Marriage is not easy, and at times, for some of you, it feels almost impossible. Day in and day out it’s a never-ending cycle of disappointment, anger, or regret. You lose hope every day that there is a chance your marriage could last forever.
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And why would you even want a marriage like that to last forever?
Benefits of Marriage
Let’s be selfish for a minute. There are many great reasons to stay married. Staying married is better for you physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally than getting divorced.
People who are married generally have lower stress levels and a smaller chance of becoming depressed. They are physically healthier and even have better outcomes after surgery. They are usually more financially secure, perhaps creating some of those lower stress levels. A stable marriage gives us a chance to know the joy of unconditional love and companionship.
Effects of Divorce
On the flip side, divorced men and women who have gone through a divorce tend to have more issues with their health. The adverse effects of divorce are detrimental today than ever. For example, for women, the chance of suffering a heart attack after a divorce increases by 24%. If they’ve divorced twice, it jumps to 77%! The stress of the financial setback divorce causes never seems to resolve unless the woman remarries.
In some ways, men could suffer emotionally from the effects of divorce more than previously thought. Men do a better job of hiding their feelings about the loss of intimacy, social connection, financial security, and possibly time with their children. Because they aren’t as willing to express those feelings, they can become depressed easily.
Children also suffer significantly from divorce. They often have behavior issues, trouble in school, and poor social skills. More contentious divorces not only affect a child’s grades but can cause the kids to act aggressively with other kids, especially among boys. Teenagers often get into drugs or drop out of school.
There is a higher rate of depression for girls of a divorce which makes it difficult for them to concentrate. This issue can be seen not only at school but also in other situations. Both sexes suffer more often with low self-esteem, poor judgment, anxiety, and insecurity.
Why do people divorce, then?
These effects of divorce I listed are not groundbreaking news. Most people are well aware of the problems that can occur during and after a divorce. So why do people divorce anyway?
(I know that there are extreme cases where divorce could be warranted. This post is NOT about those cases.)
First of all, our society has become increasingly self-centered and self-indulgent over time. Many people enter marriage with a “What can you do for me?” kind of attitude. They are looking for someone who will make them feel good in every way possible. And if their spouse doesn’t make the grade, they assume it was not the right person for them, and they leave or look for someone else to make them feel that way.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4
Sometimes marriages fail because of unrealistic expectations. People believe that marriage will cure everything that is wrong with their lives, and when they realize that marriage inherently has problems of its own, they become disillusioned with their partner, blaming them for the issues.
Many people go into marriage assuming it is something that will not last forever. I’ve read articles where the author gives ideas for how to prepare for divorce before it even happens. Since people don’t believe that marriage is “’til death do us part,” they prepare to throw in the towel as soon as the rocky times come.
A Change in Mindset
There is a way to stop the craziness in your marriage. There is a way to create a relationship that you feel is worth celebrating. It starts with you, though. And it requires a complete change in your mindset about marriage.
I have identified seven mindset shifts that can change the way you feel about your marriage. By living with these front and center in your thinking, you will see your marriage differently. If you and your spouse both approach your relationship with these mindsets, the differences could be life-changing.