The Cost of Giving Up

A recent post from Ransomed Heart Ministries caught me with this;

I began to realize that what I’ve done for most of my life is resign myself to this idea: I’m really not going to have any lasting joy. And from that resignation, I’ve gone on to try and find what I could have. Women do this in marriage. They see that they are not going to have any real intimacy with their husbands, so they lose themselves in soaps or tabloids or romance novels.” Joy | Ransomed Heart Ministries

The Cost of Giving Up

I certainly understand why men and women “give up” when it looks like something will never happen. “I will never have real intimacy in my marriage” or “My spouse will never desire to have sex with me” or “My spouse will never care about my wanting to _____.” Months or years of not having a need met hurts; it hurts a lot. Giving up feels like a solution because it numbs the pain somewhat. Then we add some activity (or call it an idol or an addiction if you like) to further numb the pain, and for the most part, we stop hurting.

The problem with giving up is it stops any real chance of ever getting what we want. There are times when giving up is the only sane option, but all too often we give up way too soon. We give up not because there is no real hope, but because we don’t think we can take it any longer. We give up before we should, and we may give up on the verge of a breakthrough.

I’ve seen many couples where one spouse gave up and unplugged from the marriage. At some time later their spouse changed and became what they had wanted and needed. I mean really changed, really became what had desired. I have rarely seen this result in a happy ending. Most of the time, the one who gave up refuses to believe the change is real. More accurately, they’re unwilling to risk finding out. They are unwilling to face being hurt again now that they have numbed the pain. They reject their heart’s desire because they choose to give up and kill the pain. 

The reality is people do change. It’s never as fast as we would like, but it does happen. Those who hold out hope may suffer more for a time, but in the end, they are far happier and better off than those who give up. Giving up should never be a throwaway choice, it should only happen after some hard thinking and prayer. 

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I speak from personal experience on this.

Links may be monetised
Image Credit: © samopauser |

Shop Amazon ♦ Shop to give links page
We’re donation supported Thanks for your help!
Where we’re going Contact us about speaking

13 Comments on “The Cost of Giving Up

  1. But, we are also told to be realistic and lower our expectations. Expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed and all that. You can’t change someone, so change yourself. So, they do. They stop trying with the brick wall of a spouse and find other ways to do life.

    • @Libl – I’m not a fan of lowering expectations. Have realistic expectations yes, but lowering them to protect our feelings. Beyond that, folks have a way of living up to or down to expectations, so I think they matter.
      It’s certainly a tricky issue. And while you can’t change someone else, you can often facilitate change. Or, you can block change or facilitate not changing.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Time To Deal With The Difficult StuffMy Profile

  2. Thanks for encouragement. I needed that. I have changed, but my husband is currently in the “hard-to-believe-it” stage.

    • Well, not necessarily. (I agree that in practice, yeah, a lot of the times people aren’t hitting acceptance, they are resigned and a little bitter.)

      But I say not necessarily because sometimes (rarely) people go through a grieving process, and it’s that they hit a point of acceptance.

      E.g., my husband and I infrequently have sex and it is 100% his choice and there is nothing I can do about it. I also will turn 37 in March. I do not have 20 years to wait for my husband’s spiritual awakening because I will not physically be able to have children in 20 years or 10 years (though 5 is a possibility, according to my doctor).

      Although I am scheduled for my third and last IUI on Monday, if that doesn’t work, the odds of my ever having children is infinitesimal, and it is my husband’s “fault.” When I choose to give up on having children or on having a healthy sex life, it is after 3.5 years of soul searching and working through all five stages of grief. I am truly not bitter or angry. It is what it is, and I accept that, even if I don’t like it.

      Honestly, not giving up — not accepting this — was when I was most bitter and depressed. Now, I can just let go. It’s not without pain, but it’s like grieving someone who is dead.

  3. Sometimes the change required is a daunting task that can only be accomplished with assistance and time. Sometimes lots of time. It is often difficult for the partner hoping for change to be patient and baby steps often go un-noticed. No, you can’t change someone else, but if they are trying, every positive advancement should be acknowledged even if the progression isn’t as fast as one would like. Focus on what is going right, not what is still going wrong. Encouragement always works better than ridicule.

    Sometimes things might not be able to be changed, like George in the previous post. He can
    come up with triggers and schedules to help him think about sex and initiate etc. But he may never be able to feel a true physical urge to be sexual. Sometimes good enough might be good enough without having to give up.

    • I am sooo conjecturing here, but I think this process is something like….

      A gives up on something …. long time passes … B starts working on that something … more time passes … B gets to the point A always wanted, A no longer cares.

      I completely agree that ridicule has no place in a marriage. This is true even when one person is in sin that has to be dealt with. And we should always encourage each other in our growth.

      I think, though, it frequently may not be obvious that B is even working on anything, especially if A has already given up and is no longer looking for changes. Like, in the case of George, if his wife had already given up on intimacy and quit initiating, she’s not going to notice any changes until waaaay after he has started working on himself, because she’s not even bringing up the thing that he’s working on.

      • I get this. Went through years being treated like junk in my marriage that escalated into emotional, verbal, and even instances of threatened physical abuse and one instance of sexual abuse. I finally set boundaries and worked on loosening myself of my codependency. At the other end of it I found that I just don’t care much anymore.

        He is a lot nicer now (with times of jerkdom rather than being the norm). Sex still stinks, but is better than the nothing and selfishness that it was, but now I don’t much care for having sex with him. I don’t much care to spend time with him. I used to move mountains to be with him.

        I recognize this and am praying for the Lord to restore what has been lost to the hurt in me.

      • @sunny-dee – Yes, that is exactly it.
        There is something between giving up and living every moment looking for the change. If one can find that place, they can hang on a long time. It’s still painful, but it can be done.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…32 Years and CountingMy Profile

  4. I may get skewered for saying this, but the best marriage advice I ever got came from my mother. “Your marriage will be unfulfilling, tedious and leave you wishing for the love you thought you were getting but didn’t. Your career will be the same. So will parenting. And all your hobbies. Accept it and live for the little moments in life because that’s as good as it gets. Do what God called you to do. And rest in His love not your husband’s or you’ll end up having an affair.” I balked at this ten years ago when I still believed in my dreams of wedded bliss, but I’m so thankful for it now. I would have turned to despair a long time ago without it.

    • @Madeline12, well it’s better than the marriage advice I was given, which was – absolutely nothing!
      Anyhow, I think it’s pretty good advice. So often we get caught up in the “fairytale” sold to us by the world, fiction novels, movies, magazines. Our expectations are too high and we miss the “little moments”. Little moments can be great.
      “Do what God called you to do” and “rest in His Love not your husband’s” are two pieces of advice and wonderful tips I wish my mother, or any other woman, would have shared with me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: