Real Relationship Advice
One of the saddest things we hear from couples is the phrase ‘giving up’. It is up there with ‘passed away’ and ‘no more pie’. Giving up is not just a couple of words but an attitude. Giving up is allowing something to die. Giving up is an action of inaction. Giving up is the antithesis of commitment.
As we mentioned yesterday, marriage is a commitment. A commitment is an investment not only of your life but it is also a responsibility to your partner. When we choose to give up on our marriage we are essentially voiding our commitment. Many couples mention that after so many years of matrimony, kids and life stresses, a couple eventually just become partners. Sex is no longer a part of their relationship. They say this as if this was a rational adult decision but in reality it is cowardly. Yes, we used the word ‘cowardly’ to describe a sexless marriage; a marriage where the individuals have decided that putting in the effort is not worth it.
If you are one of these individuals and you are reading this, how does this reinterpretation of your life make you feel? If you are angry, realize that you are not angry at us. Rationalizing a bad decision is extremely normal. Rationalization is what gets us up in the morning when we are exhausted. Rationalization allows us to get into a car and drive fast constantly thinking we are excellent drivers. Rationalization tells us to get married knowing that over half of all marriages end in divorce. Rationalization tells us that our children will be safe. If we allowed statistics, reality and the harsh truths of life to invade our thoughts constantly we would be hermits; very lonely recluses.
It is sad when we give up on our partner/spouse but even sadder is when we give up on our own needs. Regardless of whether you have the libido of a teenage boy or an asexual monk, when we give up on our marriages we are also giving up intimacy and sexual satisfaction. A healthy adult requires both to have fulfilled lives. Being married or in a committed relationship allows us to fulfill these needs. Being loved, being wanted, being needed and being part of something gives us a sense of belonging, importance and safety. Being alone is difficult but being alone within a relationship is agony.
We were asked whether living in a sexless marriage was better than getting a divorce and our response is simple: Do you and your needs matter? A divorce is not a death sentence. The marriage died long before the divorce if you gave up at some point. A divorce is an opportunity to open up the possibility to finding love again; a chance for fulfillment. However, before you ever get to that point, why not try again? Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t you recommit?
As we have mentioned, countless times, we have been married 23 years and have 3 kids. We do not live on a cloud and survive on euphemisms and optimism. We live in the same real world as everyone else with the same stressors. In our 23 years we have had our highs and very lows, good and bad times. One thing that has helped us through these times is our commitment. We recommit to our marriage every chance we get. We choose to love when it would be easier to give up. We choose to love when it would be easier to roll over and get some sleep. We choose to love every day of every hour. Giving up is not in our vocabulary.
We are committed to happiness and sharing that knowledge with others. So our suggestion to those who have given up on their marriage is to choose to love. Take a risk and put it out there: I DESERVE TO BE LOVED. You may find that your partner agrees or perhaps not. Regardless, live your life with the belief that love and commitment is for the brave and you are a lion.
I know you live your advice because it's easy to see the love you and Paul share. Thanks for the advice.
You guys give such amazing advice and insight. Thank you so much for talking about things that others made me scared to touch on.