It seems lately many of the themes of my interactions with couples and individuals in relationships has been about reconciliation. It’s challenging to decide when is enough simply enough. It’s equally challenging to make the conscious decision you are going to fight for your marriage, no matter what. The real question is always how you decide what is important enough to you to make you want to stay or go. That’s what we are led to believe our decisions in our marriage are all about. “How does this impact me?”
You will also hear this a lot from friends, “If I were you, I would leave…or if I were you, I wouldn’t put up with this.” Friends have you best interest at heart, but they don’t live your life. Friends and family don’t walk a mile in your shoes and they haven’t made a covenant with God and another person to exist through better and worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. You have to decide how much you value the covenant you made in agreement with your spouse and with God.
Do we know what “Worse” really looks like?
The style of coaching I learned and how I coach an individual or couple through their challenges is ultimately, people find out they knew the direction they wanted to take all along, they had not yet embraced it. I show them the roadmap of their situation and they decide what path to take to get to their destination.
Marriage vows are your roadmap to marriage. These next few sentences may not be popular, but I’m a strong advocate of making it through “worse.” Worse means overcoming illness. Worse could be working through the situation of a cheating spouse. Worse could mean financial ruin or a family who is struggling to have a child. The worst of times are what builds the character of the relationship. The best of times are the harvest on the seeds planted during those turbulent times.
Everyone has deal-breakers of what they will and will not tolerate. I get it. That said, if you aren’t all in for better AND worse, sickness AND health, until DEATH do us part—don’t get married. No one is making you go to the altar. If you’re not ready for forever (at least forever on earth), then be bold enough and have enough character to say so, and enjoy the single life.
A good friend and I were recently discussing what “worse” really looks like. We’re both staunch advocates of marriage and I was playing devil’s advocate to look for things that are beyond my interpretation of what “worse” means. What I learned is although, she and I slightly disagree on whether or not divorce is ever an option under any circumstances, I uncovered the fact many relationships consider “worse” a simple argument or disagreement or something inconvenient.
Those are communication issues, not “worse.” “Worse” could be sleeping on the couch for years or not being intimate for years. “Worse” could have a lot of layers, yet we didn’t make a promise of covenant for the sake of the promise. We make the promise to honor God, accept His blessing to our marriage, and commit to honoring our promise to Him, regardless of the choices of a spouse.
Ride or Die
Reconciliation is not easy. A good relationship takes work. Reconciliation requires some heavy lifting. There will be some apologies. Counseling could be necessary. A chance of scenery may need to take place. Those things are a great start, but to reconcile requires more than saying “I’m sorry I won’t do it again.” Reconciliation also needs to have a component of “I’m with you through the trials, tests and all of the worst times.”
Good times are easy. Invite me to Hawaii…I’ll go with no problem. But can you sit in the hospital with me as we grieve our 4th miscarriage? Can you have my back when my parents are against our relationship? I can give many examples, but to summarize: “When things are as bad as they can possibly be, regardless of blame or fault, will you be there for me and work through it with me?”
We have a slang term that says we need someone to “ride or die” for us. The dying is actually the easier of the two options. Make sure you are ready—and—you have someone that will ride with you through everything this life brings.
BMWK, are you able to live through the worse?