I was doing some reading tonight. About twelve years ago, I wrote these words:
“I woke up today really troubled. My world is full of broken, or breaking, marriages. There are countless people who crawl into bed at night with people they thought they knew on their wedding day, but have come to accept they are sleeping with a stranger.
There are many in my world who are living with the remains of a marriage that feels over. Trying to pick up pieces of promises and dreams and futures that ended some time in the past. Some seem to be doing okay. Others have just moved on. Some have put on masks. Still others are nursing wounds that feel like they will never heal. My heart breaks for them. All of them.
Marriage is a partnership. No one is completely innocent in the death of a marriage. But that doesn’t mean the blame for the failure is equal. People bring different levels of brokenness to table than the other…and that brokenness is usually buried, or covered over, or masked by the euphoria of ‘love’ that is blind.
Emotionally unhealthy people do not get healthy by getting married. Eventually, marriage will expose and exploit those weaknesses. Darkness and dysfunction will begin to leak out and start to stain every part of the relationship.
There are no quick fixes to broken or damaged marriages. Some marriages are beyond repair. Not because change and healing is impossible, but because one, or both partners have crossed the line that says, ‘It’s over. I choose to quit.’ I see lots of marriages these days that are on the path to this kind of ending.”
I don’t remember the circumstances that caused me to write those words. But clearly not much has changed with the passing of time. Marriage is still a partnership. Marriage is still difficult. Marriage still takes work. Marriage still requires our best. Marriage can still survive our worst.
Remember, marriage wasn’t your idea.
*I hate that this needs to be said, but I believe there are some marriages that are filled with abuse and danger. They don’t need a counseling session or an adjustment. They need to be exposed. The abused needs protection. Separation may be necessary. After a lifetime of standing by and for marriages, I don’t say this lightly: the end of a marriage in this condition may be the most loving and humane outcome. This is not the “quitting” I am writing about in this post.