Don’t Give Up by Gary Chapman

Great article from Gary Chapman about reasons not to give up on your marriage.

Don’t Give Up
Do you feel like giving up on your marriage? I’ve been counseling people with marital struggles for over thirty-five years. And, often they have no hope. They are living in very difficult marriages. I am under no illusion that I can give a magic formula to bring healing to all such marriages, but I do believe that in every troubled marriage, steps can be taken by one partner, that have the potential for changing the emotional climate between the two of them. The first step is to make the decision not to give up. 

The Problems with Divorce
There are three radical and negative approaches to a troubled marriage: suicide, homicide, and divorce. The first two are considered unthinkable by intelligent, mentally healthy people. On the other hand, divorce is often seen as a humane way of ending the pain of an unhealthy marriage. Some have divorced two, three or more times and are still in search of a happy marriage.

When I did the research for my book: Desperate Marriages, I discovered that divorce does not solve problems; it creates problems. Problems that never go away. The answer is not found in running, but in learning. Learn what is behind your spouse’s bad behavior. Then you can ask God for wisdom on how to respond. You can be a part of the solution.

Dr. Judith Wallerstein has studied the topic of divorce for more than 20 years. Here are her conclusions. “People want to believe that divorce will relieve all their stresses – back we go to square one and begin our lives anew. But divorce does not wipe the slate clean…Few adults anticipate accurately what lies ahead when they decide to divorce.  Life is almost always more arduous and more complicated than they expect.”

Generational Effects
When parents divorce, typically children feel intensely rejected. Children get angry at their parents for violating the basic rule of parenthood – parents are supposed to make sacrifices for children, not the other way around. Because we are creatures of memory, we may carry the pain of broken relationships for a lifetime.

After the divorce, most parents plan to continue good relationships with their children, but parent-child relationships are forever altered by divorce. As adults, they often fear that their own marriage will fail. And in fact, the divorce rate for ‘children of divorce’ is higher than for those whose parents stay together. By continuing to work on your marriage, you could actually save your children much relational baggage.

From Bad to Worse
Does divorce seem like the best alternative to you? If so, I hope you’ll read my book – Desperate Marriages. Divorce, unlike death, does not end contact with the other person, especially if you have children. Nor is divorce a pretty picture financially. Research indicates that 73 % of divorced women experience a decline in standard of living.

One wife said, “Our marriage was bad, but our divorce is even worse. I still have all the responsibilities I had when we were married, but now I have less time and less money.” The effects of divorce linger for a lifetime.

Are you in a desperate marriage? If the answer is yes, do yourself a favor…read a book, talk with a counselor or pastor, share with a trusted friend, but refuse give up.


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