Why did I get married?
Ahh, the butterflies. The butterflies at the beginning of a new relationship; I’m tellin’ ya – there is just nothing quite like that feeling. Annnnnd then a few years later, once we really get to know each other, our weird habits start showing—as well as what makes us tick. The sound he makes when he eats is atrocious, her hair is all over EVERYTHING, and before we know it, we find ourselves in something that we aren’t sure that we signed up for wondering “why did I get married?” Sound familiar?
Society has fed us from a very early age that “it’s just what you do.” You grow up, find a job, get married, and have kids. Simple, right? Not exactly. Nothing is wrong with these aspirations. As a little girl, I remember thinking that all I wanted to do when I “grew up” was be a wife. And I did! I accomplished that goal and I love it. But, sometimes we need to take a step back and remember why we got married in the first place.
Was it because of a genuine love with someone who knows us better than we know ourselves?
Because we wanted to ensure our financial stability?
Maybe because we’re afraid of being alone?
Or, did we get married because we wanted the diamond on our hand, a big fancy wedding, and cute photo-ops for our weekly social media post about how wonderful our spouse is?
Whatever your reason, you made a commitment that deserves some respect.
Do we give up on our marriages, or are we giving up on our spouses? The person who, at one time, was the only thing in the world that mattered. The person who has seen us at our worst, and chose to love us through it; who stood beside us in front of our dearest friends and family and vowed, “for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”
Till death do us part. Hm. Till death do us part, or “till I get tired of your crap?” Too harsh? Probably. But unfortunately, it’s reality for a lot of modern-day marriages.
In a recent article featured on Brides.com, the average marriage lifespan in 2020 was measured at 8 years. That’s a far cry from the “forever” that we promised.
So, how did it come to this, and what do we do about it? How did we get from “I do” to “I’m done?”
First of all, we need to remember why we’re here. Take a walk with me down memory lane: Remember all of the fun date nights you used to go on? Of course you do. As you read that sentence, you probably had several favorite memories flash before your eyes. The way he opened the car door for you, the way she used to get dressed up for you, all of it.
I read a lot of blogs, articles, and social media posts where husbands and wives alike are reaching for any bit of advice someone may have on how they can rekindle their relationship. Most comments consist of “I can’t stand my marriage, I’m miserable. It used to be so fun, but after we had kids everything changed.” Or the classic “I’m just not happy anymore.”
Let me just say, modern-day marriage advice isn’t the greatest thing to base your lives on.
This year I will celebrate 3 years of marriage and to this day, I don’t remember the good marriage advice I was given, I only remember the bad. In fact, we were told, “At some point, you two WILL hate each other. You will. So, just know that and prepare for it now.”
I’m sorry, what? Hate? That’s a word that wasn’t even allowed in our household growing up, much less a depiction of what my marriage is going to be like. No thank you, I would rather not. We were shocked, but above anything else, I think I was heartbroken and disturbed by the fact that there are marriages that actually do operate under those pretenses.
Now, of course, every relationship is different. There will be wonderful times where you’re on top of the world and can’t even imagine fighting with the love of your life. But, there will also be times when you may have to take a step back and work through things. It’s just the ebb and flow. It doesn’t mean that after the first fight you’re doomed for divorce. It means that you’re human and you’re going to mess up sometimes. Especially when another human is involved.
Let’s get back to the basics and talk about some fundamentals that are imperative if you really want this thing to work.
#1. You are not Joanna Gaines and your spouse is NOT an episode of “Fixer Upper”.
As a woman, I know that we have a tendency to take on a relationship thinking that he is a work in progress. “If I can just get him to do this and this, he will be perfect.” Your marriage isn’t something you can just throw some shiplap on and call it a day. Of course, there is always room for growth and improvement on both sides. But, when we go into a relationship knowing about the red flags and thinking that we can “fix them,” we’re just setting ourselves up for disappointment. If there are areas in a relationship that need work, be serious about making a plan to communicate through these obstacles. Layout the road map! What will it take to get to point B when starting at point A?
Side note: It may involve some detours, but if you’re committed, you CAN get there. Approach each other’s issues with love and understanding, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. “What can I do to help you in this area?” is a great place to start and automatically takes the accusation factor out of the mix entirely.
#2. Comparison killed the cat.
OK so maybe it’s curiosity that killed the cat, but you catch my drift. Comparing your current situation to someone else’s “time-lapse testimony” is detrimental to your relationship. Social media adds to this struggle like never before. Think about it: before your life was plastered up on a web page for the world to review and judge, you had no clue what went on in someone else’s marriage because you didn’t just see their highlight reel. I’ve never seen anyone post a picture with the caption, “Got in a horrible fight with my spouse today. Probably giving him the silent treatment for the rest of the week. Can you guess who’s sleeping on the couch tonight?” Why?
Because you don’t want people knowing the real things that go on, as it would make us vulnerable and let them know that we don’t actually have it all together. So, we only show the highlights. The dream vacations we’re on, the roses that he has delivered to your work, the new house they just bought… That’s why it’s called a feed. We scroll and scroll, feasting until we’re “full” of comparing our lives to those around us. What you don’t see is the $30,000 worth of credit card debt to fund those vacations, the huge fight they got in that led him to send the roses as an apology, or the fact that they don’t know how they’re going to pay the house note this month.
Comparison will kill your relationship faster than anything.
#3. Effort is SEXY.
Men and women alike have at least one thing in common (I know, sometimes that’s hard to believe). We all like to be pursued. When my husband and I learned our love languages, it changed our understanding of one another. Now, instead of me thinking that he is OCD and can’t stand if there is a mess in the house or clothes on the floor, I can see that he just operates in acts of service which is exactly what I love to receive. He won’t sit down until the pan he used to cook is washed, dried, and put up. And I feel better because that means I don’t have a pile of dishes in the sink to come home to. It’s a win-win.
No matter who you are, you like it when someone puts forth effort in your relationship. After all, effort is sexy. We want to feel like we’re important enough that our spouse wants to take time out of their busy day to make us feel that euphoric “they thought of me” feeling. What’s funny is, sometimes the smallest acts of love can have the biggest impact.
Even a simple note on the mirror for her to wake and see in the morning, reminding her that she is beautiful no matter how much makeup she thinks she needs. Or, having a hot meal ready when he gets home to let him know that you appreciate his hard work. Both are very small gestures, but can go a long way. Even just a text message that says, “I can’t wait to see you later!” can make him stop in his tracks. “What? She’s excited to see me?”
When making a point to think about one another, to serve one another, to make that person the priority they used to be, you really can’t go wrong.
There was a movie that came out back in 08’ called Fireproof. Overall, the storyline is one that I will never forget—I highly recommend that every married couple watch it together. Shortly after the movie was released, they came out with “The Love Dare” which challenged husbands and wives to pursue each other with a new “dare” for each day. In the movie, one of the characters said something so profound:
“Fireproof doesn’t mean that a fire will never come, but that when it comes, you’ll be able to withstand it.”
There are things in this life that you can pick up and put down, start and stop, like it one day and not really care for it the next…but, your marriage should not be one of those things.
Go ahead and scratch the idea of reaching perfection, because it’s not possible. When you have created a union between two imperfect people, imperfection + imperfection does not equal perfection. But, if you have two imperfect people who love each other, and are willing to ride out the not-so-good times by fixing their focus back on the real good times, I think you might just find the equation that does make sense.
You can fireproof your marriage, but it’s going to take effort. It’s possible to live up to the expectations of your spouse, but you’ll have to communicate and drop the comparison. Couples can work through things together in a healthy way.
Let’s stop trying to figure out why we got married, and just remember why we got married.
Article by: Katelen Noble – Founder of My Story, His Glory
My story, His Glory, is a video testimonial ministry founded by Katelen Noble.
Katelen has always had a passion for video creation and directing along with the passion for Jesus, and how He has changed the lives of those around her. Her desire is to capture the testimonies of those who have seen God do an active work in their hearts and lives with the hopes of changing even more lives in the process.
“Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.” Psalm 66:16