Mark: “I’m just tired and I want to be done.” I’ve heard that from two long-married, currently separated couples in the last month. I understand those feelings. I was there seven years ago, too.
Jill: That’s really how the slow fades work. We put up with things, minimize them, sweep them under the rug, don’t really resolve conflict, resist asking for help, and tell ourselves “it isn’t worth it.” Add to that our tendency over time to only see what our spouse doesn’t do–which causes us to be blind to the good they bring to our life–and we’re set up for “being tired and wanting to be done.”
Mark: Being done isn’t the answer though. You’ll simply leave one relationship filled with challenges and likely someday enter another relationship filled with challenges. When any two people try to build a life together, it’s hard! Another relationship isn’t the answer because it will take about 2.5 years (according to research) for you to find yourself just as frustrated in the new relationship as you were in the old.
Jill: So what’s a person to do when they’re “tired and ready to be done?” We need to BE the change we want in our marriage.
Be kind. Feel like your spouse isn’t treating you kindly? Take a look at how you’re really treating him/her. Be the kind you’re looking for.
Be attentive. If your spouse isn’t “meeting your needs” dig deep and really look at what you’re bringing to the game. Are you attentive to the things that truly are important to him or her? Be the attentive spouse you’re looking for.
Be faith-filled. If you long for spiritual connection with your spouse, take an honest evaluation about whether you’re walking by faith way more than walking in anger, walking in blame, walking in shame, or walking in criticism.
Be grateful. If you’re feeling taken advantage of or not valued, take a hard look at where you focus your thoughts about your spouse. Start a list today of all the positive things your spouse brings to the marriage.
Be humble. Are you waiting for your partner to apologize? Determined that you won’t apologize one more time until he or she does? We’re responsible only for the messes we make. Even if you make 5% of the mess and your spouse makes 95% of the mess (from your perspective), then you need to clean up your 5% regardless of whether your spouse tends to his or her 95% or not.
Be compassionate. Instead of seeing your spouse’s issues as a personal offense to you, see them as a representation of his or her blind spot or lost-ness–especially if he or she isn’t walking with Christ.
Be willing to ask for help. Stop trying to put the pieces back together alone. And if you’re the only one who seems to be willing to tend to the broken pieces then get yourself in counseling, or working with a marriage coach, or digging into your own “junk in the trunk.” You’ve probably been carrying stuff from when you were 12 into your adult years and ultimately into your marriage. It’s time to stop dragging all that around and letting it poison the relationships that mean the most to you.
Mark: When we dig into God’s Word we don’t see quitting as an option. Instead we see commitment, long-suffering, and perseverance being what God calls us to. He doesn’t say that it will be easy…He just promises we won’t walk it alone.
Jill: It’s okay to feel tired and long for something different than what you have. Recognize, however, that you can change that today. YOU can be the change you want to see in your marriage.
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