I hear people say they “fell out of love.”
Couples lament that it “didn’t work out.”
I have heard some say they decided to “lovingly separate as a couple.”
Some realized they were “only staying together for the kids.”
Most often, “we just weren’t happy anymore.”
How awful that must be. To be in a marriage that no longer brings you joy—to feel that the love you once had is no longer enough.
It may not always feel like it, but love is enough.
From where I’m standing, marriage looks like a heroic challenge—nothing short of a miracle.
I’m not exactly what you would call an expert in relationships, especially when it comes to marriage. I’m a single twenty-three-year-old with a rickety relationship history and not much to offer when it comes to marital advice.
On the other hand, if you are looking for help with using “literally” incorrectly, spending too much money on craft beer, or avoiding commitment like the plague, I’m your girl.
Regarding marital challenges, I can imagine what it must be like to not feel in love with your spouse anymore. How painful it must be to slowly become more distant, to feel as though the person you married is a stranger. How difficult it must be to love someone for a lifetime—someone who is inevitably broken and who has undoubtedly hurt you.
If you have made it this far in the great Odyssey that is lifelong commitment, I commend you, honestly. And there is one thing I would like to tell you (married couples); one thing I hope you know (and fear many don’t); one thing many of us seem to forget, or never learned in the first place; one thing that scares me from taking marriage too lightly or a Hollywood romance too seriously.
I say this not as someone with great insight or noteworthy experience (did I mention I’m single?), but as someone who has experienced the ramifications of a love that was lost, vows that were broken.
Love is enough.
It may not always feel like it, but love is enough. It’s not what our culture tells us, but love is enough. You may have never been taught it, but love is enough. It may not be what you want to hear, but love is enough.
Feelings aren’t enough, money isn’t enough, children aren’t enough, jobs aren’t enough, time isn’t enough . . . but love is.
It’s enough because it’s a choice you make . . .
In good times and in bad,
In sickness and in health,
to love and to honor,
all the days of your life.
I know. How cheesy, how tired, how predictable of me to say that—not to mention a little “much” coming from a girl who can’t even commit to a gym membership.
But I learned, I felt it, I saw it: what happens when couples treat their marriage as something less than permanent, an empty promise. I can say that it was devastating. I can assure you the effects are long-lasting. I can attest to the grief that comes when “love isn’t enough.”
But it is. Feelings aren’t enough, money isn’t enough, children aren’t enough, jobs aren’t enough, time isn’t enough . . . but love is.
The decision to love is the only thing that is enough. That is why marriage is a commitment. Because when nothing else is keeping you there, the decision to love—the vow you made—demands that you stay.
I can’t pretend to fully understand the difficulty of marriage. I’m sure that to some of you, this is borderline laughable coming from me. What do I know?
I just know what happens when you leave.
As much as divorce has been trivialized and rationalized beyond belief, I can tell you from experience:
- Your kids don’t just “want you to be happy”—we want our family.
- We aren’t “resilient”—although we will survive, because we have no other choice.
- Two homes are not better than one.
- Nothing will be the same.
- No one will be “better off.”
I understand there are circumstances beyond your control. I know that marriage is unexpectedly difficult.
Marriage is hard work, but nothing in life worth doing is easy. Here are seven common relationship problems that can prevent your marriage from being the-best-version-of-itself—and what you can do about them. https://t.co/rYTyCswVWD pic.twitter.com/gd1iNOiKJx
— Dynamic Catholic (@DynamicCatholic) October 23, 2018
I also know that there are couples who do it. There are people who make it. Marriages that survive countless hardships, changes, and a lifetime of messiness. It is possible. And truly, it isn’t because they got lucky or because it was somehow easy for them. It was their decision; their steadfastness in the face of all the garbage life threw at them and in spite of the brokenness they saw in each other.
They chose to love and kept on choosing—there is never a time when you can’t choose love anymore.
Love doesn’t run out on us, and divorce is rarely the answer. Choose love. Choose your marriage.
I can’t tell you how to love, especially in the context of marriage. I can’t give you “10 Strategies for Saving Your Marriage” or “7 Ways to Be a Better Spouse.” I won’t pretend that I am remotely qualified to give you advice on those matters. But I do want to encourage you, to urge, that if you are struggling, if it has been difficult (maybe for a while) . . . you don’t give up.
Do one thing today to love your spouse: write them a letter, make a mental list of what you admire about them, take a minute to recall the day you met . . . just one thing.
Love doesn’t run out on us, and divorce is rarely the answer. Choose love. Choose your marriage. Choose your spouse, just like you did that day of celebration in front of your friends and family.
There are a plethora of people out there who are better suited than me to tell you how to make your marriage work. I can’t. I can only tell you that love is enough.
And I can ask of you what I asked of my own parents at the age of twelve.
“Blessed is the couple who understands their marriage as a pathway to heaven.”
The 21 Undeniable Secrets of Marriage by Allen Hunt