Marriage is not easy. It is a commitment. The vows that we take, “for better or worse” in effect mean sticking it out through the good and bad times. However, society teaches us that if we don’t like something or someone, just change it. People often walk away from their marriage whenever it no longer suits their needs or no longer “feels” good. The thing is that we are all imperfect people so there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. There will absolutely be trials. There will be struggles. There will be difficult times, but there will also be good times. I’m going through a difficult time right now and have wondered if I should just leave because I don’t want to try anymore. It’s easier to give up then to work through it. Here are some reasons why I struggle with being married.
I was very young when I got married
I married my husband when I was just 18 years old. Looking back, I didn’t know any better. I hadn’t lived life. I definitely should have taken time to come into my own before meshing my life with someone else’s. Unfortunately, because I married so young, there are times when I feel strong resentment towards my husband and my situation. I do struggle with thoughts of what could have been if I waited or had taken a different road. I suppose this could happen at any age, but what I’ve learned is that love (for another person) alone is not enough to sustain a marriage. It goes much deeper than that.
Ok so kids are truly a blessing. I believe that wholeheartedly. We have 3 boys and my house is full of energy and chaos at times, but I love them all so very much and would do absolutely anything for them. However, in terms of marriage, kids definitely put a strain on the relationship. Kids require so much attention. I give so much to my children that I don’t have much left over for my husband. I understand the Christian principles that God comes first, then my spouse and then my kids. I agree. After all, my husband and I were together before kids came along and theoretically we’re going to be together after they leave us, so why is it that kids come in between us? Well practically speaking, they’re kids! They believe that everything revolves around them and their needs. For example, when my husband and I try to steal a few minutes alone in the kitchen to talk, then all of a sudden my kids are hungry and become impatient, or they need help in the bathroom, or they want to tell their story of how their day went. Yes, there are times where we explain to them that mommy and daddy are talking and they are to wait their turn, but try explaining this over and over and over to a 4 year old. After a while, you just give in to the kid so they can go on and continue playing. Or lets say we plan to watch a movie together after the kids have gone to bed. Well, going through the night time routine is exhausting and very time consuming. By the time we finally get through that, we are both tired (a lot of time my husband falls asleep in the kids room because the kids don’t stop talking) or we have started arguing with each other over the kids and then there goes our plans
I’m the stay at home parent
This goes along with having kids. We decided that I would stay home and take care of the kids. This is great because we don’t need to rely on other people to raise our kids. However, being a stay at home parent is draining. My husband works very long hours and he doesn’t have to deal with the routine of cleaning up constantly, cooking, changing diapers, being a chauffeur, running errands etc. He doesn’t know what it’s like to take care of kids all day without a break. Sometimes I have to wait all day to take a shower. Those showers are heavenly when you get to do it alone. Showering with kids still awake is such a chore. Whenever he does come home, he doesn’t understand why my mood isn’t chipper. He doesn’t understand why I so desperately want the kids to go to bed. When he comes home and the kids are still awake, he takes the time to play with them, prolonging their bed time, while I’m in the background yelling or on the verge of yelling that they need to go to bed! Then we start comparing whose day was more intense and who does more and it’s just one endless cycle. The times where we are able to get the kids to bed, we have two different ideas of what our evenings should look like. At the end of the night, I just want to sit on the couch and watch mindless television and not be required to do anything. My husband on the other hand, usually has something else in mind.
I think about MY future
I struggle in my marriage because instead of focusing on here and now all the time, I often think about my future. I think about when the kids are older and don’t need me as much, then what will I do? I think about how I have a college education and haven’t used it. That makes me resentful; I know in my heart that I do not want to be a stay at home mom forever. I feel I have more to offer and I absolutely need to have something on my own in order feel fulfilled. My husband has his career and while I’m proud of him, I still need something for ME.
No example of a successful marriage
This is a big one for me. I grew up in a family full of unsuccessful marriages. My parents’ marriage was unsuccessful. I remember my parents constantly arguing. I never witnessed them apologize for their words or actions. Everything simply got swept under the rug until the next issue arose. There was no conflict resolution. Just conflict all of the time. I didn’t realize how much this impacted me until I was married and started going through issues of my own. Apologizing, asking for forgiveness and actually forgiving was a foreign concept to me.
After I had kids I started to become angry with my parents for not trying harder to keep their family together. More recently, I’ve started to think about what could have been had they toughened out their marriage. I think about how all of their grandchildren could gather at their house and I imagine my dad playing with all of them and enjoying a wonderful day with them all at the beach or park. It hurts because my dad has remarried and now has a 5 year old little girl, younger than my oldest, and instead of these years being dedicated to his grandchildren, he has started all over again. I’m not bitter or angry at that situation. After all, I was already an adult when she came along and had my own family, but I’m sad for my children that the cycle of not having grandparents together continues. That’s life.
So why do I stay married?
Marriage is a commitment
The vows I made to my husband, although traditional, mean something to me. I am fully aware that marriages go through seasons, as anything in life. Our season right now is raising small kids. Yes, it is extremely stressful, but there are precious moments when we are watching our children laugh and play and my husband and I glance at each other and I know without a doubt that there is no one on earth that I’d rather be experiencing that with than him.
If my husband and I weren’t committed to this marriage then we would have left at the first sign of adversity, yet we hung in there through some very hard times and by the grace of God we have made it this far. That reassures me that as long as we keep moving forward then we can continue this journey of life together and experience so amazing victories.
It’s not all about me
Did you notice how my issues with marriage were all about me? How tired I am, how I made sacrifices, me, me, me….there is another party to this marriage and if my husband told his story then he’d too have some valid points. The truth is that my husband also makes sacrifices and has given up on dreams for our family. He’s tired, he misses us when he’s gone all day, het serves us when he can, yet my unhappiness is because of ME. I choose to have that negative mindset.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
In order for me to change my perspective on my situation then it is vital that I renew my thinking. I can stay in negative places, but I won’t advance. I can keep saying that I don’t want to be married and I’m so unhappy until it 100% becomes a reality in my life. On the other hand, if I look at my marriage and spouse as a blessing from God, if I thank Him constantly for the wonderful family that he’s given me then I will begin to see my entire situation in a new light. It all happens in the mind. I get to choose what I want.
It’s that simple. I stay in my marriage because I have hope that we’ll overcome and things will get better (not that things are even terrible now). I have hope that God sees us and loves us, especially our children, and my marriage is His will for us. Yes I made the choice to marry my husband, but once I made that choice, God honored that and has immensely blessed us beyond anything we could have imagined (I don’t just mean monetarily, blessings come in many forms and we have many, many blessings). Why would I want to break that?
There are no deal breakers
So maybe I’ve had to defer some dreams, and maybe things aren’t as exciting as they were in the beginning of our marriage, and maybe I don’t live a fancy, glamorous life (I don’t know that I would have that whether I was married or not), but even with all of our “issues,” there aren’t any deal breakers. I may be extremely annoyed that my husband comes home and throws his pants on the floor and perhaps lets the boys make a mess while they’re playing, BUT he is a good man. He is a wonderful dad and an excellent provider. He loves God and reveres Him. My husband is always the first to apologize, even when it’s not his fault. He is forgiving. He doesn’t keep a record of wrongs (I wish I could say the same about me), he talks to me and wants me to talk to him (about the really important things), he is my partner. He accepts me for who I am, he desires me even after seeing me at my worse. He’s not perfect. He has his flaws as do I, but if I’m honest, the good things about him far outweigh any bad.
I’m not saying that we haven’t been through some serious betrayals and heartbreak (I’ll write more on that at a later time), but one of the greatest things about staying married is that (for some) maturity does happen. I’m grateful that my husband has a relationship with the Lord because He has shown him and convicted him of things that I could never do no matter how much I “nag.”
Sticking it out with your spouse may not always be easy (I’m not making a case for abusive relationships, that is separate and should be dealt with accordingly) but it is worth it, especially if both parties are willing to make an honest assessment of themselves and the marriage as a whole. It is possible. Though I may struggle, I will not quit. I daily ask for God’s help and I know that my strength comes from Him.