Why Fighting For My Marriage is the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

BY: - 6 Apr '17 | Marriage

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A few years ago, Don and I were at a crossroad in our marriage and we had to decide if we were going to remain married even though we didn’t like each other. It was not easy to live with this question hanging over my head nor was it pretty. The realization that we did not like each other was painful, but we had no idea how to break from it.

One day, we decided to have a conversation about this heavy issue. This conversation was stressful to have, however, it was extremely necessary. Between alcoholism and an emotional affair, we were a mess.

After sitting in our bedroom for what seemed like hours, we decided that we would remain married for our kids’ sake and treat our marriage like a business partnership. To us, it was the logical thing to do. After all, we still had elementary school-aged kids and I was a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom. We were both very active in our church and we didn’t want people to know our business.

The turning point for us was when my younger brother found out his wife had an affair. He drove to our house from Atlanta with his two little girls in the back. The look on his face and the way he broke down in my arms when I opened the door to them was heartbreaking. I was devastated.

It was important for us to not only stay together but to like each other too.

We stayed up with him all night. We ate, talked and cried until the sun came up. Don took off from work to spend the day with my brother. When they finally returned, he told me we needed to talk. He told me how emotionally draining this was for my brother and how he did not want to experience that. We hugged, prayed and cried in the middle of our bedroom.

We made a list of all the good things we had together and why it was important for us to not only stay together but to like each other too. We talked about the drinking. We talked about the emotional affair and the ‘why’ behind it. We talked about me withholding sex. We talked about his anger issues. We talked about our future. We cried some more. We made love. That day, we vowed to fight for our marriage.

We had quite a few questions to answer before we moved on, though:

  • If we remained married, what did we want our marriage to look like?
  • Did we want to put in the necessary work to ensure our marriage was pleasurable for the both of us, no matter what that work looked like?
  • What sacrifices and changes did I need to make?
  • What changes and sacrifices did he need to make?
  • Did we want to go to counseling together, individually or both?

These were not easy conversations. We had to revisit some subjects rather frequently. Others we had to agree to come back to in a week or two. It was a serious emotional and spiritual journey because change is difficult, especially when you are 13 years in it. We had to dig deep and put in the work, even when we did not want to.

We had to dig deep and put in the work, even when we did not want to.

Fighting for a marriage after your friends have heard you complain about your spouse for years is tough. I decided to attend my own counseling sessions and gradually changed my circle of friends.

I struggled a lot because I complained about Don for so many years. When I got around certain friends, complaints seemed to just roll out my mouth without me thinking about it. I had one friend that I asked to check me when I started going in that direction. You know, she took that role very seriously too. I had to get clear with a few folks, including my mother, that they were not allowed to say negative things about my husband anymore.

Trust and believe, I had an internal battle and had to really pray to change the way I spoke to my husband. I was rude, abrasive and downright, disrespectful. I had to even dig deep to understand my husband’s sexual needs. For years, I downplayed the importance of sex and told him I was not his sex object. Finally, I came to the realization that it is a form of intimacy that goes deeper than talking.

If you are at a crossroad right now, I request that you ask yourself if your marriage is as bad as you perceive it to be. Most likely it’s not. I pray that you begin the journey of fighting for your marriage, even if you don’t want to. It was the best decision I could have made for not only me but for my husband and my children too.

BMWK – If you’ve ever fought for your marriage, let us know why and what impact it had your marriage and family.

About the author

Tanya Barnett wrote 15 articles on this blog.

Tanya Barnett is a relationship strategist, speaker and the “Real” Wife Coach. She is the author of Being a Wife Just Got Real: Things I Wish I Knew, Before I Said, I Do”. She founded the Real Wife Movement™, where she equips single and married women with tools to create strong marriages and families. She is also the founder of Forever Free Books, a mobile literacy nonprofit, which delivers free books and story time to low income children in their neighborhoods and communities. She is a marathoner, triathlete and a serious book lover. She and her husband, Don, have 3 awesome kids.

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5 Signs that You Are Losing Yourself While Loving Your Man

BY: - 7 Apr '17 | Marriage

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I wouldn’t call myself a hopeless romantic, but I surely believe in true love. I believe there is someone out there for everyone, and that when you meet the right person it has the potential to last a lifetime.

What I don’t believe in is loving someone so much you start to lose sight of who you are or who you want to be. I think that’s crap. You shouldn’t ever lose yourself in the name of love. It’s a toxic and dangerous path.

Love should be based on awareness and acceptance. This doesn’t mean you are perfect, but it means that your partner is aware of who you are and has made a decision to love and accept you as you are. That’s what real love is.

But when you start losing yourself and you insist you are just loving on your man, you are truly misguided.

Have you ever seen the movie, Jerry McGuire?

I’ve seen it a few times. It’s a good film. But I hate that infamous line, “you complete me.” Umm… excuse me sir, but I was complete when we met. I don’t need to be completed. I’ll take some love, acceptance, and respect instead… thank you very much.

If you are in a relationship with someone you care for and you are wondering if you are losing sight of who you are, here are a few signs to look out for.

  1. You have stopped hanging with all your friends because you want to spend all your free time with your man. I think spending time with your man is important. Life is busy and it’s so easy to put the things that matter on the back burner. But please don’t become that woman who neglects all of her friendships because she has a man now. That is whack. Sure, you may not be able to hang as much as you did when you were single, but nourishing true friendships is something you always need to make time for. Your real friends help you stay in touch with who you really are.
  2. You always go along with whatever he wants to do so you can keep the peace. If you have to do what he wants to do just to keep the peace, that’s a problem. Sure, relationships involve lots of compromising, but compromising is different than consistently neglecting your desires just to keep someone else happy. What about your happiness?
  3. You’ve put all your dreams aside because he’s convinced you that his matter more. Your dreams matter. They should always matter to you and they should certainly matter to anyone who loves you. Even if your man doesn’t understand your dream or vision, he should definitely support it and care about your desire to pursue it. If you neglect your dreams for your man, you lose a part of yourself.
  4. You never speak up about your wants and needs. You have to be able to articulate what you want and need from your man.  And when you don’t, it’s like declaring that your needs don’t matter. But they do. You have to believe that. If you think your man’s needs and wants matter more than yours, you are misguided and need to get back to loving yourself.
  5. You are constantly seeking his approval. If you are in a grown relationship, you really should not be walking around seeking approval. If you are, you’ve completely lost sight of what makes you worthy of love and happiness. When you gain clarity about who you are and what you bring to the table, you don’t walk around seeking approval because you approve of yourself.

BMWK ladies, have your ever felt like you are losing yourself in the name of love?

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 496 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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