Staying married is part of God’s best plan for us. I think staying miserable is a bit of a choice. =P
I partly come back to this thought, “If an arranged-marriage can develop into a lifelong relationship with deep respect and love for each other….then ANYONE who has chosen to marry the person they did should be able to do the same thing.”
I think we’ve become more a culture of throwing away things that don’t work the way we want, instead of trying to fix it. (Yes it’s a two-way street…and I’m not talking about unrepentant unfaithfulness or abuse here.) A marriage doesn’t suddenly become miserable. Something triggers a slow slide towards “miserable”. Maybe it’s that time you felt under appreciated. Maybe it’s a word or action that makes you not feel loved or respected by your spouse. That little seed takes root. And every time your spouse “did it again” or “failed to do it again”, it adds to the tally, which waters that little seed. Then that seed starts to grow deep roots of apathy, resentment and bitterness….before finally producing the fruit of a miserable marriage.
Each step towards misery is a choice to NOT communicate honestly. It’s a choice to NOT forgive or extend grace. It’s a choice to not admit wrong. It’s a choice to hang onto your pride. It’s a choice to keep records of wrongs. It’s a choice to believe the worst in your spouse instead of the best. It’s a choice to not find out what makes your spouse feel appreciated/loved/respected. It’s a choice to insist your way is the right way. And it’s a choice to keep your own interests/comforts/priorities #1. These choices build walls. So it’s hard to see how a couple who actively seeks to do the opposite to the above list won’t have a great marriage. I’m not saying it’ll be easy…but I’m pretty sure it won’t be miserable.
Granted sometimes you might not know HOW to do the opposite or even realize that it was a choice…but does it ever get to a point where it’s impossible to undo? That I don’t know. Could a clean break and fresh start be the only solution in certain situations? I don’t know. We live in a broken world….as broken people. What I DO know is that God can take a broken marriage and make it whole again. He can take a broken person and make him or her whole again. I think that’s ultimately where God’s heart is and as we submit to that, “miserable” will be a temperary state.