What do parents say when life gets hard with their children?
“We are exhausted all of the time. I don’t know how to do this well.”
“Is there a class we can take? Can you recommend a good book? Maybe she needs counseling.”
“I love him, I just don’t like him right now.”
“It’s a season. It will get better, right?”
“How did you handle it when your daughter went through this?”
Now, what do spouses often say when marriage gets hard?
“I’m just so tired of this. I want out.”
“I refuse to go to counseling.”
“I don’t love her anymore.”
“There’s no way this can ever improve.”
“I can’t talk to anyone about my marriage.”
Why the stark difference? Why is it that as parents we don’t quit our children, but when marriage gets tough we can be so quick to walk away? Parents will pay any amount and spend so much time and energy to make sure Junior is happy, but then refuse to put any effort into the relationship that created Junior in the first place. We chose our spouses, so doesn’t it seem that we would be most loyal to that choice? I’m certainly not advocating lowering our responsibility to our children, I am suggesting that there is a very real disconnect in our allegiance.
What if we were as fierce for our marriages as we are for our kids?
The truth is that both these important relationships can be exhausting, with ebbs and flows. Realistically, in both your child’s life and in your marriage, having someone with more knowledge and experience can be a lifeline. And honestly there is always hope, even when it feels hopeless. Fight for your marriage just like you would, or do, fight for your child. It’s worth it.