I read a Time Magazine article today titled, “Is There Hope for the American Marriage?”
It made me think about what it means to be a married person in our society. With the odds seemingly stacked against us, how can anyone make it?
I believe this question itself is part of the problem. Before failure can occur, it must first become an option. If you are asking yourself how your marriage will survive, you are already assuming failure is a possibility.
An excerpt from the article describing marriage today:
“An increasingly fragile construct depending less and less on notions of sacrifice and obligation than on the ephemera of romance and happiness as defined by and for its adult principals, the intact, two-parent family remains our cultural ideal, but it exists under constant assault.”
The passage above highlights an increasingly selfish approach to marriage, where priorities center on the happiness and self-fulfillment of the individual. So what can we do to combat this mentality?
The best marriage advice I’ve received (bear with me, my marriage is in its infancy at a little over 2 years) is from my Grandpa. I asked both of my grandparents at their 50th wedding anniversary what advice they would give to a young married couple. My Grandma gave me a beautiful answer about communicating honestly, being quick to forgive, etc.
My Grandpa responded, “Just hang in there.” At the time, it was pretty funny. Everyone sitting at the table laughed, and I was even slightly annoyed for my Grandma. After some honest reflection, I understand what he meant more fully and appreciate the sound advice. Though I have yet to experience them, I know there will be times when I want to run, when I second guess my decision to spend the rest of my life with the same person. But at least I’ll know that we are both operating under the assumption that divorce is not an option.
A “forever” foundation provides a platform for honest communication. If no one is leaving, there is more incentive to work through problems. The alternative is not trying and living out a miserable existence together. No thank you.