It is said the only constant is change. I wonder how much of this applies to marriage.
People tend to change their careers, where they live and work, and sometimes, unfortunately, they do change their mind about relationships. Marriage isn’t a typical fairy tale where we live happily ever after. There are sometimes challenges that drain us and some aren’t willing to put up a fight for their union.
As we advance into our wiser years and mature, our needs change. Our wants begin to look a little different. The things we once enjoyed no longer interest us. The behaviors that once were not a problem now begin to grate on our nerves. It all makes us wonder if we’re actually supposed to stay married to the same person forever.
It’s sometimes easy to arrive at a place where you second-guess your decisions. Or begin to look at other options. And of course things like infidelity, physical and substance abuse all factor into the life of the marriage. I would never suggest staying in a marriage that does not honor you. However, one you’re just feeling mediocre about may require you to take a deeper look to see if it can be salvaged and then promptly put forth the effort to improve it.
The truth is, we are actually expected to stay married until death do us part. When you married, you said you would, remember? The vows we shared on our wedding day weren’t said for man, but were promises spoken before God. I don’t know about you, but the promises I make before God become a priority in my life. What if God gave up on me because I was imperfect; I’d be lost. The same should be true for our marriages. Throwing it away when it feels a little uncomfortable or because it’s imperfect is reckless and usually ends with regret.
Marriage requires a level of maturity most of us aren’t ready to experience. It should never be entered into lightly. Couples should spend the dating portion of their relationship peeling back the layers and getting to know one another beneath the surface. Couples must also examine the flaws of one another to be sure they are tolerable long term. Recognizing we don’t have the ability to change our partners is a reality we must accept.
Marriage isn’t like a pair of shoes that you replace because they are worn out or because something more trendy comes along. It isn’t a drab old haircut you need to make drastic changes to. It also isn’t a tired boring dead end job that you dread showing up to every day.
It’s a commitment. One of the most significant commitments you will ever make in your life. Yes, it will require all of you, but there will also be benefits that sometimes exceed your expectations. Yes, sacrifices will need to be made, but your spouse will also be making them. And yes, the original plan for marriage is that you stay put until death do you part.