How about that for a bold title? In 1000 words or less I’m going to let you in on the only reason marriages fail. Then you can use that knowledge to help your marriage succeed. Is your marriage strong? Is it weak? Happy? Stressed? You’re about to find out why.
The Problem with the World
Most of us, in fact nearly all of us, make a grave mistake in our lives. We give away our power. We assume that we have no control. In the world we are taught that life is about jobs, cars, school, church and other external circumstances. But the truth is that 90% of life is lived within our minds and is under our control. Once you truly get this your life will never be the same.
The Truth about Life
Life is a mental game. It’s an exercise of how our minds interpret the world. A few years ago I was taught a principle that made this very clear. What you believe determines your actions and your actions determine your results. The progression is 1) beliefs 2) actions 3) results. Every aspect of life follows this series of steps.
How We Got Into Trouble
Look around you. Think of your friends and family members. I’ll bet that some of them had a life plan, at least for a time. Do you want to know where it ended? Just after graduation. If their education stopped at high school the plan was, “Get a job that pay the bills and that won’t drive me insane or suck all of the life out of me.” Most of them failed because they hate their job. If someone went to college the life plan may have a longer term. “Graduate, get a job in my field (or go to graduate school then get a job in my field), and follow that path through life.” Some of them succeeded, but many failed. Why do I say they failed? Because they only had a plan for a career…and even that was lost. They never planned their life.
Your life is within your control. What you do and have can be changed. But if you don’t have what you want in your life, career and marriage what is the reason? You are drifting. You’ve set your autopilot to react to circumstances rather than consciously taking control. You are going through the motions. That wasn’t God’s intention for your life. The words of Jesus in John 10:10 show God’s heart for your life.
There is a simple solution to the drifter issue. You have to change your results in life. But going back to what we have already learned, beliefs determine actions and actions determine results. So to change your results you must first change your beliefs. Whole books have been written on this topic and we won’t get into any more detail here than necessary but let’s make it very clear. When you allow your circumstances to shape your beliefs about what is possible then you will always drift through life. When you decide what your beliefs will be then you control your destiny.
How this Relates to Marriage
If you came out of a home where your parents were happily in love then you likely believe a happy marriage is possible. If you came from a broken or highly dysfunctional home then your beliefs may have been shaped toward the idea that a happy marriage is either incredibly difficult or impossible. But how does a simple belief about marriage make a couple happy or unhappy? Follow the progression.
Actions and Results
If you believe a happy marriage is normal and to be expected then you will take actions consistent with that belief. You will be kind to your spouse, think the best of them and do what you can to make their life more fulfilled and enjoyable. If both partners are taking these kinds of actions then wonderful things will happen. However if you believe marriage is hard or unlikely to last for a lifetime then you’ll take actions consistent with those beliefs. When your spouse says an unintentionally hurtful word you’ll assume it was meant as an attack rather than an error. You’ll look for inconsistencies in their behavior and be constantly suspicious. When challenges come you’ll look for a way out rather than a way to repair the relationship. What you believe about marriage affects whether or not you have a happy and loving union.
Beliefs are formed from experiences and learning. Beliefs can be intentionally changed. It takes time and a firm commitment. But you will notice that as you change your beliefs your actions will begin to change, almost without effort. Results will be better than ever before. But it all starts with changing your beliefs.
Think over what you believe about marriage or your spouse. Make a list. See if all of your beliefs are healthy. If any are not then pick one each week to change. Repeat to yourself several times a day the healthy equivalent of that belief. Perhaps your parents often fought and then divorced. You may have a belief that “marriage is hard work and most marriages fail.” But to change that belief say to yourself at least 10 times per day, every day for the next week, “our marriage is filled with joy and we love each other more every day.”
Give it a shot!
Love you all!