There are days you wake up and have no motivation to go to work. Times when you don’t feel like seeing your in-laws and weekends and there’s no desire to get out of the bed anytime between Friday evening and Monday morning. However, when the lack of motivation creeps into marriage and you begin struggling to even want to work through marital challenges, it’s time to sound the alarm.
Incessant arguing. Constantly feeling hurt and empty. Money issues. The never-ending feeling of being lonely. It can feel like the easy answer is to stop trying.
Is it unusual to get to a place in your marriage where you want to give up?
I would’ve answered this question with a loud “NO WAY” when I first got married, but then I talked to a couple who’d been married for over 40 years. I asked a simple question: “Did you ever want to give up on your marriage?”
They looked at me like I was crazy and said “Are you kidding me? Yes!” Then, they shared some dark moments in their marriage. Moments of betrayal of trust and times of extreme disconnect. They admitted there were times when they just weren’t sure. But, they also said, “We’re glad we stuck in there because we wouldn’t trade these 40 years for anything.”
How’d they do it? How did they stay motivated when they were experiencing difficult marital challenges? The couple told me their secret: “You just have to remember.”
“Remember what exactly?”
Remember your why.
Why’d you get married in the first place? People marry for several different reasons: love, kids, a passion for another, to have companionship. Your why doesn’t have to match anyone else’s why. The neverending nature of your why can help you outlast the temporary challenges you face in marriage.
Remember your story.
Pictures. Videos. Experiences. Memories mean little without the story attached to them. You look at them to remember the story. It connects you with the positive energy captured during the moment that’s worth remembering. Let that energy motivate you to keep going. Your story helps you remember what you’ve built together.
It isn’t just about reliving your past. It’s about guiding and maintaining your perception of your spouse and your marriage. It is about truly seeing the person you’re with. It’s about being reminded of who you are and even how you’ve evolved over the years.
Remember to never stop connecting.
Keep searching for better ways to communicate, be playful, and spend quality time with one another. Regardless of how challenging marriage gets, to stop communicating is never the answer. Connecting in hard conversations, through disappointments, and in the midst of hurt is better than not communicating at all. Anytime you stop talking, you’ll slowly feel the wedge between the two of you grow bigger.
Remember you’re not alone.
Hearing a couple who had been married for 40 years share some of their darkest moments was motivational for my own marriage. They were proud to have made it 40 years, and I could sense they felt their life was better for it. Since then, I’ve learned many couples, if not most couples, have gone through difficult moments where they felt like giving up was really the best option on the table. So, when you find yourself hurting and questioning if it’s worth it to hang on, reach out to other couples who have walked the road before you and made it to the other side in one piece. Connecting with other healthy couples who are willing to be honest and real can inspire you to stay focused on your marriage when it appears hopeless. Also, a good marriage counselor can help you work through some of the toughest marriage challenges.
Sometimes we get so focused on what our spouse is or isn’t doing we lose sight of ourselves. Research shows when a person has a negative perception of work, family, themselves, and just life in general, they are more likely to be unhappy in their relationships. Continue to grow and practice good self-care. It may help you to get a fresh perspective that can help you thrive in the midst of some of the most difficult times.
When you remember these things, you’ll realize no matter how big the problems may seem, your commitment to each other is bigger. The urge to stop trying is real. But, you have everything you need in your memory bank to fight the urge to quit and help your brain to keep moving forward. The darkest part of a cave is right before you see the light. Focus on using the tools you have to get to the light and stop the darkness from making you a permanent resident.
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***
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