The desire was understandable. The expectation was not. When I married my childhood sweetheart 23 years ago, my desire for a lifetime of wedded bliss was understandable; expecting my husband to make it happen was unrealistic.
Consequently, the first six years of our marriage were hell on earth. I literally wanted to kill him; my sweetheart had turned sour right before my very eyes. Molten days turned into smoldering nights—and not because we were igniting the fires of our passion for one another.
As life-sapping as it was however, we never considered divorce. In our eyes, divorce was not an option. We agreed before taking our vows that no matter what, divorce would not be mentioned.
We did eventually wear ourselves—and each other—down to the point that we knew we had to do something more to divorce-proof our marriage or we wouldn't have the fortitude to hold fast to our promise.
Because our marriage was so damaged, we sought Christian counseling. If our home had been destroyed by a tornado, we would have sought help from a professional; we knew our marriage had suffered no less damage than if an F5 had ripped through it.
My husband and I learned the hard way that marriage is not a one-time "I do" and then living happily ever after. Marriage takes work and involves daily choices.
We live in a day when commitments are taken lightly, when divorce can take place with a John Hancock. Sign your name; go your own way. The marriage covenant isn't taken as seriously as it once was.
But it should be.
Since God is the one who instituted the marriage relationship, it makes sense that he is the one who holds the keys to a lasting marriage. God has put forth spiritual laws for us, which lead to good or bad results, depending on the choices we make.
The following are some choices my husband and I made that turned our marriage around. These choices can do the same for you. And if you consider your marriage already to be good, these choices can make it even better.
Choose to make peace. The battle has to end sometime; it might as well be today. Making peace requires humility—a virtue we don't easily embrace. But those who enjoy a happy marriage realize that humility takes precedence.
It's hard for me to admit when I'm wrong, so this is still a difficult choice for me to make at times. But I've learned that if I am wrong, it's best to genuinely admit it, apologize if necessary, and then move on. Peace enters the relationship when one person humbles himself or herself to restore balance.