I seem to have gotten to that stage in life where the marriages of my peers are falling apart. This has inevitably led me to look at my marriage. Life has not been plain sailing in our marriage, especially when the children were small. We watched a film recently, 'Marley and Me', there is a scene in that when Jennifer Annistons character completely loses the plot with her husband. They have young children and are both fighting against the feelings that a change and giving up of roles brings on. It is the closest interpretation of one of our fights that I had ever seen - quite frightful.
So why is my marriage still strong 15 years on. I have learnt many lessons these are just a five that immediately come to mind:
- Accepting that there will be rough times and setting your mind on resolving to battle through is essential. Even if this means writing down the pros and cons of making your marriage work and purposely ensuring you write more pros (this might be burying your head in the sand but in a crisis it has worked for me).
- Make your partner your best friend. I have been blessed with some lovely female friendships through my marriage, however it was only after the breakdown of one that I realised how destructive this relationship had actually been to my marriage. If the person you want to text, chat and joke with most in the world is not your partner, maybe it is time to re-evaluate that friendship. For the last couple of years I have deepened friendships but now have much clearer boundaries that I am willing to abide by to protect the best friend status of my partner.
- Saying sorry, repeatedly if necessary, it's a biblical principle and though we might not always feel sorry, saying it is more likely to get us to a place where we mean it than not saying it will.
- Laughing, we have managed to get into some really silly arguments in the past and it has been good to revisit those times and laugh about them. They won't stop happening but it's much harder to have an argument about something you know you are going to end up laughing about.
- Learn each others love language (Gary Chapman). This has been so helpful to us, when your love languages are very different (as ours are) it is very easy to think that you are showing your partner love by speaking your love language to them and not theirs. Since discovering the things that really make us feel loved even when we are struggling it is easy to show each other small acts of kindness in the appropriate language.
The fall out from broken relationships seems to be immense, it doesn't seem to matter what age any children from the relationship are, damage occurs in one way or another. My husbands parents were about to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary when they split! I would love to know what you think about marriage, what has worked for you? What hasn't worked for you? Are there relationships that get so broken that they cannot be repaired? I do hope no-one reading this feels condemned in anyway about their relationships, that is not my intention, I am just trying to get my head around a subject I seem to be surrounded by.