Monique Honaman wrote a blog for the Huffington Post recently in response to a comment she has heard numerous times lately: “I just wish he would have an affair.” The women who have confided this desire assert that they are married to wonderful men whom they no longer love. These wives can not “justify” divorcing husbands who treat them well, love them and their children, and provide for their families. If their husbands would betray them by having affairs, then the woman would be free to leave them without feeling guilty.
Ms. Honaman concluded that she didn’t have an answer for women in this circumstance; however, she postulated two opposing views that she could justify as reasonable responses. Paraphrasing her words, the views would be (1) you made a vow, so stick with the marriage and (2) end the marriage because life is short to be unhappy. You may read Ms. Honaman complete blog at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/monique-honaman/i-just-wish-he-would-have_b_1297919.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl12%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D141998
While the two views Ms. Honoman expresses are probably the two most common responses to a friend’s or acquaintances’s declaration that she is unhappy in her marriage, neither of them offer the guidance that is needed. All marriages go through “dry” times. Love is an emotion that ebbs and flows. Just because a woman does not feel the glow of being in love, doesn’t mean she cannot regain that feeling. So what advise should someone give to a friend who expresses discontent with a good marriage? These are lessons I’ve learned from my own 31-year marriage and observing others, such as my parents who have been married for 57 years.
1) Focus on the attributes that drew you to your husband in the beginning of your relationship. If you are like most brides, you were head over heels in love with him on the day you walked down the aisle. Think back on those days and remember how you felt when your love was new. Your husband is still the same wonderful man you married with the same wonderful qualities.
2) Regularly make time for dates. Marriage needs to be nurtured. When you first began dating your future spouse, few things in your life were more important than spending time with him. In the hecticness of life, time alone with one’s spouse often takes a back seat to work, children, and volunteering. You can’t nurture your relationship if you aren’t spending quality time with your spouse.
3) Create opportunities for growth and fulfillment such as working on a project with your spouse or taking a class together. Having a common goal and achieving it together can restore a sense of unity and accomplishment. In the early days of a marriage, a couple makes plans together, such as starting a family or buying a house. They work together for their mutual happiness and fulfillment. As those goals are met, it’s easy for couple to become complacent. Set new goals and dreams that will carry you into old age.
4) Look beyond your present unhappiness and envision the happy times ahead for the two of you. If you have children, you can look forward to their graduations and marriages and future grandchildren. Plan a special trip to commerate a significant anniversary. Dream about the places you’ll go and the things you will do after retirement.
5) Remember your vows. You pledged to love this man through better or worse, in sickness and in health, til death you do part. At the end of the ceremony, the minister pronounced you husband and wife. He did not say “And they lived happily ever after.” Of course you want to be happy and you deserve to be happy. But happiness is fleeting. No one is happy all the time, and no one is unhappy all the time. If you stay true to your vows and work at loving your husband, it is very likely that happiness will return and that you will be even happier than you were in the past.
If you are unhappy in your marriage, I would urge to carefully consider the cost of divorce. Not only is divorce the biggest financial mistake you can make, it is one that many people regret. It is likely that you are married to the love of your life–you just need to make an effort to rekindle the love that lead you to marry him.