Monday, December 23, 2013

When Your Marriage is Falling Apart

I heard a statistic (I think it was on the news) a few months ago that most marriages end after twenty years of marriage. I was surprised and saddened. Why invest so much of your life into a relationship and then give up? I discussed it with my husband, who I believe to very wise. He said, "Think about it. Women invest most of their time and energy into the kids while their husbands invest most of their energy into their jobs." Now don't get me wrong. I know most moms are also hard-working employees, but this means they are pulled two ways: they invest almost as much time and energy into their jobs as they do their children. It's draining and frustrating. So when the kids grow up and leave the nest, a big part of that energy that was invested in the kids is left in limbo.

We women are emotional creatures, designed that way by God. If we neglect our husbands while focusing on our kids, we've created a gap in the marriage. Suddenly we have "empty nest" syndrome and don't know where to focus our energy. We try to get husband's attention but he's still focused on his job. We often find that what were once mutual interests have changed. We're no longer running to athletic practices and events, pediatricians, musical try-outs, kids' birthday parties, etc. What did we used to enjoy doing with our husbands before kids? We don't have the energy for those things any more, and anyway the job is too demanding. Husband wants to start doing things together again but our schedules don't co-inside. What to do? Is the marriage doomed to fail?

It would be nice to be able to save every marriage. I am not able to save any marriage. I don't have all the answers. What I have are suggestions that I hope will help.
1) Make your marriage your priority. If your spouse doesn't seem to be interested, open a dialogue. What would your spouse like to see happen with the marriage?
2) Talk about things you'd like to do.
3) Plan a surprise weekend getaway.
4) Be willing to change your traditions to accommodate your spouse. Compromise is good and healthy.
5) Snuggle on the couch and hold hands while watching a movie or a football game.
6) Talk about things you can do together to build this new chapter of your lives. Decide where the kids will fit in now that they are out of the nest. Will you keep a house for them to come home to, or will you downsize your living arrangements and go visit them?

Add your own suggestions to this site if you'd like. If the site won't let you, leave me a message with your name, initials, or anonymously, and I will post it for you. God bless.
'Tis the season to be joyful. While holidays can be stressful, and even painful, for some people, there are a few things I'd like to suggest to help you make it through. If you're grieving over the loss of a loved one and it's hard to even have the energy to get through the day, take time for yourself. When you're feeling down you need to do something to bolster your spirits. Call a friend you haven't been in contact with for a while. Treat yourself and/or a friend to a dessert you really like that you haven't indulged in for months or more. Watch a funny movie or cartoon. Make something or do something you've put off, something that you can take pleasure in. Visit someone who is shut in and cheer them up. Go caroling with a group to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Maybe treat yourself to a day at a spa. Most of all, don't push yourself so hard that you wear yourself out. Give yourself time to grieve. Grieving is natural and necessary. There is no time limit. I know a sweet older gentleman (92 years old) who lost his wife six years ago. He keeps himself busy but he still misses her every day. God bless you. Let God help you through this difficult time. He understands grief.