4 Reasons Marriages Struggle
We have the opportunity to travel and speak a lot about marriage. Most of our content doesn’t come from information we’ve read in books or gained in a classroom. The majority of it has been learned through failure and experience. The thing we’ve noticed as we’ve spoke to thousands of couples, is that none of us are alone.
There have been times, sometimes seasons of our marriage that it has been a flat out struggle. Every marriage will struggle. It is the nature of relationships.
Conversations are forced. Decisions are difficult. Synergy is missing. Arguments are frequent. Resentment is high. Intimacy is non-existent. Struggle moves from something we experience to something we learn to live with.
Here are four reasons marriages struggle:
1. Our commitment to change isn’t greater than our desire to change.
Everyone wants to change. I have not met a person that didn’t indicate a desire to change. We all want to change. But when our commitment to change isn’t greater than our desire to change, we will stay the same. I want to lose weight. I’ve wanted to lose weight for five years. If losing weight was based on desire, I’d be at my high school weight…because I really, really want to. Losing weight is based on commitment, and my commitment hasn’t outweighed (pun intended) my desire, so my weight has gone up and down. If you want your marriage to change, you can’t just desire change, you have to be committed to it.
2. We want to be right more than we want to do what is right.
Saturday night Trisha and I got into an argument about money. As we were arguing, my rationale and my position was clearly off base. I made no sense. But I was tired and I was not going to lose. My desire in that moment was to be right…I wasn’t backing down. So often in our marriage, we choose making our point or being right in an argument over doing what is right for our marriage: admitting being wrong; forgiving; asking for forgiveness. Our pride and our ego create more and more distance between us and our spouse. Maybe you are struggling because you always have to be right?
3. When we are there, we aren’t really there.
This one hurts as I type it. Maybe our marriage struggles because when we are with our spouse, we are really with our phone. Maybe our relationship with our kids is hurting right now because when we are home, we are really still at work. Being fully present when we have time with our family is the greatest gift we can give them. Turning off our phone in the evening. Eating dinner together. Going for a walk. Those are things that help when we are struggling.
4. We ask God to change our spouse more than we ask Him to change us.
I know my marriage is struggling when I’m more concerned about what God needs to change in Trisha than I am in my own heart. When I begin to focus on all that is wrong with her; the things that get on my nerves; the things I wish God would change in her…I completely shut off the work that God longs to do in me. When I begin to pray for my Trisha and ask God to change me, there are times that He does change her. But He always changes my heart. He always answers that prayer. Maybe we are struggling in our marriage because we are really struggling in our relationship with God.
Struggle in any relationship is a given. Struggle doesn’t have be constant.
God longs for you to have an incredible marriage. An incredible marriage isn’t something that we drift into, it is something we choose.