Don’t bail because there's trouble; be patient in becoming

Marriage is not for sissies - it can be hard. In our experience as Certified Life Coaches and Christian counselors, Vanessa and I have been privy to so many stories of dysfunction and brokenness, so many tales of lost love.

The couple had only been married for a few months when they had a disagreement.

The distraught wife immediately went to Facebook and posted that her marriage was over.

Thankfully, she was convinced to delete the post the next day, but the husband had been wounded by her action. For a man, reputation and respect are of great significance and her public action cast a glaring spotlight on a matter that should have stayed private. They were early in their marriage and they simply had a disagreement that led to harsh words.

They soon recovered. The marriage wasn’t over, and they lived to fight another day (pun intended).

Marriage is not for sissies - it can be hard. In our experience as Certified Life Coaches and Christian counselors, Vanessa and I have been privy to so many stories of dysfunction and brokenness, so many tales of lost love.

We are grateful to have helped some couples regain their footing. One of the lessons we have learned is that couples have to be patient with one another. To this day, we remain on guard and include ourselves in that equation.

It seems that in today’s world, more so than ever, couples are willing to part company so quickly.

In a marriage that always features two imperfect human beings, wires will get crossed, hurts ensue, even if someone has the best of intentions. Wounds will occur.

But to walk away so quickly is a more frequent happening of the last 54 years. In 1969, then-governor of California Ronald Reagan approved legislation that allowed for a no-fault divorce. Reagan wanted to eliminate the need to fabricate spousal wrongdoing when someone wanted a divorce. Prior to that, it took time and effort to be awarded a divorce.

Nowadays, getting a divorce is not hard at all. And the road traveled to a divorce is also quite easy.

Here are some extreme instances of couples of who got divorced and why:

- A few years ago, a California woman left her husband of 22 years when she found out he had voted for Donald Trump.

- A 34-year-old man filed for divorce from his 28-year-old bride just days after the wedding when he saw her without makeup. They went to the beach, took a dip in the ocean, and the water washed away her makeup and false eyelashes.

- A 29-year-old woman reportedly divorced her husband because he wasn’t as crazy about the movie Frozen as she was.

- A couple from Saudi Arabia got divorced because the bride posted Snapchats at their wedding.

Absurd you say? Laughable? Unfortunately and sadly, yes it is. Divorce happens everyday to people who think they are smart and making good decisions.

Sometimes, wounds need time to breathe.

Social media has its benefits, but it can also be a liability. In the “old days,” I remember that seasoned (a nicer word for “old” ) couples advised younger couples not to share their business with every Tom, Dick, and Harry. And for that matter, with every Tasha, Diane, and Hilda!

Were they saying that we shouldn’t have confidantes? No, of course not. All of us need to have safe spaces and places and faces we can turn to when in need. Ideally, that first resource should be your spouse. Outside of the spouse, that resource should be known and trusted by you and the spouse. If the spouse doesn’t know or trust them, or isn’t getting to know or trust them, that’s a red flag. You should consider confiding in someone with whom your spouse trusts as well. I recoginize this advise doesn't apply to couples who are already in trouble in their marriage with trust and integrity issues underway.

Yes, marriage can be hard. But be patient with one another!

My paternal grandmother, Mrs. Willie Mae Hall, had a phrase she often invoked in her later years of life. She lived to be 88. Grandmother battled health issues the last 10 years of her life. She was in and out of hospitals and nursing facilities with a variety of ailments. She often said, “I’m not giving up.” And she never did. She maintained a positive outlook. To this day, we invoke the phrase she used until God called her to her eternal reward.

"I’m not giving up."

Is your marriage or another important relationship going through challenges? Buckle up and work through it. Don’t give up so quickly, so easily.

Think about it - melding and molding two people into one smoothly functioning unit can take a lifetime, and it often appears that God designed it that way.

Sometimes, the most beautiful and precious things go through a process to become what leaves onlookers entranced.

Think about diamonds and pearls – both are formed because of pressure and friction. Both take time to become.

In life and in our relationships, we will experience uncomfortable moments and seasons.

There is a time to turn and run, but there is also a time to stay, to endure, to learn, to grow. Don’t always run the other way.

If you stay, you too can become a pearl of great price.

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