I recently received a question from a subscriber to my newsletter about “one-sided” marriages in response to my post about judging yourself as a spouse on a scale from 1-10. I thought I would share my response with you.
First, her question:
“I am curious if you have addressed the subject of one-sided marriages…when one spouse does not value or intend to keep the marriage while the other one hangs on to it for a variety of reasons. If you have something about that in your archives, I would love to read it. I imagine you often encounter the situation where on spouse wants to work on the marriage and the other doesn’t.”
This was my response:
One spouse working on the marriage is a bit different than one spouse not valuing or keeping the marriage.
Many spouses, from a certain ilk, don’t see a point in working on the marriage if, in their view, there is nothing wrong in the marriage. My father in law, for example, was someone who believed, “I said I love you over the alter. If that changes I’ll let you know.” So even if my MIL wanted to hear it, her nagging him to say it would cause more frustration than it did unity in their communication.
However, a person who is not keeping the marriage vows or valuing the marriage, is not, in my opinion, truly married. Sure on paper they are, but in their hearts, not so much. And I believe “where your heart is, your treasure (God) is also” is both a sentiment and a way of life. They are in essence “place holding” their life and the life of their spouse instead of being engaged in a good cause (marriage).
Rather than bothering with trying to get that person to come around to an idea they hold no value in, I would ask the spouse who is hanging on, “why?”
What are they trying to accomplish? Is it solely for the ability to say, “I’m trying” or in some way to be the victim to the circumstance? There is a reason that spouse allows that to be their situation.
Some might site a religious belief as the reason for this self induced life sentence of unhappiness. I don’t by that for 2 reasons. 1- I don’t believe a loving God would want his child to live in self induced loneliness and unhappiness, especially when the ability to live happily exists. (It’s not like we live in a society where you have no choice) Men are that they might have joy, are they not?
And 2- a marriage, especially a covenant marriage is to be earned. Just because two people got married “the right way” does not automatically give them the reward after this life.
I believe we will have the same appetites and desires after this life that we have in this life so if two people are not living a covenant marriage in this world, they will not all of a sudden decide to do so after. I believe there are principles we have to live by in this life, otherwise we “have no reward.”
Again, I would not so much focus on the person who is checked out of the marriage as I would the person who is allowing it to happen. We teach others how to treat us and we allow others to act a certain way towards us. That can be a stranger on the street, our children or our spouse.
In closing, I believe that every marriage is one sided. You both have an equal responsibility to choose in everyday. You can only be responsible for you, how you show up and what you are willing to accept.
I hope that helps,
What do you think? Was I too harsh? Was I completely off?
I would love to hear any of your thoughts.