I often asked how is that a person can be with each other for years and within a year of marriage they are divorced? How is it that can people can divorce only after one year of marriage? It is clear that there are many underlying factors resulting in this, some of which may be present even before the wedding took place. However, what I learnt recently in the couple's ministry meeting is that marriage takes work and it takes investment. Those were the words of my pastor as we planned our annual couple's retreat and it starts at the very beginning. The persons whose marriages have lasted 25 and 40 years and have gone all the way to until death do us part, their marriages was not without their problems, stress and sacrifices.
I have learnt that you can have endless love for each other, but still divorce and even when commitment may be present, you can be unhappy. Situations/problems at times take a toll especially after a child/children are born. You are so much into your work and by the time you get home, you are either too tired or you are spending time with the kids, but no time for each other because as adults we feel we can survive. After all, we love each other. Although I am no expert, it is clear to me that if you want your marriage to work, you have to invest time and money in it.
Time for intimacy- Not simply time for SEX, but time to connect on a spiritual, social, emotional level. This may involve simply cuddling and talking. It may involve giving nice massages to each other. This is an alone time so children cannot interrupt. Hence, you might have to wait until they fall asleep, leave them by some grandparents, have a nanny look after them or at times, you may need to do this outside your home for example at a hotel (hence the money). What activities do we often plan to keep our marriages alive?
Time for Planning- Where do you see yourselves as a couple 5 years from now? How do you intend to get there? What sacrifices or investments will be involved?
Time for Forgiveness- Sometimes we cannot move on because we cannot forgive. For some, forgiveness can only happen if we move out (divorce).
Time to Focus- This is something I practice in my marriage especially if I get angry. I have never ever spoken to my husband at the point in time when I am angry at him. For one thing, a lot of times too many negative thoughts are going through my mind of all the words I can use to hurt. It is during heated arguments stirred by anger that persons say things that they often regret and also do not mean, but simply saying them to get under each other's skin. Still words hurt and at times, they sink in and remain with us for years. You remember when you say this or that? So what I do is focus. Why am I angry? Should I be angry? Is it too petty? Can I or should overlook this? During this time, I also reflect on all the ways he has been good to me and how many times her has done something to anger me (something I picked up from one of Tyler Perry's movies :)). But it works for me. At the end, I always smile because I have a great man in my life who has done more to make me happy than he has ever done to upset me. I pray that this continues :). Then I am ready to talk and express to him in cool words, why I am angry and all of the time, thus far, we resolved whatever and move on in our wonderful marriage.