The Marriage-Go-Round

It’s no secret that marriages are in trouble, no less in Christian homes than in any others. I regularly hear of marriages ending because one or both of the partners just isn’t happy or decides they want someone else. Hearts are scarred, children are torn between parents, and happiness doesn’t always ensue with someone new. In fact, the same struggles often follow in the new relationship.

I have found that marriage moves in cycles, much like a merry-go-round. So often today, however, the partners choose to cut the trip short before they make it back around to the other side.  Instead of expecting the best of one another and marriage, they quit before they give the relationship a chance to improve.

In my own marriage of 41 years, we have had many cycles of ups and downs. There were times of great joy and compatibility which always ended with periods of argument and impatience—not a fun place to be! When things were good, I felt love for my husband and loved by him; on the other side I wondered if we would ever be happy again.

As I realized that the cycles come back around if I waited, I began expecting things to get better when things weren’t going well. Instead of feeling hopeless, I realized that much of it was within my power to change. If I responded differently to the situation, I could help bring us back to the other side of the marriage-go-round, to the place where we began with each other.

Getting off the marriage go-round doesn’t fix the issues that you carry with you because you will be the same person next time you get on the ride. The only way to grow and change and have a real chance of deep and lasting love is to recognize that you have a problem which can be fixed, work toward changing yourself, and have real conversation about how you can re-connect and forgive as a couple to avoid the worst of the cycle next time. Our worst is no longer as bad as it was, and our best is even better.

Before you give up on happiness and your marriage, get some help. Find a counselor or wise friend (not of the opposite sex) who can help you see what you need to change about you. Pray for God’s help in becoming a better spouse. Ask him for the grace to forgive, and then ask your spouse to forgive you for your part of the problem.

You can get to the other side, and if you work at it, God can use it to build an even better marriage for you. Don’t give up without a fight.

Kay is a life-long Texan whose favorites are Tex-Mex, books that feed her soul or make her think, good movies and travel to new places. Her great joy is to serve God by teaching the Bible and developing women as servant-leaders. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Beyond Ordinary Women Ministries, which provides free videos, podcasts and articles as well as low-cost Bible studies to prepare Christian women for leadership. (beyondordinarywomen.org) Kay spent ten years leading women’s ministries on church staffs, most recently at Northwest Bible Church in Dallas. Kay is the author of From Ordinary Woman to Spiritual Leader: Grow your Influence, a practical guide to help Christian women influence others by applying foundational leadership skills to their lives and ministries, and a number of Bible studies for women, some are available at bible.org and the newer ones are found at beyondordinarywomen.org. Kay earned an M.A.C.E. from Dallas Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Effective Ministries to Women. Kay’s family includes a husband, two grown children, one son-in-law, two hysterical granddaughters and a Goldendoodle.