I have just finished reading Screwtape Letters, a book by C S Lewis, (after reading a post by Joe Lalonde.)
C S Lewis says something powerful in page 95
”God described a married couple as ‘one flesh’. He did not say ‘a happily married couple’ or ‘a couple who got married because they were in love’….”
I also read of a man and woman who’ve been married for over 65 years. They were asked what kept them together all these years and the woman replied that ‘she got married in the age where when something got broken, you fixed it, not throw it away.’
Broken but fixable
In our world today, marriages are thrown away when they break.
This is especially true for young marriages (marriages in their early years).
I am still in my early years – fourth year to be precise – so I am intimately acquainted with young-marriage challenges.
But young marrieds can learn how to fix their relationships.
Not that struggles are unique to those in their early years only. Everyone has to keep working at their relationship. We never outgrow learning.
Nonetheless, some measure of growth, commensurate with the years married should be expected. Though in our world today, it’s not hard to find couples who have been married eight years having two-year old behavior.
How to deal with early marriage challenges.
1. Decide not to live in the past.
You really cannot ‘choose’ again.
This is it.
You already chose.
I struggled with ‘what ifs’ in my early days. Allowing my mind to linger on the things I may have done wrong to warrant my current unhappy state – ‘maybe we should have waited‘ or ‘maybe we didn’t seek God enough‘ and so on.
Our mentors had tried to drill in us certain marriage realities. For example that a person may have been ‘wrong’ or ‘a mistake’ on one side of the altar but once vows were taken, they became ‘the right person’ and ‘the right choice’.
Marriage did not have an opt in/opt out clause depending on how good/bad things were. It was for keeps. And our minds needed to tow the line.
The ‘what ifs’ keep one chained to the past, unable to accept and and improve on current realities.
While we learn from past mistakes, we must understand that no one moves forward while looking backwards.
2. Acquire a fresh way of thinking.
When we had conflict in our early months of marriage, my default thinking was often ‘flight‘.
Not ‘fight‘ (for my marriage).
Everything good in a relationship is a result of ‘stay’. You cannot resolve, grow, connect or learn when you run away or avoid the challenging things. Iron sharpens iron because of close proximity.
The thing about positive change and growth is that it’s intentional. A new thinking pattern does not just fall on you. You work at it. And you get to work at it in rough heated times.
3. Accept your pace.
Comparison is a bad thing, especially in marriage.
I remember my mentor telling me that she did not expect me, being a few months married to behave like someone who’s been married 14 years. I was me – I did not have the wisdom, practice or knowledge of 14 years of marriage.
We kill ourselves trying to act old.
Comparing ourselves to others who’ve been at it much longer than we have. Bowing to pressure to seem like you have it all together.
But really, you don’t.
You can’t grow up too fast.
Just accept your age and enjoy the seasons.
A lake with inlets and no outlets eventually grows stale and stagnant. The one with constant flow – inlet and outlet – stays fresh, thriving and supports other life.
The bible says ‘give and it shall be given back to you’
You need to hear what you believe in. From your own lips. Not just have it circling in your head. When your beliefs are public, you try to live up to them. You become more accountable and responsible.
People cringe at the thought of encouraging others because they feel imperfect and unworthy.
‘I have enough drama in my life to last three life times!’
But really, none of us is perfect!
We all speak or share from our own imperfection, mistakes, lessons. It is imperfection which makes us attractive, not perfection. Most people identify most with other humans, not aliens (what you are if you have all your life together).
Do not allow your struggles to paralyze you.
Question – How else can a couple work through challenges?
Photo – www.freedigitalphotos.net
Post linked to Wifey Wednesday at tolovehonorandvacuum.com