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I was unbuckling my kids from their car seats this morning at the “Y” and overheard a very loud Bluetooth conversation from the car next to me. An exasperated woman was talking to her (soon-to-be ex) husband about why things were “just not going to work out anymore” and how she had “tried and tried to tell (him) many times that (we)needed help.” Now, “it’s too late.” I couldn’t hear his words very clearly but I could sense a pleading and despair in his tone. The woman was most likely in her fifties. I wondered if she fit the common story of being a recent empty-nester now finding herself married to a stranger.
I then wondered about my own marriage and about my friends who are also in-the-trenches-with-littles parents. I wondered about the couples I knew who have kids who are about to launch into the adult world.
Then I wondered, “We are giving so much to our kids, but are we investing in our marriages?”
Are we remembering to prioritize each other and ourselves before it’s “too late?” Statistics don’t lie. Divorce is non-discriminatory. It doesn’t care if you’re religious, well-educated, stubborn, patient, beautiful, rich or pious. It can find any one of us. I hope that we all can take a sobering moment to be honest about the time and energy we’re investing in our marriages. I hope we can find creative solutions to make date nights happen. I hope that if we need help, we get it. My hope is that we never get to a point where our committed relationships feel hopeless.
If you’re feeling like your relationship could use a tune-up, consider seeking counseling. While therapy isn’t always cheap, it’s sure more affordable than divorce and your relationship is worth it. In the meantime, here are some books that may help you get back on track (I would also recommend these to newlyweds):
^This book offers a basic understanding of what works and what doesn’t work for couples from leading researcher Dr. John Gottman. Gottman’s research has led his team to predict the likelihood of divorce with astounding accuracy. This is a great place to start.
^My husband and I love the work of Dr. Sue Johnson which is also research-based. This book will take you deeper than Gottman’s work and will be a little more personalized.
^I’ll admit, I haven’t read this book in it’s entirety but it comes highly recommended from some of my marital therapist peers. I love how Hendrix helps us to see the (often untrue) assumptions that we make about our partners and ourselves.
^ In my opinion, this is the best Christian-based marriage book on the market today. It was just released in October of 2016. It is from the same author as the formerly mentioned “Hold Me Tight.”