I’m Married… HELP ME!!!

By: Donna Clark

Writing has been a dream of mine for several years. Putting words on paper to encourage someone else was what I wanted to do; however, the reality of that seemed far away, if not impossible. My career background had been in accounting and budgeting. Looking at that experience, there was nothing that would qualify me to be a writer. But the desire stayed in my heart. Taking the encouragement of a friend and words written in an article by D. L. Slinkard, I summoned up the courage to submit my written thoughts to Mrs. Ali Turner, the editor of this paper you’re reading. With a prayer and fingers crossed, I hoped that it would meet her standard for publishing and it did! My first article, “The Grace Project,” was printed.

Afterwards, I met with Ali in person and shared my heart for writing. I was blown away by the kindness, wisdom, and encouragement that came from this lady, and from that meeting two more articles followed. A few weeks ago, we met again and I shared with her my desire for a series of articles that would be written just for married couples, or those headed down the aisle. I am so saddened by the number of failed marriages and for those who are “going through the motions” in their relationship. Marriage is work and there are times when it can be stressful and difficult and many are just in survival mode at best. My heart is to give encouragement and helpful guidance to all who read these articles, to assure you that your marriage can be good!

I remember a scene in the movie Fireproof. Caleb, played by Kirk Cameron, is sharing how he’s so unhappy in his marriage. He spews out all the things his wife is doing wrong and he’s just had enough; it’s over. The friend he’s venting to listens intently, and after hearing Caleb’s plans for divorce, he gets up from the table where they are sitting and comes back with a set of plastic salt and pepper shakers and a tube of super glue. He glues them together and warns his friend to not break them apart. He patiently points out, after being joined together with such a tight bond, when broken apart the damage is devastating as the contents spills out. Sadly, the shakers can’t be repaired to the state they were before. And so it is with divorce.

We all know that marriage involves two people. According to census.gov, the current divorce rate for those over the age of 15 is 6.9% of 1000. Instead of seeing a number of divorces, I see a number of individual people. There are two people whose lives have been affected forever by the broken marriage vows. The hope of a happy life together, all the dreams, future plans, are shattered and what remains is pain and disappointment. If we add children into the mix, the number of individuals who have been hurt grows greater. The ripples go further when you look at the extended family members and friends affected.

There is no perfect marriage — that would require two perfect individuals and we’re not; let’s take that pressure off ourselves. However, we can have a very good, healthy marriage. My intent in the next few articles is to give hope, encouragement…HELP! for married couples. It doesn’t matter if you’re newlywed or you’ve celebrated your 50th, you can still grow and become better. I want to share with you what I have learned from my own marriage and pass on some wonderful advice from experts on the subject. I don’t want to see families falling apart. Couples tired, exhausted, throwing in the towel because it’s just become too much. There is HELP! Follow along with me for a few weeks and hopefully there will be some advice given that will strengthen, possibly save, your marriage.

To give you a preview of some of the topics we’ll touch on there is a “best” way to show love and there is an “understood” way to apologize. They are referred to as love languages and apology languages. And we each have our own. You may be familiar with both, but are you aware that those languages can change as we go through different seasons of our lives? These two areas are so vitally important for a good, solid marriage, and learning those languages is not hard, in fact, it can be fun. I’ll help you in determining those love languages and apology languages. I’ll remind you of little things that can make a HUGE difference in your marriage for the good. I’ll even throw in a little advice on the importance of, at times, holding your tongue and overlooking that aggravating behavior. If you’re married, you know!

Lastly, my desire to help you is driven by God’s word. I truly believe that God intends for us to be happy and at peace with one another. There is a way to achieve that by working through our struggles and differences. He doesn’t leave us floundering in this thing called marriage; He gives us instructions and a path. I am looking so forward to sharing that with you!

I’m leaving you with a timely quote I thought was so fitting, from the movie Miss Doubtfire… “Help is on the way!”

By: Donna Clark