Most everyone wants to have a great marriage. And everyone enters in to marriage with the hopes of deep connection.
I’ve yet to encounter someone who entered into marriage with the thought “I can’t wait to be miserable with you in several years.”
Yet, somewhere along the way many marriages experience drift and disconnection. Sort of like roommates doing life together but stuck – due to children, finances, or shared property.
When this happens in your life, it doesn’t mean it is time to pack up and leave. I
t also doesn’t mean there’s anything going wrong.
Hitting rough patches in married life are actually normal in every marriage. And how you approach these times says more about you and your character than the state of the relationship.
It is easy to feel like you’re alone when times like this happen. And the social media world we live in exacerbates this feeling.
I have heard it said that Facebook is a highlight reel of how we want to be seen by others – people post about the fun times, interesting events, and accomplishments. That is the nature of social media – but it is not the nature of deep relationships.
Deep relationships, and great marriages, happen due to the tough times you navigate together.
When life really hits you hard, the process of working through that time molds and shapes you more than almost any other thing could.
Look back at your journey thus far … what are your most impactful moments?
Psychologist Viktor Frankl talks about this with his belief that man is not searching for pleasure as much as he is searching for a deep sense of meaning.
When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure. ~ Viktor Frankl
Too often we look to our marriage to be a source of our pleasure. Let’s face it, there are some fun, pleasurable moments together. But what would happen if we began to view marriage as a source of deep meaning in our life?
To me, this meaning comes from the idea that marriage has a specific design.
At its core … marriage is designed to help us grow up, not provide us a happily ever after.
Happiness is there, but it’s not the ultimate goal.
Viktor Frankl spent most of his life studying the mystery of meaning, and amazingly, he came up with a prescription for how we can experience it ourselves.
His prescription was remarkably simple:
- Have a project you’re working on that requires your unique skills and abilities. And preferably a project that helps others.
- Share your experiences within the context of safe, loving relationships.
- Find a redemptive perspective for your suffering and challenges.
His prescription fits perfectly for married life as well.
Be part of something bigger than yourself and somewhere that your uniqueness is required. Preferably something that helps improve the lives of others.
Share of yourself and your journey with someone else.
Challenge the way you view what is happening to you and begin to see that your marital struggles are part of a process – it is more like personal development bootcamp.
I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone in your struggles.
The goal at Simple Marriage has always been to provide resources to help you navigate the rough patches in married life. The flagship resource we offer is Married Life 911, an online course hundreds of couples have experienced thus far. This course offers a specific roadmap to help you navigate these times in marriage.
The tough times in relationships don’t have to be the end of the relationship. It may actually be the beginning of something great!
Adapted from Donald Miller
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