Why is it so hard to stay married?
March 2, 2021 By Doug Stephens
Why is it so hard to stay married these days? That is a question that I had a student ask me recently. There are certainly a lot of answers to that and even a lot of other questions like, why are there fewer marriages these days? My wife and I have been married, on August 3rd of this year, for 30 years. We have built a beautiful life together. However, it isn’t always beautiful. Marriage takes a lot of work. I want to offer a few thoughts on staying married in difficult times.
In 2004, Anna and I built our house that we currently live in (in Havana). It’s a beautiful 5Br, 3 Ba home that we built ourselves with some major help from her Dad, Gino. As beautiful as this home is…if we did absolutely nothing to it after creating it so pristine…it would deteriorate. It amazes me that people think that if you don’t spend time investing in your relationship that you would have any different results than a deteriorated relationship. People think that they “fell out of love”. No, you both didn’t invest in the single most important institution ever created.
How can you better invest? At Live the Life, we teach skills that are necessary for a great relationship. Before I went through skills building, I thought I had a great relationship. Many people would comment what a great couple Anna and I were and I thought we were pretty awesome! But…I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Some tough times were around the corner and I wasn’t prepared to deal with them properly. When I learned the skills necessary it was a game changer! I was a teacher (10 years in Christian Schools and 11 years in Public Schools) as well as a Pastor (we planted a church in Midway that I am still the Senior Pastor), but yet I knew little to nothing about necessary skills for a healthy marriage.
Good marriages need plenty of stick-to-itiveness. We have to work hard. We have to spend time together. We have to have the Lord. We have to love unconditionally. But, learning the skills necessary to do conflict resolution, communicate properly under stress, and learn how to really listen will help you have a marriage that will last for a lifetime. I haven’t made it to that yet, so my marriage is still just a work in progress. Since we own our own home, we have made improvements since we built it…just like our marriage. Will you commit to doing at least 8 hours of relationship education every year with your spouse and improve your marriage? Then, it won’t be “so hard” to stay married.