We all get tired. Tired from work, tired from being a dad, tired from being a husband, tired from trying to make everything balance.
Then sometimes, less often, we get tired of work, tired of parenting, and tired of marriage. We feel overwhelmed, backed against the wall, despondent. We want a break from conflict and we want life to be easy again (as if it ever was…).
Sometimes we want out, and sometimes we have specific reasons that have broken our hearts and our trust. That’s when getting a divorce can look like the answer to all the tiredness and pain and misunderstanding and aggravation.
But here’s the thing. Life is hard sometimes. Parenting is hard sometimes. Marriage is hard sometimes, too. But, and this is true pretty much every time the question comes up, working hard at marriage is way better than divorce.*
It might be hard to believe, especially when you find yourself in a tough place, but it’s true. Here are 5 reasons why you should stay married.
1. “Easy” was never part of the agreement:
All marriage vows assume difficulty, sickness, tough times, financial hardship, and times of challenge. So where’s the glory in giving up just because the infatuation is gone and you both grew into cynical versions of the couple who fell in love all those years ago? Working hard is better than divorce because working hard is what you promised to do when you took those vows before God, your family, your friends, your community…and your future children.
2. Your kids need your very best:
You’re a dad. Don’t compromise on giving your kids the best shot possible at a happy home with parents who refuse to give up when the going gets tough. If there’s anything left in your reserves, any effort you can muster, any cost you can bear, any positive change you can make in your approach, do it as a husband and as a father.
3. Everything in life improves when we work at it:
Most problems turn into opportunities for growth when we work hard at solutions. Trying on new relational skills typically leads to being grateful for the bump in the road that forced the issue in the first place.
4. Hard work that brings results is always satisfying:
Guys like projects. We’re problem-solvers and we like to see the result of our labors. Identifying where we need to change and grow, and then doing something about it, is deeply satisfying.
5. Even costly counseling is cheaper than divorce:
Still resistant to getting help? Don’t want to cough up money for counseling? Try doing the math. Divorce is a financial burden that makes six-months of therapy look like a huge bargain. Make marriage your number one investment in time and money and reap the rewards – spiritually, socially, and financially.
Huddle up with your wife tonight and say: “I know we are going through a tough time in our marriage right now. Or that we will soon. I want you to know I am committed to working hard at it to get us to a much better place relationally.”
*Of course there are legitimate reasons a marriage ends (i.e. serial adultery, abandonment, etc.). But, the vast majority of people do not get divorced for these reasons.