Often when there is a problem in a marriage, the natural inclination is to look at your partner as the source in order to preserve one self. Self-preservation involves protecting the ideas and themes in an individual’s life that they have become accustomed to and are comfortable with. The alternative is turning on ourselves, which sounds like a dangerous and not-too-fun idea. We are generally able to see the flaws in others much easier than we can see our own. Even those of us who are self-aware can be blinded by our own natural instinct for self-preservation. On some base level, we are all engaged in this practice. However, if left unchecked, it can control our daily lives and the decisions we chose to make.
That leads us to the topic of today’s article: the prospect of separation. For various reasons that we’ve mentioned before, some couples are more prone to end up in a situation where they are considering divorce then others. The overriding reason is that they’ve seen it first hand in their own family. Where couples who both grew up in a strong, nuclear household have seen what it takes to engage in a successful marriage, those marriages where one or more partners grew up in a broken home don’t have that same experience to draw on. As a result, when the going gets tough, they consider going as well. That doesn’t have to be the case.
Many couples have legitimate issues that will lead to separation or divorce, but many others simply are not equipped with the proper tools to work through challenges in a marriage. For those who haven’t heard of it, there is a movie that came out in 2008 called Fireproof. It stars controversial star Kirk Cameron and while the movie can feel a little like an afterschool special, the points that it drives home are worth listening to. In the movie, Kirk’s character and his wife are both at their wits ends. He feels she doesn’t appreciate him and she feels that she is not a priority in her life. At the breaking point, Kirk’s father suggests that Kirk engage in a 40 day Love Dare. The Love Dare is based on a book that challenges the reader for 40 days in a row to show their spouse in different ways that they care for them and are thinking about them. It includes gestures such as calling your spouse in the middle of the day just to say hello, washing his/her car for no particular reason or,maybe the most difficult, willingly giving in on an area of disagreement. During the course of the movie, his wife doubts his true motives for turning his behavior around. She thinks that he might just be trying to buy time or get better terms in a divorce settlement. She even begins to flirt with a doctor that she works with. Throughout these obstacles, Kirk’s character had a challenging time sticking with the plan, but with some encouragement from his father and a friend, he stuck it out, and as usually happens in the movies, it worked out for them.
The Love Dare won’t work for everyone, but it will valuable for you to read through the book and even attempt the challenge if you believe in it. Some of you might be thinking, “Why would I go out of my way for 40 days when I’m not the one with all of the problems?”. However you chose to tackle your issues, and at the end, you will most likely feel better if you gave it your all. Giving it a full effort involves being selfless and going out of your way for your spouse. Often, we forget to do the simple things for the ones we love as we get so wrapped up in our own daily routine. Reading up on the topic, as you would anything else, can go a long way. Issues that you both thought were major problems might melt away as you are both happier with one another in the context of making sure your spouse knows that you love and appreciate him/her.
If the Love Dare doesn’t work, you and your spouse will likely have to attempt couples counseling. However, couples counseling should not be a first option. While its recommended that you engage a counselor if you get divorced to enable a transition out of married life and into being an individual again, couples counseling often brings up a host of other issues and can take years to get to where you both want to be. With that being said, it is certainly worth trying before cutting the cord on a marriage and calling for a divorce. Divorce is an extremely challenging process for most who go through it, so if you love your spouse and enjoy being with them, the marriage is generally worth fighting for.