The importance of giving to the marriage relationship cannot be emphasized too much! Many memes and humorous anecdotes abound on social media, describing the joys of marriage or the pitfalls of marriage. For instance, one post relayed this message: “Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need is two hearts and a diamond. By the end, you wish you had a club and a spade!” Now consider this example: “A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.” See the difference?
I’ve counseled with couples whose marriages resonated with both of those ideas. The common denominator is love, but not the “luv” you may be thinking. I’m not talking about love exclusively in the sexual or even emotional context. Love gives of itself in favor of seeking the greatest good for the other person without expectation of anything in return. Love ALWAYS gives. Love, by nature, is generous and self-sacrificing. And yes, I’ve heard the same banter for about 30 years now, and it still doesn’t wash: “But I am giving and (she/he) doesn’t give back to me. So I have to take care of me and give up on (him/her).” Blah…blah…blah…Bull!
Right Choices Make All the Difference
The majority of couples that I see have chosen not to be giving anymore because they don’t believe they’ve been given to (at least adequately). Then they come to me and wonder why the marriage isn’t working.
In one sense, it is true: if only one person in the relationship finds themselves giving, sharing, helping,… then, yes, after awhile the marriage can become very frustrating and feel one-sided. But two things are actually occurring in this situation: 1) if you believe the other partner is no longer giving or investing in the relationship, you might want to consider that they perceive your giving to have stopped or changed in some way; and 2) by choosing to live in the marriage relationship from a position of selfishness, you cut your nose off to spite your face! In other words, you are causing your own suffering by withholding love!
Love Never Fails (never stops giving of itself)
Love doesn’t stop giving because it isn’t being given to; love still gives above and beyond the call of duty, especially in those times that feel one-sided. Did you ever consider the possibility that there might be something going on in that other person’s life they haven’t shared with you and they just don’t have it within them during that season to give? Maybe they’re hurting for reasons totally unrelated to you and really could use your comfort, support, listening ear, touch, whatever. By choosing no longer to invest in the relationship tells the other partner you’re done and so the withholding can become mutual. Soon the relationship will suffer so greatly it will die because true love is no longer present. All because of poor choices.
There is no perfect marriage and marriage always requires constant investment. Read 1 Corinthians 13.4-8 again and see just a bit of what that relationship investment is like. God helps us to see in various portions of scripture that, in most cases, giving up on a relationship is not an option. If we give to the other as we are called to do and the other does the same, both our needs will be met consistently. And there is marital satisfaction.
“A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.”
Choose not to give up on each other. That is a huge first step towards rebuilding that relationship! Strike hateful and hurtful speech from your conversations. Strike the “D” word from your vocabulary entirely, if possible, the exception being situations of abuse. Choose to be thankful for your marriage partner and the life that you have. When you look for the negative, all you can see is negative. Look for the positive and you will have joy. And seek help. Start with God and work your way down. At Chrysalis Life Change Solutions, we believe everything that is broken can be mended if there is willingness to be patient and invest in repairs. After all, the one who designed marriage to be the way it is happens to be a carpenter! Contact us today!