3. You Didn’t Think Love Looked Like This
Pee dribbling down the toilet to puddle on the floor, dirty dishes in the sink, another credit card bill to pay off…why should you have to pick up someone else’s messes? After the initial 18 to 24 months of falling-in-love, you may wake up one morning and not recognize your partner. In the initial stage of getting to know someone, once you become sexually intimate, a love cocktail is released into your blood stream any time you see or think about them.
Unfortunately, this love high does wear off. Some people are serial infatuation whores; meaning, they love the high from chasing after someone. Once the cocktail wears off, they split, because they either do not want to work on being vulnerable, intimate, encouraging, or resolving conflicts together.
Just realizing and being open with one another that the infatuation has worn off is half the battle. The other half is then being able to focus on all the strengths and reasons why you are good together.
4. It’s Not Your Fault
You’re not the one who withholds sex, or who cheated, or who fell out of love. In a long-term relationship there are no sides. None. If you take a bird’s eye view of your marriage, then some weeks one of you may be more erotic, other weeks your partner may be the instigator for intimacy. Sometimes it goes in cycles of months or years.
The point is that you’re pitching for the same team. You’re both fighting for the same goal: to stay together. It is with this agreement, that you will cheerlead each other on when one is down or struggling, or if you’re both down and out—you’re in it together to surf the big and small waves. Who cares who strayed, the issue to be addressed is how to trust and forgive, and make your relationship stronger. We go through mid-life crises, and moments of insanity. Everyone does—but it takes a strong person to admit to their partner that their mind or heart is wandering.
No one is perfect. And, if you can learn how to weather the storms, then you grow in emotional and spiritual maturity. It may just be one of the greatest life lessons to work through. Why pay a divorce lawyer to do away with your history and memories, when instead you could re-invest in yourselves?
5. This Isn’t Who You Married
I would hope you are both growing and changing on a daily basis. Successful marriages and committed relationships are ones in which there is room for you both to grow more fully into yourselves: your passions, your hobbies, your interests, and your life purpose. When we want to cage someone in, or lock them away, hoping they never change then the end result is stagnancy and boredom. Is it a wonder if one of you takes the sexual energy outside of your relationship to feel something, anything?
In any marriage there tends to be about 10 areas where you will not see eye to eye together. These issues you will choose to agree to disagree. It does not make it a bad or failing marriage. What you do have to know and be upfront about are the deal breakers before they happen. And, if you find yourself in a situation where divorce sounds easier than putting in the effort to make it work, make sure you ask yourself why it sounds more appealing.
Divorcing because you are hurt or angry is a Band-Aid, it is not the solution. By working through the boredom, pain, deception, or rage your marriage can be like a phoenix, stronger than ever. I do not mean to offend anyone who has already gotten divorced--because there are always compelling and very good reasons why divorce may be the answer, but not always. Why divide your household, pay a lawyer to split your assets, buy duplicate items for your kids for each house? Instead you could be honest with one another for once. Choose to work with a relationship coach or marriage educator to teach you both life and resiliency skills so you don’t keep repeating the same mistakes.
Life is about growing from our mistakes, and learning how to do things better. This experience is life changing, but it is also the definition of unconditional love.
And, chances are the marriages you see that seem to just “work,” they’ve been through the tough times. They may not be boasting about it, but they did make the choice to work, to fight, to learn resiliency skills, and to keep their sexual energy within their marriage. At the end of the day, it was worth finding the key that lasting love requires: time spent building one another up instead of tearing each other apart. Life is too short.