Marriage issues are common but in my community, it is taboo to talk about them. It is almost as though everyone is expected to be married and live happily ever after even though many people are not. The fact is 51% of marriages end in divorce and less than 20% of marriages are actually thriving.
Many of us struggle in our homes with spouses that are unfaithful, addicted to porn, gambling, have anger issues and or even struggle with alcohol and other drug addictions. For some of us it is the pain and shame of domestic violence and for others our struggles come from having different parenting styles or living with a spouse with mental illness or chronic disease or sexual dysfunction.
Instead of us to seek help, we cover up our struggles because we are ashamed. We personalize things and we tell ourselves that we must be bad spouses, bad parents and are too embarrassed to actually make the tough decisions that may be required during the tough times, which to some, is for most of the duration of their marriage. For many of us, we stop attending functions with our spouses and others even go as far as to cut themselves out completely from their community of support because they are afraid of what people will say or think. We are ashamed!
Marriage is not easy, people do cheat, people lie and hurt each other; people come into marriage with their own personal, sometimes very deep rooted issues that we cannot cure or even change. Marriages do undergo difficult situations and some make it while others do not. This has been like this from the beginning of time and will always be.
I want you to know that you are not alone in your pain, you are not alone in this misery; you are not alone in this dessert of struggle. In the dessert of struggle, there is an oasis and it is called “community.” I hope you can feel and hear my sincere words when I say to you, take away the veil of shame and sorrow. You need not walk around with your head buried in the sand, you need not worry about what people are going to think or say. You definitely should not keep those problems to yourself because they have the ability to make you physically sick.
First find a trusted friend whom you can share your burdens with, preferably someone of the same gender (I will be writing about safeguarding your marriage soon). Make sure the friend you are sharing with is someone that can be objective not negative. Seek out advice from someone whose life is a testament of health, because not every trusted friend is a healthy friend. If that does not work, find a pastor, a spiritual leader, an elder, or a therapist. In the midst of this, draw closer to God, pray because these moments have an uncanny habit of zapping your spirit and leaving you feeling like the walking dead. Make sure you get spiritual nourishment, it will sustain you. Whatever you do, do not abandon your spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, reading scriptures etc.
Do not be in denial about your issues, talk with your spouse about it, we are truly only as sick as our secrets. Rather than ignoring your issues, create a plan of action. If this issue requires medical attention, go to the doctor with your spouse, if it requires other interventions, follow through with them. Shame does not produce change, courage does.
Your peace and the happiness of your family is germane. Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions to leave or stay, neither of those two decisions are easy to make. They both take courage. I have heard many people say that it is easy to walk away from a relationship. Actually, the opposite is true. It is extremely difficult to walk away and it is equally tough to stay.
Know that you are not alone except you choose to be. Find a community, church, support group, a counselor, a coach. Whatever you do, don’t do nothing!
Take off the Shroud of fear, shame, unworthiness, inadequacy, and put on the words of God that says you are loved, you are wonderfully created. Understand that sorrow may last for a night (and it might be a long night) but joy comes in the morning. Learn from your struggles and live! Be encouraged.