There was a time in my idealistic life when I believed that marriage would solve all of my problems and my life would feel complete. Now I realize that marriage was never meant to solve my problems after all my problems are mine and my husband’s problems are his. While it is good to share your problems with your spouse, it is not their responsibility to “fix” you any more than it is your responsibility to “fix” them.
The fantasy that marriage would complete my life was even more damaging as it put too many expectations and pressures on the institute of marriage. I had made marriage an idol of sorts and once achieved my life was suppose to become easier, better, and more fulfilling. Marriage replaced God in my life and instead of worshiping Him, I worshiped marriage.
Where are you with your marriage? Spend a few moments working through this exercise and then ask your spouse to do the same. It might be very revealing.
• Define marriage.
• What do you expect to get from marriage?
• As a child what did you learn about marriage?
• What did your parents teach you about marriage?
• How can two separate people “become one”?
• What have you learned about marriage from Scripture or other readings?
• Name three Biblical characters that had a perfect marriage. What was right about it?
• Name three people in your life that have a good marriage. What is good?
• Name three people in your life that have a dysfunctional marriage. What is bad?
• How has your idea of what is good in a marriage influenced your actions in your marriage?
• How has your idea of what is bad in a marriage influenced your actions?
• Evaluate your marriage but creating a balance sheet with one side of the paper identifying what is working and the other of the paper identifying what is not working. Do you and your spouse agree?
• When is the last time you and your spouse talked about your marriage without it becoming a heated argument?
After you and your spouse have completed this exercise, take a few moments to review each other’s comments without jumping to conclusions about what they “are really saying”. Instead, ask questions to gain understanding and insight without interrogating. Be willing to equally respond to your spouse with open honest answers.
If this exercise is too much or causes more problems than it might be time to seek out a marriage counselor. A dysfunctional marriage can be a drain on your energy and contribute greatly to your exhaustion. I have seen many dysfunctional marriages become functional and yours can improve.