I hate to say it, but divorce is unavoidable. There is no way around it. The patterns and habits, you have developed, guarantee that those wedding vows and promises will be worthless.
Unless you look for certain issues, in your marriage, and deal with them.
There are two kinds of men, who don’t really have to worry about divorce. There’s the guy who is absolutely crazy about his wife. He is thoughtful, considerate and passionate. He loves every minute with her and makes sure she knows that she is loved. He listens and talks. He puts effort to his love, he does things that prove his love. The right things. Things that matter to her. He is quick to forgive and let things go. He is mature and responsible. He is fun to be with and loves to make his wife happy. That guy doesn’t have much to worry about. (Note. This means the real deal. Not the guy just trying to look like he does this.)
The other guy is the exact opposite. He’s a bully, a thug. He has her so beaten down that she is scared to leave. She has been convinced that there is nothing she can do about her situation. Her self esteem is damaged, she doesn’t see any hope for finding another man. She doesn’t believe anyone could truly love her. She is afraid of being alone. She is afraid of upsetting her husband. She is just afraid to leave him.
There are plenty more possible scenarios, but these would be the two extremes.
If you are the first type, you have my respect. You are making a difference in the world, larger than you know. There is a severe shortage of good husbands and fathers. Thank you for being a positive example to your family.
If you are the second type, stop it. You are a bully. Get into counseling. Your wife deserves better than you are giving her. Step up before she starts making drastic decisions about her life… And possibly yours.
Most of you are in the grey area between the two types, I have some advice to you. It’s also advice for me, since I am still growing here. Some of this comes natural to me, some still takes effort. Either way, I have already faced divorce. I have already been through my years of restoring a damaged marriage. Never want to go through that again. Never want you to go through that. It was much harder than I have ever told anyone, some parts are just brutal.
We fought for our family. Actually, my wife fought to hold us together for twenty years. I fought to put it back together after she finally snapped. It was a fight, either way. It took a lot to finally get where we are now. This is the best place we have ever been. We have sincere mutual respect. We talk much more openly. The passion that most couples dream of is finally working it’s way back into our world. She knows I have changed. I understand what she needs.
We are in a great position to conquer the world together.
If you are already facing divorce, there is hope. It will mean adjusting your focus and fixing your priorities. It will require you to decide what really matters to you. Wrecked marriages aren’t saved with halfhearted effort. Not everyone is willing to fight for their family. Some homes are so damaged that it may even be better to surrender. I hate to say that, but some people are just unwilling to change. Some women have tolerated enough abuse. Some men are just content to spend all their energy and effort making themselves happy. Some women are scarred too deeply to resume a relationship with the one who hurt them. Some men just can’t understand relationships.
Yes. I am putting the pressure on the guys.
Most women are willing to make ridiculous effort to keep the family together. They crave relationship. They want their families to survive. They want you to become that guy they thought they were marrying. They need you to become a great husband.
Guys, here’s the fact. Whether or not your wife has issues, doesn’t change your responsibility to fix yours.
Moving on to another relationship is very rarely going to solve anything. You still take the same personal junk to the next victim. Fix yourself. Become a great husband and see how things change. Most women will transform right before your eyes, once they are experiencing real Christlike love from their husband. Some take a while to believe it, some are “all in” from the first sign of change.
I have never heard a woman complain that her husband is too generous, or kind, or loving, or committed. That he makes too much effort to make sure his family is cared for and knows they are loved. He is just too good to her… So she has to divorce him. She can’t handle his constant affection and kindness.
Not much of that type complaining going around.
If you are facing divorce, recovering from divorce or oblivious to the possibility… Either way, you need to learn to love the right way. You have to learn what it means to be a husband or you are stuck. You will continue the habits that destroy marriages. Ask for help. Accept help. Take advice from people with strong and thriving marriages. Asking for advice from other knuckleheads doesn’t move you forward.
Marriage is not about getting someone to meet your needs. It’s not based on selfishness. It’s not taking on a servant. It’s none of the things that bad counseling teaches. It’s about experiencing life together, with someone who’s life is worth more to you than your own. It’s about the relationship. Love her as Christ loved the church. It’s the only way to experience marriage the way it was intended.
So. Is divorce really unavoidable? Only if you cling to selfishness and expect your wife to be the only one making an effort.
Love her the right way. Selflessly and sacrificially. Like Christ loved the church. Try it that way.
If you don’t know where to start, here’s two suggestions…
Visit bestmarriage.com and join the marriage forum. Register and start a thread or just read through some of the others. There are counselors waiting to help you reach an outrageously happy marriage.
You can also get a copy of 21 Days to Save My Family and take my challenge.
Either way, do something. Become a better man.