I have a story to tell.
This week my husband and I argued about the state of our marriage, what it means to be married, and the effort it takes to keep a marriage healthy. It quickly became apparent that we have different ideas of marriage and what it takes to work together to make it last. For instance, it is important to me that we spend time together as a couple away from the distraction of our children, careers, and other outside influences. He on the other hand wants to keep living his life carefree as if he weren’t married and doing what he wants to do, or in his words, “doing him”.
So then I asked him the million dollar question. “Do you have anyone in your life whose relationship exemplifies a solid marriage? What examples of healthy marriages have you witnessed?” His answer was, “none.”
Ding, ding, ding!
And guess what, neither did I. His parents divorced when he was a toddler. My parents never married. Growing up, neither one of us was close to family members who had lasting marriages.
It was as an adult, when I started to observe friends and relatives with healthy marriages. I have developed friendships with couples who have been married for a decade or more (i.e. 10, 20, 30 years…). I started to seek relationship advice from them while I was serial dating and even now I turn to them for marriage advice.
A couple of months ago, I read an article (of course I can’t remember where) and I wrote this quote down: “Learn from those who’ve been before you.” And it is so true. I have learned from my friends and relatives that marriage is not easy and you have to continuously work at it to make it “fireproof.” I have learned from their mistakes and I have learned from their successes. These marriages have not been without their issues, from infidelity, to being married to a spouse in the military, to financial problems, to raising children, etc., but they all have one thing in common. They overcame their issues and worked together to preserve their marriages and continue to grow together.
I look to them to help me keep things in perspective and to bounce ideas off of. They tell me when I need to bump my breaks and rethink ideals or when I am absolutely right in my desires. I hope to include my husband in these friendships so that we can grow together, but at the moment, he has no interest.
“Every married couple should have at least two strong believing couples with whom they can share encouragement, strength, and the richness of their lives.” – from The Power of a Praying Wife.