A friend of mine made a really pertinent remark recently. She said that modern day society are frightened of a little discomfort. This was said in reference to our capacity to turn to pills the minute a slight headache or fever comes along, and it was in a discussion about masking the symptoms of illness.
Nonetheless this same ‘affliction’ can easily be attributed to marriage and may well be the reason so many modern day marriages end up on the rocks. We live in the generation of immediate gratification; if it doesn’t work, we fix it; if it doesn’t feel right, we don’t do it. We no longer understand the value of endurance.
Despite the obvious advantages to living on the edge, the disadvantages are as tangible, although seldom explored. We are in danger of living out of touch with ourselves (governed instead by our whims), and, when the going gets tough, many of us interpret this as a sign to get going. We give ourselves permission to throw in the towel at the slightest provocation.
Do our marriage vows need a re-work? Or do we need a refresher course on just what it means to hang in there ‘for better or for worse’?
Would it be easier if we said things like ‘I promise to pay attention to you as much as I can, given that I will also have the demands of a job / c hildren / parents / friends to contend with’…Would that make things easier?
Or do we need a refresher or even a new understanding of what it means to persevere, because in the intense discomfort comes an understanding that is only attainable when pushed beyond the usual boundaries.
This same friend advocates that illness is not necessarily a sign that the body is out of balance, but more that the body is working hard to restore balance. She feels that allowing the body to heal itself slowly (obviously within reason), will restore a healthier person.
Can marriage and the discomfort within marriage not be treated in a similar light?
Growth comes when we push past our limitations. It is in the struggle that we find ourselves. Fulfilment within a marriage is not automatic. Intelligent practise (learning to rest with negative feelings; observing them, taking responsibility for them) and investing energy in a relationship lays the foundation for a good marriage, not quick fixes or change.
Happy Wedding Planning!