Listen Live


by Harriet Hairston

There are times when the cycle of my marriage frustrates me to the point where I question whether or not it’s worth staying in it. I hate to break it to you, but it just is what it is. When that happens, my emotional state actually attempts to talk me into disregarding all the growth and beauty that has taken place over the last 5 years and abandon ship. I’m forced to choose between the natural instincts of fight or flight. Fight for my marriage or flee to what seem like greener pastures.

Don’t get upset with me. I realize this is a website that CELEBRATES marriage. It’s a beautiful thing. Yet whether you’ve been married a day or over a decade, you will realize that it’s not always peaches and cream. Words are spoken too harshly, jobs are lost, wrong influences invade the home…THINGS HAPPEN! If they haven’t, brace yourselves…because it’s coming. The question is, what are you going to do when those storms arise?

Just today, I wrote myself a message that almost took me to the flight instinct. Our financial situation is really difficult right now, and it’s definitely taking a toll on my emotions. I wrote, “I seriously don’t know how much more I can take. I’m tired of being at this standstill. To the right, left, above and beneath, I’m feeling stifled.” You can imagine the pity party that thesis statement led to in my mind.

If I’m the only one, cool. Don’t even bother reading anymore. Refer back to this article when you’re ready to get real with me. We’ve been through some hell in our marriage, but to God’s credit, we didn’t stay there. It was just one of those hellish days today, and we had to deal with it. Here are the tools we used to keep this from activating our “flight” mechanism:

* COMMUNICATE. We had a come to Jesus meeting where we put it all out there. Our frustrations, fears, how pissed off we were about certain things, etc.

* DON’T TAKE IT PERSONAL. I said some things I know my husband didn’t want to hear, and the same vice versa. But we talked to each other and not at each other about them, and thus we were able to put them into proper perspective.

* DETERMINE THE PROS AND CONS OF YOUR MARRIAGE. If the bad outweighs the good, can that be changed? If the good outweighs the bad, how can you shift your perspective to see it that way?

* EVALUATE THE PROBLEM AT HAND. If it’s a multitude of things, deal with each of them one at a time. For me, it was our money situation. But after determining the pros and cons above, I realized that the growth we’ve experienced together emotionally is worth more than what money can buy.

* MAKE A DECISION. Given the facts, put it all on the line. Is it worth it to commit suicide on your marriage over a temporary situation? Only you can answer that question, but it’s not worth tiptoeing around. I’m not talking about ultimatums here, but a serious evaluation of what your next move is going to be.

We had a breakthrough in communication today. For the first time, I didn’t carry these feelings around for days, weeks and months because I was afraid he didn’t want to hear it. For the first time, I addressed my emotions without fear of him taking it personal and blowing up. For the first time, he RESPONDED instead of the knee jerk reaction I was expecting. For the first time, WE see one another in a new light, giving God glory for mediating between us.

With transparency, vulnerability and the desire grow in love towards one another, a potentially damaging discussion sparked a fire within both of us to continue to fight for our marriage.