The Appearance of an Effort in Marriage

Going to counseling will not fix your marriage.

Attending worship programs at Church will not solve the issues in your marriage. 

Reading a book will not give you a better marriage. 

Telling your friends, “I am trying,” will not change the situation in your home. 

Admitting your marriage is struggling will not heal your relationship. 

These things are great activities and could help you rebuild your relationship with your spouse, but only if you follow through with the advice you are given. 

Many of the couples I work with are not interested in making their marriage work.  They want to be able to tell their friends that they “made an effort.” This gives them the ability to shift the blame to the spouse so that they can move forward in a new direction without regrets.  The phrase, “Well, I tried,” is usually followed by a list of ways that they worked at it. “I knew we needed help, and once I broke down, we started going to counseling and attending Church.  Unfortunately, nothing helped.”  

The problem is that none of those activities constitute a real effort being given to work on the marriage.  Did you take the advice of the counselor and do what you were told? Did you have hard conversations?  Did you shut your phone off and talk?  How often did you have a date night?  Did you give yourself to your spouse more than your friends?  And did you start living for Jesus or just sit in a chair for an hour?  The list of action steps is long … did you DO anything productive?

I meet couples every single week who are struggling.  Most of them are more concerned with telling me their issues than doing the hard work of rebuilding. My advice is to stop worrying about building a resume of things that only appear you made an effort and do the challenging projects that bring results.

This is not intended to be harsh, but you need to hear straightforward talk to better your marriage.  Your friends might not be telling you the truth, or you are simply not listening.  Today can be the day you stop worrying about appearances and truly improve your marriage by doing something productive.      

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