I read something in the newspaper the other day that really ticked me off and saddened me. Sometimes I read the articles where people are asking for advice, I find it interesting. This time it was a gentleman writing to the woman about his marriage. In his letter, he stated that basically he wasn’t feeling connected to his wife, he was feeling lonely and sometimes suicidal and looking for gratification outside of his marriage. In his letter, he also stated that “divorce is a last resort”.
When I read the woman’s reply I almost fell out of my chair. She replied telling him that he should just get a divorce. He would be doing both of them a favor and their adult children would probably be relieved too. She said ‘I see no reason behind staying in your marriage if your children are grown.’
And even after he specifically said that divorce was a LAST resort?
Is that what we have come to?
So – If I am unhappy in a commitment I have made – I shouldn’t try to fix it. I should just do everyone a favor and walk away?
No, I disagree.
Now, I am not married and I never have been. But having been raised by my parents who have been together for more than twenty years – I can say that I understand that marriage is not always roses and walks on the beach. Its work. That’s how it is supposed to be. Marriage is the joining of two people – coming together to grow with each other.
Anyways – I am not trying to get up on a soapbox. But this article just really brought me to the realization of just how lazy we have become as a culture. Technology is definitely a blessing and I thank God for it. However, we seem to have grown into this mindset of “How can I make this easier?” Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to certain things, like when you’re trying to create or invent something. But when it translates over into the rest of our life – like our relationships and commitments, when it becomes our entire attitude towards life and we aren’t willing to work for anything – this can only bring devastation.
I truly believe that I am responsible for my own happiness. Married or single. I will always be responsible for my happiness. If I am unhappy about something – then there is something I can do to change it. Even if that something is as simple as changing my perspective – and most of the time that’s what it is. For me, many times when I am unhappy it is because I have placed an expectation on other people or things outside of my control – and things haven’t played out that way.
So, if I were to give this gentlemen advice – I would tell him;
Dear Lonely Husband,
If you are suicidal – obviously you should always seek professional help (i.e. therapy).
As far as the marriage goes – get committed. Decide to do everything you need to do to make it work, decide to love your wife. Take responsibility for your marriage and for your own happiness. Stop looking outside your marriage for gratification and love your wife. Put both feet back into your marriage. You’re not going to be happy or feel fulfilled so long as you are chasing women outside of your marriage.
Realize that you will probably be doing all of the work on the marriage for a while – you are probably going to have to prove yourself to her. Accept that.
Read and apply the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
Change your mind. Adopt the mindset of serving others (Including your wife and family). When you are feeling down, go do something nice for someone else – and expect nothing in return.
Seek a mentor – find a man who has the type of marriage you are looking for and ask him to help you with yours.
All of this is going to be a process, do not expect to see results overnight. But I truly believe if you put the work in, consistently – things will get better and it won’t seem as much like work anymore.
Hang in there,