Hi. Have you noticed how many people nowadays (especially among believers) are faking this, “I’m so happy in marriage… my husband/wife is the best in the whole world” thingy? It is pathetic; it’s just like ‘dying in silence’. Inside, a wounded caged animal but outside, a smiling, loving spouse. God help us oh because marriage isn’t meant to be endured, it’s meant to be enjoyed. Yes! I’m not saying that every day is some sort of smooth sailing bliss; there are down times, yes but the down times shouldn’t overwhelm the good times!
Almost every week, I hear a tale or two of a ‘marriage gone wrong’; from the pulpit to the congregation! Adultery. Separation. Malice. Beatings. Contempt. Withholding funds. You name it. And I ask, “Where did we go wrong? Could it be the foundation?”
Love. Marriage. Together forever. Happy. Virtually every young girl/boy’s dream. And can you blame us? Some time ago, I was driving to work and I slowed down to allow two young schoolgirls to cross the road. From their uniform and appearance, I’m guessing they were in the Junior Secondary School; perhaps JSS3. I smiled when I saw the romance novel one of them was holding. It was nostalgic; reminding me quite a lot of myself many years ago. I was and still am, an avid reader. I used to read any and everything!
OK, I remember when I was about eight or nine years old, I was reading a novel I got from a classmate or so and I saw a ‘big word’ – venereal disease – I went confidently to my mother and asked, ‘Mummy what is a venereal disease?’ And she asked where I heard it from and I made bold to say that I read it in a book. Quietly, she collected the book from me and read it. A few days later, as I was leaving for school, she gave it back to me with a curt, ‘return it.’ You can be sure that a serious, heart-to-heart talk followed a few days later. I am chagrinned to say that I went on to read a lot more romance novels as I grew older. So I became quite acquainted with the tall, dark, broad-chested, muscular and sometimes stubble-bearded guys of romance novels. From what I read, love was (or was that lust?) boy meets girl, girls play hard to get, throw in a little jealousy over another girl- most times an ex, a small fight and then get them back together, happily ever after. Sorry, I forgot to add the sex- there was always a lot of it going on with the handsome/beautiful, flawless characters. And I had all of these building up in my mind as love/marriage from my early teens.
So, did all of that prepare me for marriage? On the contrary! I think it gave me a warped idea of what love/marriage truly is. I’m grateful to God that I had a mind/head/heart reset later on. Don’t get me wrong, love is beautiful but we have to consciously prepare for it; although I still think that nothing quite prepares you for marriage, like marriage itself. Maybe if we were better prepared we would have better outcomes. Perhaps if we had been told that marriage like every other profit-yielding venture is hard work, we would have laughed them to scorn. I mean, what is hard work when you have love?
Were you told that there would be times when you ‘fall out of love’ and all you want to do is go someplace else where ‘this man/woman’ would never find you again? Was it mentioned that he may one day lift his voice at you or go to sleep/watch football when you are battling all alone with dinner, the kids and housekeeping? Or that the once perfectly, beautiful lady with a ‘body to die’ for would have times when that body is bloated and not so ‘appealing’? Did you ever imagine that the sweet, quiet lady who once thought you were perfect may very well raise her voice too at you or find faults in everything you do? How about the times when she was too busy/tired to notice that you want to make love?
I mean, before the marriage everything was lovey-dovey; the calls, texts, love notes, hand holding and just staring into one another’s eyes. Now, it’s hurt upon hurt and because you love him/her so much, he/she has the power to hurt you even more than anyone else. And the good part…you are expected to forgive! So, there goes your ‘I don’t take rubbish/bullshit’. Only then do you finally realize that you take rubbish? LOL! You have to. Cause as you taking, you are also inadvertently giving.
If you ask me, all Churches should organize marriage seminars frequently and should have seasoned marriage counselors readily available for interested couples. Why should one die in silence or cover such deep hurt/pain up? Why should be I ashamed or afraid to talk to someone about what I am going through in order to get help?
(Psalm 32:3; When I kept silence, my bones wasted away Through my groaning all the day long. ASV) Many couples are struggling, just going through the motions, keeping face and appearances but no spark, no fire, no love. Just pain, yet doing the ‘best couple’ stuff for the world to see and applaud. What about you, honey? Don’t you want to be truly happy? Forever is such a long, long time to be unhappy. There must be some reason why you fell in love and married him/her in the first place! Yeah, you are down but you need to get up and stay up! No, I don’t have all the answers, not by a long shot but can I make a few suggestions?
- Talk to him/her. Communicate. Say how you really feel, bare your soul. TALK! It is tiring to keep saying the same thing, I know but never close the communication. Keep talking.
- Manage your expectations. Seriously, sometimes because of the toxic stuff we read before we went in, we have some warped thinking. Search yourself sincerely, are you expecting him/her to play Jesus’ role?
- Never be ashamed to talk to someone. You may need to go outside your own sphere, but whatever you do, find someone who sincerely cares about you and your marriage and share!
- Talk to God. There’s absolutely nothing you can’t tell Him – the Author of marriage and the Giver of love, joy, peace and all good things. He can make it right!
I’m still learning and I love to see genuinely happy couples. I am a romantic like that. Yeah, I’m sure you already knew that. If you’ve been through tough times in marriage and you overcame, please share how (anonymously if you like). I bet you, you will be helping many couples.
In His love,
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