Til Death Do Us Part?
My client Mark was really struggling in his marriage. He had been married for 28 years and felt like he had truly been giving the very best he had to his wife for as long as he could remember. He did not think that there was anything else he could do to make it better, and the idea of leaving his marriage was just not something he wanted to entertain.
He told me that he promised to love her and be there for her no matter what. That he went into the marriage agreeing to the “til death do us part” of the union, took it very seriously, and that he intended to stay. He said he felt like it was his duty to do what he said he would do, but thinking about staying and struggling every day just felt overwhelming.
He could not figure out where it had changed or how he ended up in this place.
I want to talk about those 5 little words- the ones that Mark feels like he must uphold at all cost. Til death do us part.
Do you think this statement is helping your marriage? Solidifying it and making it stronger, or is it possible that this is what is killing our marriages instead?
I know , I Know- these are fighting words- BUT hear me out.
We start out in our relationship really trying. We are sharing, checking-in on each other, calling, texting, making plans, planning dates, going all in essentially at every turn.
We are truly working at that relationship and showing our best to our partner.
The one day we decide to get married. Little by little things start to change and all of a sudden it as though we are off the hook. We accomplished what we set out to do and found a forever partner. Now, it is almost as if we slowly stop trying since this other person has claimed to love us until the end. Til death do us part, we both said it.
So we feel like there is no other option but to stay married, because of these words. There aren’t any deal beakers, or boundaries, or any choices that make divorce seem like an option since we claimed we would do this upfront. We may notice distance and disconnection but we do not know how to fix it, and in the back of our mind we think that we have this persons word that they will stand by us no matter what.
Like Mark, we gave our word to stand by this person, no matter what.
We begin arguing, and distancing ourselves, protecting our heart and struggling to feel connected. We do not really know how to change it or fix it and we hold on, even in pain.
When we are holding onto our marriage for dear life and struggling and we feel like we can’t live without it, we cannot function well within the marriage at all. On the other side, we are also not able to let go when we get stuck in this struggle.
So when this is the case, we feel like we only have two options, To ignore the problem and endure it, and suffer silently or to complain about it, argue, and suffer outwardly.
Neither feels good.
What if there was another option? What if we knew divorce was always an option?
Imagine if you and your partner decided in the beginning that you would sit down and discuss if you were going to stay married every year. You both would get to decide if you are still in it and want to stay and keep trying.
This gives both of you option, gives you a reason to try. Maybe knowing that it isn’t locked down changes how you engage. Maybe you show up differently when you know that your wife has a choice each year?
The fact is, we do show up differently in our relationships when we know there is another option.
So if you want to know how to show up differently in your marriage to create change and stop struggling, schedule a complimentary Exploratory Session with me.