce, call us at (866) 903-0990 to speak with someone or use the form below to request more information about our Marriage Helper workshop for troubled marriages. We can help you save your marriage even in cases of infidelity, loss of trust, anger, sexual problems, and other issues. (If you’re thinking your spouse would never come, contact us by phone or the form below and we’ll tell you what others who felt the same way did to get their spouses there.) We will keep everything you tell us completely confidential. Our motivation is to help you determine if this workshop is right for you and your particular situation. We also have solutions for couples who can’t attend the workshop.