If I asked you to rate your marriage today on a scale of one to ten, with ten being “awesome,” what would you say? Some of you would say a ten. Or maybe your marriage is so good that you would say eleven or twelve! On the other end of the spectrum, some would say one or zero—or less than zero! The majority of us would probably be somewhere in the middle, depending on the day. There are some days you might give your marriage a seven or eight, and other days it might get only a four or five. No matter where you rate your marriage, this blog is for you!
As a counselor, I sometimes see couples that have a “ten” marriage put their marriage on autopilot. They worked very hard to get their ten and think they don’t have to work on it anymore. They assume that they can coast; or simply sit back and reap the fruits of their efforts. The only thing really wrong with this approach is that it doesn’t work. If I were an artist (which I am not) and finished a great painting, my work would be over. I could sit back and relax and enjoy looking at it day after day. I wouldn’t have to work on it anymore. Marriage is not like that. Sure, all the effort reaps rewards, but if the effort does not continue, the marriage begins to slip. It is usually a slow process. One day you realize that while you were coasting, your marriage has gone from a ten to an eight… a seven… a five … or lower.
There are a lot of problems with a one or zero marriage, but the most damaging is that it is very easy to give up hope. You think, “We have been at one so long that we will never have the marriage we dreamed about.” Without hope, you will hammer the last nail in the coffin of your marriage. The good news, however, is that it doesn’t have to be that way. There is always hope. The hope is not in what you or your spouse can do; it is in what God can do.
For many of you in the middle of the scale, your biggest hurdle is getting over the temptation to just settle. You know it could be better and you know it could be worse, so you become complacent and just accept where you are. It’s easier that way. Just exist together and maintain the status quo. For others, you may have tried over and over to improve your marriage, but the results have been a roller coaster. Things get better, then worse and then better again—and so on. Today, if you have given up on the “ten” marriage, you too have settled.
No matter where your marriage is today, my guess is that you started out dreaming of a ten; but somehow, doing life got in the way. It happens to almost everybody. It happened to us. At some point over the years of our marriage, Nancy and I could have fit in every category above. Our marriage has been a ten plus and a zero minus. Our roller coaster has had some pretty steep hills and some unbelievable drops. Yet here we are today with a marriage that we cherish.
The day you and your spouse committed your lives to each other, God made a commitment to you. His commitment was—and is—steadfast, even if yours was — or is — not. He is still there, and He still has the answers you don’t. No matter where your marriage is today, it can be better. God has a perfect plan. Your first step is so simple, but it will change your marriage. Here it is: Turn your marriage over to God. That’s it. Put Him first in your life and first in your marriage. Do that every day for a year, and you will not even begin to imagine all that God has in store for you. What are you waiting for?
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