As adult children of divorce we now know how hard it can be! We know what it takes to keep going and to stay strong. We build emotional muscles and exercise our minds in ways we never had to before. We have to be tough.
Being tough and having persistence and determination in the face of difficulty is not something we like to learn. It often is learned when things are hard. Recently I have been observing many marriages, divorces, single people, single parents, and I have come to some loose conclusions.
First, I am convinced that when people marry, they are not , nor can not be aware of how difficult the relationships and cares of life can get. Often a new marriage or relationship brings a feeling of being loved, and there are new experiences and plans and dreams. Without ruining this early love, I think it is good for a new couple to be realistic about the future. They can not look into their own future, but can look at others who have been married for a long time. If a marriage stands the test of time, there are seasons of difficulty. It may be the normal challenges of making money, taking care of children, and keeping a house. Sometimes more severe challenges arise. There may be health issues, legal issues or problems with family or friends or work.
I have observed that many people just are not ready for the reality of those issues in their life. I was not! Those things happened to "other" people, not me, or my husband. But, I had to learn that they happen to us too!! That is when I had to get tough. I had to fight the affects of depression in our marriage, head on. I had to strengthen my resolve to do what was right and stay faithful when I was tempted. I had to use my muscles to keep going at the end of a long day after working, caring for children, and folding laundry at midnight! I was not truly ready to be married , but not able to hardly communicate with my husband some days when our life was at its fullest stages. I was not truly ready to accept that our life would not be the way I had dreamed it would be.
Secondly, I am convinced that when the hardships and reality of the normal challenges and sometimes the extreme challenges of marriage hit, that some people begin to get tough with the wrong things. They get tough with their spouse. They begin to see their spouse as the reason they are not happy or fulfilled. They see themselves as deserving better or more and the focus is on their own pain and uncomfortableness. My husband and I have done this. We have blamed each other for our own unhappiness. We have accused each other of carrying the lighter load at times. We have been tough on each other, which makes it worse.
So, my message in this post is to appreciate and enjoy the great times in marriage, but be realistic in expecting hard times too. Get ready and when it happens , be tough. BUT, be tough with the "issue"!!! Be a team , that is tough and strong and determined to fight for time together. Be tough in the face of temptation and say "NO" to other people's pursuits! Be strong in your commitment to each other, to be a team, to make decisions together!
When medical issues arise, fight together. Call in other reinforcement if you need it!
Learn to discipline together , and carry each other's load by helping your husband get gas in the car or doing the dishes for your wife! Expect the struggles of life and fight them together, as a team!
If you are left alone because your spouse is tired, gives up and can't give what is needed, then you are going to need to be tough as you fight the struggles of life on your own.
I have watched single people, single parents and others who have been abandoned carry on with great fortitude. It takes twice as much energy, twice as much faith, twice as much positive attitude, and many sacrifices along the way. But many people have risen to that role they never wanted or expected.
Today my message to all of us is to expect great things from our marriages, but also plan on a day when it will not look like all we had dreamt. At that point we need to be tough and fight the problems together! Fighting life's challenges alone is achievable and oftentimes most to be respected and admired , but when you and your spouse have been tough together, then when the time has passed, or the challenge has been resolved, you can share the joy of making it through a hard time together.
So , whatever you are facing today, remember to be tough, or get ready to be tough and don't fight people, but fight the issue at hand!!!!