I had an email, from a woman, asking how we go about accepting an unhappy marriage.
This actually brings up a couple of other questions. Should we accept an unhappy marriage? When should we accept an unhappy marriage?
First let’s be clear we’re talking about unhappy, not abusive or destructive. Second, please know long term marital unhappiness is actually rather rare. One large study done in the USofA found that when unhappy couples stayed married two-thirds of them reported being happily married five years later. Less than 3% of those in the study said they were unhappy in their marriages for more than five years.
As to when: I’d say you need to give it five years. Keep praying, working, and hoping, because the odds are good it will get better.
As to should we: I have to say yes. For better or worse till death does us part makes no room for “I’m not happy” or “I’m not fulfilled” or even “I’ve given it my all for five years.” If there is no abuse, danger, or ongoing sexual sin, I think those who follow Jesus are stuck. I don’t like that, but I can’t find a way around it without doing damage to the integrity of God’s Word.
So then, how does one accept an unhappy marriage?: Let’s start by saying this is not God’s will. He didn’t do this to you and He doesn’t want you to suffer this way. God’s will is for you and your husband to have a great marriage that blesses both of you. Thing is, we all have free will, and as Lori and I often say free will sucks. (Actually, my free will is fine, it’s everyone else’s that’s a problem!)
For whatever reason, you’re stuck in a marriage that makes you feel like you’re dying inside. If it’s been five years, who cares about where to place the blame. It’s no fun and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get much better. At this point, I suggest you choose to have a life you enjoy while staying with the man you married. Give him what’s due if he makes that possible, and then get out there and get a life. If you think he’ll listen you might explain this is what you’re going to do. Tell him you have no intentions of leaving him, but neither are you going to sit home and be miserable.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and I know some women with awesome lives despite being married to stick-in-the-mud men.
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