Are You Working Away at a Hard Marriage? Part 2!

Hello dear readers,

I have been so anxious to continue the conversation about marriage that got started right before Christmas (Are You Working Away at a Hard Marriage?).  The comments to that post just warmed my heart (and they did again, just now, as I reviewed them).  Thank you so much for all of your words.  They are SOOO insightful and good.  You readers are wise and full of inspiration.  If you haven’t seen the comments, you may want to take a look.

We had some more thoughts about the subject of “marriage being hard”, but we’re always trying to trim down our long windedness so instead of putting it all in the last post we reserved some for later.  Today I wanted to share some more of those thoughts.  I certainly realize there are so many ways to view marriage – and so many of them are valid and worthwhile.  So I don’t want to say that the way someone else views it is wrong.  But I just wanted to share with you some more thoughts about how we view it.  It’s the reason behind a lot of the happiness and peace that we have now and ALSO the peace that we had before our previous marriages even ended.

(Summer 2010 in the Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland We spent our first married summer backpacking Europe!)

The bottom line is…..we feel marriage is one of the most beautiful experiences of this life.   And we’re not just talking about the marriages that are good ones!  🙂  Yes, we’re even talking about the marriages that face really steep challenges such as cheating spouses, porn addictions, infertility, mental illness, ETC.  And we’re even talking about the marriages that end in divorce (including both of our previous marriages.)  You see, marriage offers a place to grow.  A place to be face to face with your own weaknesses.  A place to become a better man or woman.  We think ALL of it (good and bad) should be treated & viewed as a sacred experience.  Yet sadly, “marriage” gets blamed for a lot of unhappiness that people feel.  Maybe it’s because they feel stuck in a relationship that isn’t loving or satisfying.  Or they feel abused, neglected, unwanted, etc.  I just see tons of people pegging the marriage or blaming the spouse for their unhappiness or difficulty, which is why I felt so compelled to write this post.

You see, when you rely on your marriage or your spouse to fulfill your needs & determine your state of well being…..and they don’t come through for you…..wellll, the marriage begins to feel really hard.  And it begins to feel like a lot of work dealing with that disappointment, worry, fear, anger, neglect, etc.  And it’s likely that you may start to house your spouse (and/or yourself) in a pressure cooker until your spouse starts fulfilling your needs more & meeting what you deem as your expectations for a marriage .

So how does one prevent that cycle?

For us, instead of blaming “marriage” or the “spouse” as the reason for all the hard work, the real work Danny & I prefer to talk about & make the focus of our energies is the work we need to do in OUR. OWN. HEADS.

The real work is tackling our OWN weaknesses in the way we react & handle things that come up (including even the most dysfunctional of situations.)  Keep in mind, one situation may be a challenge to one person and yet not to another.  So we really can’t blame the actual trials.  We can’t blame marriage or ANYTHING for our never ending pain and unhappiness.  We can only recognize that we don’t yet have the adequate amount of strength, experience, tools or preparation needed to handle those situations.  I just feel that marriage wrongfully gets a bad name…when it’s actually just providing us opportunities to see what we need to work on IN OURSELVES…..

marriage advice


(We climbed to this peak. )
(A view of the Lauterbrunnen Valley in the Swiss Alps.)

For example, my Father-in-law climbs mountains and rides his bike up and down mountains….daily.  Most people would look at what he does and say……uhhh…..that mountain looks hard.   But for him, it’s easy.  He has mastered it.  He has put in the work, the personal training, and preparation that he needs to climb that mountain.  The mountain size didn’t change over time (trying to change that mountain suuure would have felt like a lot of work).  Instead, HE changed & put in the personal work to make that happen.  And so climbing the mountain became easier and doable.  For someone who hasn’t climbed the mountain & hasn’t done the preparation and still thinks that the mountain needs to change in order for things to go smoothly, you bet it will feel hard.  And sadly, sometimes people will resist that personal training and it will feel hard their whole lives.

Just like a mountain, we can’t ever plan on a spouse changing.  A spouse or marriage will be there – perhaps offering challenging situations & heights that stretch us.   But WE can change, prepare, and be ready to face it… WE can learn how to climb those mountains better if we practice, do the personal work and learn how to better react and better handle situations.  I learned this as I transformed within my own first marriage of 7 years.  Things that were once extremely difficult for me later became easier to handle because I started to do the personal work.  And I’ve seen it applied to even the hard core stuff:  spouses addicted to porn, cheating spouses, cheating spouses with STDs that get passed to you, abusive spouses, unemployment, infertility, mental illness, gay spouses, bad temper, drug addiction, imprisoned spouse, etc., ETC.  I know people personally that have experienced each one of these (and worse) in their marriages but have done so with the utmost strength.  They did the personal training.  They took accountability for their own reactions to these situations and how they felt.  They chose to make climbing that mountain a personal triumph, instead of letting it destroy them.  They learned to not blame their spouses or their marriage for their unhappiness.

how to save a marriage


how to turn around a marriage

Want more nitty gritty?  Well, when you are focused on strengthening your inner self, you will not have to rely on the whims and moods, compliments, attention, or loving or helpful gestures of your spouse in order to feel whole and secure.  The PRESSURE COOKER you house your spouse in will be removed.  And when challenges come along, no matter how great they are, you’ll be in a better place to handle them with love, charity, strength, confidence and security, instead of pride, selfishness, insecurity, anxiety, anger, doubt & blame.  Letting your marriage be a vehicle for reminding you what you need to work on IN YOURSELF will have the most amazing & lasting effects, you just couldn’t believe it.   AND….one really cool result……as you continue to master your inner self, things will always work out in the best way possible for you, no matter what state your spouse is in….no matter if your marriage ends.

And is there joy in climbing a mountain that you are prepared to climb?  You bet there is.  More joy than you could possibly ever know.  I have felt it.  I have felt that joy climbing my own mountains in situations that could normally be characterized as the hardest moments of my life (such as the days leading up to my husband’s departure, or the day I was home alone for the first time after my spouse left, or the days I had to tell friends and family that he wasn’t coming back, the days I found myself single & infertile at age 32 and having to face dating, the days I wondered if I would ever meet anyone, and loads of other situations that I am not able to share here.)  They were the moments when I had to rely on my own strength, my own character, my own preparation…because those mountains weren’t budging.  Were there tears?  Were those days “hard”?   Of course.  BUT, I felt triumphant.  I felt like I knew what I was made of.  I felt love.  I was sitting on the summit.  And yes, I felt joy.

P.S.  We realize some people get thrown into Mt. Everest long before they ever could have been prepared.  And some people are even born on Mt. Everest, right?  So to all of you….we don’t want anyone to feel weak or inadequate after reading this post.  We send all of you love and encouragement to start your personal training now, no matter if you are on the cliff side or on some gentle rolling hills.  And if you climbed a mountain already and ended up getting brought out on a stretcher (ha!), well……that’s ok, because there are always more mountains coming.  That is the beauty of this life.  There are allllwaaays more opportunities to train and climb and reach the next summit.

Have any of you faced a trial that became easier, not because the trial changed but because you decided to do the personal work and change the way you handled it? 

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  1. Carin January 16, 2012 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Yes, Yes, Yes! As much as I loved the other post, because I got it, I knew what you were trying to say, I LOVED this one!

    And yes, I have certainly faced trials that became easier as I changed the way I looked at them and handled them. The biggest of which, being bedridden for about 3 1/2 years, then totally having to change the way I lived my life, took a heck of a lot of self-work to understand and appreciate.

  2. Anonymous January 16, 2012 at 11:34 am - Reply

    It seems like you wrote this post for me. Even though ive been married for many years and have a handful of children i sometimes feel like my hardest challenge is my marriage. sometimes i go back and regret i chose him even though most of the time we have a good marriage. But I do put him in that pressure cooker and Im trying to see my way out of this cycle.

    I guess I need to find ways to fix myself. I thought I was a pretty good person before. RM, always tried to do the right thing. Feel like he brings out the worst in me.

  3. Janine January 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    I think the biggest trial in any situation is me. I make things bigger and worse than they need to be so I have really learned in my few years of marriage to take a step back and view the whole situation before reacting. Act instead of react…it's a lesson I have had to learn.

    • Andrea February 16, 2012 at 5:36 am - Reply

      I wish I couldn't relate, but I totally do!

  4. Anonymous January 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Danny and Mara! Your blog has changed my outlook on a difficult situation in my marriage. My wonderful husband was diagnosed with major depression this past summer. As I moped and felt sorry for myself because he had no energy to help around the house, go to work, or engage in conversation with me I was becoming a version of myself that I didn't like. I realized that every time I let self pity creep in I was making things worse for both of us. I didn't want to be the person I was becoming and I certainly didn't want him to feel worse about being sick so I worked on changing my attitude. As soon as I let go of the self pity I felt stronger. It's may sound odd, but once I readjusted my attitude, my husband's depression actually brought us closer together. Things certainly aren't perfect, but I have learned from both of you to be still when my husband is acting in a dysfunctional manner and to focus on the fact that he is hurting. That one line from a previous post has made a huge difference in my life. You two are doing beautiful work.

  5. Danielle January 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Wonderful post!! So true, and a good reminder that it all begins with ME!! 😉 Love, love love all your pictures!!

  6. Sarah January 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    Those are some lovely words. My husband and I were 23 and 24 when our firstborn daughter passed away at four months old. The marriage/divorce statistics are not good for couples who lose a child. The best thing we did, and continue to do, is have respect for the way the other one grieves. Most of the time we deal with her death differently, and we – thankfully – realized early on that it would do us no good to compare or get offended. Instead we talk, we are there for each other when the grief comes, and we keep her smile and her presence alive in our family today, 7 1/2 years later.

    I believe these concepts can be applied to many of the trials you mentioned here. Having respect and tolerance for the way our spouses handle certain situations can make a huge difference. Being available to each other, being open, honest, and vulnerable are all ways we have – and continue – to climb this mountain of grief we were dropped on way back then.

  7. Maria January 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Lovely post- some really great points here. Wow, those pictures are mind blowingly beautiful and so appropriate for your words. Now I want to go the the Swiss Alps!

  8. Anonymous January 16, 2012 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    I am divorced and it was my decision. At the time I never thought about God and his views on divorce. Now that I am reading His word and starting a new relationship I am thinking A LOT about that decision I made. I do not blame my ex for all of our problems, I realize now that I was not always the best wife. I also feel that having been married and gone through the struggles of cheating and verbal abuse, that I have learned from those experiences, not only about myself, but also about what I need and want in a marriage.

    My "issue" or "dilemma" or whatever you want to call it, is that I know God hates divorce, but.. I am divorced and I was the one who initiated it. I STILL feel that it was for the best for me AND my ex…. Though it was over three years ago, I still struggle sometimes when I read about how to make a marriage work… I still get a twinge of guilt for failing at my marriage. Do you guys have any thoughts on this. Yes God hates divorce, but isn't there a time when no amount of change in perspective, not amount of self reflection and self change will make a marriage work and be healthy for both.

    I feel like there is NO way I would have come back to a relationship with God had I stayed in that marriage. I feel like people think it's ok if your divorced if you didn't initiate it, but they judge and look negatively at someone who initiates a divorce.

    I love your blog and you guys have such insight, I was just hoping you might have some thoughts to share on this topic.

    I want to marry again and I want to do it SOOOOO much better than I did before.

    Thanks for reading this ridiculously long comment.

    • danny January 17, 2012 at 11:42 pm - Reply

      Anon – Thank you for commenting and sharing with us. First off, I'm glad that you feel like you learned from your experiences. If you want to know my opinion on how God might feel about your decision…I can't help but feel like he'd say the same thing "I'm glad you learned"…and He'd say it in that really loving way that lets you know he's not judging you and in fact cares a lot about you.

      That being said, I understand where you're coming from, Mara and I both do for that matter. We belong to a faith that places a huge emphasis on marriage…and neither of us "succeeded" the first time around. That was hard to own up to for a while. I hardly talked about my wife leaving me for months if I didn't have to, because part of me felt shamed…like I'd let myself, God, and anyone who respected me down. Ughh…that was an ugly feeling to carry around for a while. I'm glad I finally cast it aside…I hope you can too.

      My advice…what's done is done, and it's time to move on in the best way you know how. You might also consider dropping the phrase God "Hates" from your thought process as well. I'm sure there's all sorts of things God wishes we did better the first time around, but I happen to believe He's more concerned with our long term growth, and will patiently wait while we do our best to learn and grow. Key words there, patiently…instead of hate.

      To your question – I think changes in perspective can accomplish amazing things…see the comment from Kate in the first post in this series (link is above). However, in some cases both people need to be willing to make that change for there to be success in a marriage. Note that in this post, Mara said "as you continue to master your inner self, things will always work out in the best way possible for you, no matter what state your spouse is in….no matter if your marriage ends." Sometimes even with a perspective change…a marriage still ends.

      You're allowed to grow in this life…you're supposed to grow. If 3 years ago you weren't in a place emotionally, mentally or spiritually to make it work…well then that's the facts. Can't do anything about it now but be a person who next time is ready.

      I hope you'll let go of some of the self doubts, any fears about who's judging you (who cares if they judge you…your only responsibility is to be your best self), any anger or bitterness you might have towards yourself or your former spouse…and try to more consistently adopt the three great virtues of faith, hope, and love. Hope/belief that there is something good ahead for you, faith/trust that even if it takes 10 years the journey and whatever life throws at you in the mean time will be worth it and redemptive, and love for yourself and everyone else around you (even if you think they're judging you).

      Faith/Hope/Love have a way of causing you to realize all sorts of good things (everything seems to work towards your good)…fear/doubt/enmity have a way of thwarting you at every turn and keeping you down. You get to choose which path you'll take, the results are always predictable. I suggest taking the path of faith/hope/love 🙂

    • Anonymous January 18, 2012 at 2:42 am - Reply

      thank you Danny & Mara. I thought I had cast aside those feeling of failure a while ago, and you're right…. it's not good stuff to carry around.

      God offers us grace everyday, I know this. I need to accept it.

      We cannot change the past, only move forward. I think my future marriage will benefit so much for the lessons learned and even the struggles I felt after the divorce. You're right… God wants us to learn, he wants us to move forward being our best self and loving those around us.

      Your words seem to encapsulate what I felt was true in my gut, but for some reason never fully accepted it. I guess hearing it from another makes it sink in fully.

      Thanks again from a grateful reader who is redirecting myself down the path of faith/hope/love.

      You guys are really doing something amazingly wonderful with this blog. Thank you for sharing both your joys and struggles.

    • Laura Rahel Crosby August 12, 2017 at 4:27 am - Reply

      As a divorced, infertile woman who lost her faith during those years through my divorce and infertility diagnosis but have found my way back to God since, my perspective on God has changed a lot. I choose to believe that he is all good, and all loving. I choose to believe that even in our failures (divorce, the times we aren’t great people, and even in the times I didn’t believe in him,) that he sees our hearts, he sees our hurt, and he understands our struggles and has nothing but love for us. I definitely agree with Danny in removing “God hates” from your vocabulary and remember that God has so much more grace, love, understanding, and forgiveness for us than we can even comprehend. He sees our dark sides and times and our light and he is there to help us grow with light, even after darkness may have won a small battle. My relationship with God is much stronger now than ever before. I see him as the best possible thing there ever has been/will be/is and that he is only light and only good and only love. A lot of people disagree with that stance but I’m closer to God than ever before because of this belief and I think he’s happy for that. <3 Hope you're able to change your perspective and see him as light and love always. xx

      • Danny Kofoed August 12, 2017 at 7:57 pm - Reply

        Thanks Laura, I feel it was the same way for me and for Mara. So glad you were able to experience something beautiful and full of grace in a difficult moment.

  9. Anonymous January 16, 2012 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Dear Danny & Mara – Thank you for providing me with fresh insight and perspective as I struggle with a personal trial. It is a constant struggle to not let it destroy me or to be weak, but your wisdom is hugely appreciated as I work on it.

  10. Anonymous January 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    I 100% agreed with your last post on marriage being "hard" (it doesn't need to be!), but I do think we must be careful before asking people to take on too much responsibility in terrible relationships. If a husband cheats on a wife, for example, we need to be careful not to make the wife feel like it is HER fault. There seems to be a balance between personal ownership of your feelings and approach to life and knowing when something is not your fault. If you are in an abusive relationship, you must leave, if your spouse is cheating, it is NOT your fault. You choose how to interact with the situation, you must choose love over hate, but at the end of the day please do not feel burdened by other people's choices.

    • Anonymous January 17, 2012 at 9:44 am - Reply

      Though I read Maras entry more like "it is on you how you handle any situation" and not "alwys share the blame" I want to thank you for your comment, because my husband cheated and decided he'd rather be with her and it is a good and sometimes much needed reminder that that is not my fault. So thanks!

  11. Fred January 16, 2012 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    What i love about your story, is the fact that it confirms a conviction i have about a good relationship. The fact that you made a backpack trip in europe when you were just married, is a great experience. I'm convinced you should experience things as a couple so you grow more towards each other. When you travel together or experience things together you will have fun, but surely you will encounter some problems. Just like in marriage.

  12. Dominique January 17, 2012 at 12:59 am - Reply

    I was that person who would always say, "Marriage is hard." It was my way of saying that love requires hard work and sometimes loving someone is a deliberate decision when it isn't coming easy. I wear no rose colored glasses today, but words and thoughts really can cloud perspective, and dropping that phrase helps.

    Lovely post.

  13. Bri!!! January 17, 2012 at 3:55 am - Reply

    Loved this post, and love all the above comments!

  14. Anonymous January 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    Mara and Danny,

    This post and your response to one of my comments before really gave me the wake up call I needed. Foundational in Christian belief is that we are sinners, in need of a savior. We can only begin to truly appreciate and understand grace and the greatness of what God did for us on the cross, when we recognize how sinful we are! Our sin is primarily within ourselves, not because of other people. I had really lost sight of that.

    What I realized about myself was that I was CHOOSING my life style, my overall feeling of defeat in my marriage. So, I have made the choice to be joyful. How do I sustain that joy? Finding it in Christ, as He is the only source of true joy.

    Thank you and keep up the awesome work.

  15. Mac January 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    I love this. I love to run, and my favorite thing is running up hills. Such a sense of accomplishment when you get to the top. And I train for it. So it is so fitting that our trials are compared to climbing up mountains. It gets tiring and sometimes we wonder why in the world we are doing it as opposed to just turning around and going back down the hill and giving up. But we learn so much about how capable our bodies, minds, and spirits are when we push on. Choosing to learn from the uphill climb is something that has helped me so much in my trials. It's hard to do in the moment, but sometimes all we need to do is take a quick break to see how far we've come and remind ourselves that we are better for it.

  16. Anonymous January 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    Being able to overcome the fear of climbing those mountains…is for me the hardest part. Once I get on the mountain I am the best climber you have ever seen. I have this fear that I will never be adequate enough to face those things that will test everything I have.

    I love you two! You both are so amazing…I am preparing now to have that kind of relationship with my future spouse. Thank you for so much insight into your lives and into the wonderful thoughts of marriage.

  17. Molly January 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    Mara and Danny,
    Once again thank you, thank you, thank you for your blog! I promised you an update a couple months ago about not getting offended when people ask me questions about my fertility issues. I can't say I'm 100% cured, but last week I got asked while holding my new baby niece, "Don't you ever get baby hungry?" Instead of lashing out and saying something like, "No I have a heart of stone and hate all children as a general rule." I just simply said, "Yes."
    And the miracle of it all, good Danny and Mara, is that I didn't feel the need to lash out or become upset about it, the thought never crossed my mind. I didn't even dwell upon it negatively later or loose one minute of sleep over it!
    Thanks for the advice, and thanks for your blog, I know I'm one of many people you have already helped through sharing your experiences! Thank you!

    • danny January 17, 2012 at 10:59 pm - Reply

      Molly – THIS IS AWESOME!!! 🙂 Seriously so happy to hear this. It's kind of liberating a little bit isn't it? And whether they were out to "get you" or not with their question…it really doesn't matter (hopefully they weren't). What matters is how you chose to react, not only with the words you used, but the state of being you entertained. That power is within us all.

      Couldn't be happier for you, thanks for reporting your success 🙂

  18. Anonymous January 17, 2012 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for saying what no one else is. It's exactly what I have needed to hear. I feel like you two are relaying an inspired message.

  19. jora January 18, 2012 at 3:35 am - Reply

    Really love this post. I kept flashing to a book I read way back when called Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix…..he also says that marriage is the perfect tool for personal growth and fulfillment. Only by having a partner can you actually discover and face (and evolve past) those darker sides. But I think I almost like it better the way you express it here. 🙂

  20. katie January 18, 2012 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Before I read these hard marriage posts, I would have been one of the ones to say "marriage is hard work" and then I would have followed that by citing all of the external circumstances (health problems, undiagnosed infertility, unemployment and subsequent financial stresses, etc. etc. etc. blah blah blah) for how and why it is that I've become such a negative and bitter person/wife. Not even two years in, I find myself wondering how it is that my marriage is slipping down the slope into becoming toxic. I am hoping that recognizing it will be the first step to remedying it…so thank you for this perspective. I know I have an obscene amount of work to do (or should I say "an obscene amount of opportunity for progress?"), but again, thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me to bring something out of the dark and into the light with a refreshing dose of new perspective.

  21. Anonymous January 27, 2012 at 12:21 am - Reply

    I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate this post. I am in a very hard marriage of 4 1/2 years. Things started becoming very difficult within the first few months! Since then I have endured my husband's pornography addiction, as well as verbal abuse, physical abuse, neglect, most of the things you listed in the post. It has been hard. We went to marriage counseling for almost a year and while I felt changes in myself, there was virtually no change to our marriage. My husband is in denial about the things he has done wrong. It has been heartbreaking. Even worse, we have a sweet daughter who is suffering the stress and other effects of witnessing her parents' crumbling marriage.

    Through all of these challenges, I have prayed an prayed to know what to do, and the answer has always been "wait." I've struggled with this more than I can express. Shouldn't I be able to exit such a marriage? Doesn't Heavenly Father want me to be happy?

    I think that Heavenly Father wants me to learn to be happy during these difficult circumstances. He wants me to learn to climb the mountain. I think I have a lot to learn and patiently wait and see if my husband will follow my example, as I try to follow your examples of love and charity toward each other.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

    • Amanda May 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm - Reply

      my mother prayed for years to know if divorcing my father was the right move. It was probably about ten years of prayer and getting that same 'wait'. Then one day, some circumstances in their relationship were happening, that all of a sudden the prayer was answered with "now is the time". So keep learning, keep working on finding happiness for yourself within yourself, and yes, Heavenly Father wants you to be happy, and you will be. Just trust on his timing and the time will come.

  22. Jen Berry January 28, 2012 at 4:28 am - Reply

    My husband and I married in January 2009. April 2009 he was diagnosed with cancer at 33 years old. Prior to his diagnosis I was neither here nor there above marriage. I didn't understand it. I took it for granted. We have been dealing with the challenge of cancer for almost 3 years straight. There is nothing more in my life more important than my marriage and my husband. This I have learned. At first Cancer was devastating. WE have no reached a point where it is part of our life that we deal with daily, but we have also learned to move on with life. We have so much more respect for each other, the gift of a day (yes every day is a gift) and marriage.

  23. Anonymous January 29, 2012 at 3:23 am - Reply

    Mara and Danny – thankyou so very much for your insightful blog. I am finding here a fresh perspective on things I have long understood but have been unsure how to apply to everyday situations. I have been reading like crazy over the past week and am feeling inspired, kinder, and more loving.

    I am currently in a 14 year marriage to a man who I respect and admire but who has a pornography problem. This issue has eaten away at me and our marriage for years. I am now seeing through your posts how I can change my own outlook in order to find peace, and if he joins me along the mountain climb, all the better. If not, all will be well.

    Also, you have me thinking, it is interesting how easy it is for communication in marriage to degrade into bickering and snappiness. It's like people become over comfortable with their spouse and push their own feelings of doubt, confusion, unworthiness, fear etc onto the other. Yet we would never speak to friends or acquaintances this way! Why is it ok to react this way with a spouse, who is supposed to be so treasured and loved? Ha! Thankyou sooooo much for your comments about this, I have had my eyes opened, and I am changing my ways.

    I am so ready for a new peacefulness in my life as a wife and mother of two beautiful girls, and your blog is helping give me the tools I need to make changes. I am sending you a big hug of thanks!

  24. Andrea February 16, 2012 at 5:47 am - Reply

    "Well, when you are focused on strengthening your inner self, you will not have to rely on the whims and moods, compliments, attention, or loving or helpful gestures of your spouse in order to feel whole and secure. The PRESSURE COOKER you house your spouse in will be removed. And when challenges come along, no matter how great they are, you'll be in a better place to handle them with love, charity, strength, confidence and security, instead of pride, selfishness, insecurity, anxiety, anger, doubt & blame. Letting your marriage be a vehicle for reminding you what you need to work on IN YOURSELF will have the most amazing & lasting effects, you just couldn't believe it."

    This really hit home. It is exactly what I needed to hear. I need to make some changes in my life. I love my husband, he loves me, and we are happy, but I know that many issues start with me and if I focus on changing myself for the better I'll better be able to respond positively should a conflict arise.

  25. boca raton divorce lawyer May 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    A beautiful post that could be very encouraging for couples to always work things out in their relationship. Some couples forget the importance of getting though hard times. I am hoping that this post will have a deep meaning for all its readers, like it did for me.

  26. Chelsea June 5, 2012 at 6:49 am - Reply

    So should we not have expectations for our spouses or expect them to fill any of our needs? When I’m upset or worn out from a long day at work, is it too much to expect a sympathetic response from my husband? Or to expect random acts of affection and not just sex? Or to expect that he will listen when I talk? Or to expect support on the homefront when I have to travel for work? Or to expect patience? Or forgiveness? Or understanding?

    Because that is a big problem for me right now. Our 11-year marriage has been a struggle for the latter half and is quickly spiraling downward. Contributing to this is that I have realized that I don’t have a partner to support me emotionally, financially, physically, socially, whathaveyou-ally and I’m standing up for what I see as normal “expectations” in a marriage.

  27. Anonymous August 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Thank you. I really don't know what else to say. I, too, am guilty of saying marriage is hard. Your view is beautiful and inspiring. Like so many others that have commented, I have also had mountains to climb. And I'm still trying to "find the right gear" that will help me climb that mountain. My husband came to me last summer (while I was 6 months pregnant with our 3rd child) and confessed that he had had an affair with one of my "best friends" for 3 years. He had ended it about 9 months before he told me. 2 people that I loved so much betrayed me in a way I never ever thought would happen to me. He also confessed to having a pornography addiction. I felt so stupid. So naive. I had no idea. Or perhaps I blinded myself to all the "signs" because I trusted him so completely. In an afternoon, my world crashed around me. But right after he told me, I leaned on my Heavenly Father and prayed right then if He wanted me to stay because I couldn't make that decision at that moment. My answer was to stay. I went in to survival mode. I forgave him that instant. Forgave my "friend". I handled it pretty well considering. But a few months down the road, so much of that "insecurity, anxiety, anger, doubt & blame" you spoke about kept creeping in. And I am still learning how to deal with these emotions I never had to before. I have struggled so deeply lately and have been praying desperately for some guidance. Today I ran across your blog – which I had never heard of before.

    Thank you for sharing your love. For inspiring others. And for being an answer to my prayer today.

  28. courtney August 3, 2012 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    I really, really needed to read this today. Thank you!!

  29. Killtan Roy December 29, 2016 at 6:21 am - Reply


  30. Laura Rahel Crosby August 12, 2017 at 4:33 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for this post. I often struggle in my relationships feeling unloved or like I’m more committed which often leads to me feeling sad or unfulfilled in my relationships (familial, significant other, friendships, etc.) Despite all my years of work doing self-love and learning how to be self-fulfilled, this reminder came at a great time. I would also love to hear your perspective on when it is right to walk away from a relationship. For example, if you’ve been with someone for years and want marriage and they aren’t taking that step, how long would you wait and focus on being self-fulfilled in life, and when would you walk away because you wanted more than they were willing to give at that time? I always find that line between being self-fulfilled but also not staying in a situation that isn’t fulfilling you to be a little blurry and I think there’s a time for both walking away from situations/relationships/etc and staying and growing and focusing on self-fulfillment when things get hard. Would love to hear your feedback <3 Thanks for the encouraging post, as always.

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