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Are You Valuing Your Marriage?  

Recently I have had a similar conversation with several different couples who came to see me about their troubled marriages.  I initiate the conversation when they seem stuck in the marriage but have nothing good to say about the marriage or about each other.  The question I ask is why they are still together, why they haven’t divorced, and whether they are considering divorce.  The similar thing I have gotten recently is they don’t want to give up on something as valuable as 7 or 15 or 20 years of marriage. 

The follow up question then is, if your marriage is so valuable why aren’t you treating it that way?  Let me be clear.  I definitely come down on the value side of marriage.  That is why I chose this career and this particular focus in the first place.  I believe a marriage of whatever length should mean something and should be a thing of value.  But then it deserves to be treated as something of value.  I don’t bang the divorce drum and know in my work with couples I have a bias against divorce and against breaking up a marriage.  However, I also don’t really value marriage or relationship for appearance sake or because society or community or family or even our own beliefs tell us you shouldn’t end a marriage.  That is, unless those messages also make a clear statement that we should create valuable relationships.

Let’s focus on making our marriages and our relationships valuable.  How do we do that?  Well, valuable things are generally put in a place of honor and treated with respect.  They are not on the bottom of the priority list.  They are not taken for granted.  Often the path to a relationship that doesn’t feel valuable starts with some sort of taking the relationship for granted.  The kids, the jobs, the extended family, and a multitude of other things are put before the marriage.  Whatever time and energy is left over gets devoted to the marriage.  Oh, did I forget sleep.  That is often higher on the priority list as well so when couples come together to take care of their own relationship they both feel the best thing they could do at that time is go to bed (and not the fun kind of connection building going to bed).

Let me encourage some self-examination.  Do you have a belief that your marriage or your intimate relationship should be or is something of value?  If so, are you treating it as the valuable thing it should be?  If you aren’t, why don’t you get started?