When “I Do” Feels More Like “I’m Done”
No one gets married expecting failure. No bride stands in a chapel full of family and friends, imagining how much she will despise her husband in ten years. No groom gazes into the eyes of his bride, daydreaming of one day living in the same house, but not really sharing life.
We don’t aim for failed marriages, but the reality is that more than half of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Despite our dreams, despite our expectations, despite our intentions, one out of two marriages goes from “I Do” to “I’m Done.”
Maybe you are there right now. You’re not ready to hire an attorney, but you’ve resigned in your heart that this is as good as your marriage will ever be.
It is easier to settle for what you have than to dream about what could be. It’s less painful that way. So many couples experience a loss of hope and a longing for something to change, but convinced that change will not come. Your “I Do” is starting to feel more like “I’m done.”
What can you do when those feelings come? How can you change a marriage that seems unchangeable?
Here are some things that have been lifelines for our marriage:
1. Pray this Prayer
“God, change my heart to be the husband/wife you desire me to be.” This prayer is a game changer. This prayer will not be one you will want to pray. But it is the only prayer that you have a part in seeing answered. You can pray for God to change your spouse. But you don’t have the capacity to change them. You have the capacity to allow God to change you. As God changes you, by default your marriage will change. This prayer is the first step into hope for any marriage.
2. Tell Your Spouse
I can’t tell you how many couples we’ve met with and they have been feeling like their marriage was hurting; their love was wavering; they were questioning their desire to be married for weeks, months sometimes years. Nothing good grows in darkness. You aren’t going to recapture your love for your spouse by keeping your feelings from them. Honesty is the only path to restored intimacy. You will not see anything changed in your marriage by not talking to your spouse.
3. Ask this Question
“Am I willing to do the things that caused us to fall in love in the first place?” Remember when you started dating? Remember staying up late at night talking? Remember arguing over who was going to hang up first? Remember looking for a dark street to pull the car over and make out? Remember the cheesy poem you wrote him? Remember when all of that stopped? Maybe you need to start dating again. Maybe you need to write her a love note. Maybe you need to put the kids to bed early, light some candles and fire up some Boyz II Men. Doing what caused you to fall in love will help keep you in love.
Marriage is hard. But it is possible to move from “I’m Done” back to “I Do”.
P.S. We offer some practical and helpful marriage resources that will encourage you to be intentional about your marriage. You can find them here.