(ThyBlackMan.com) As a family and relationship counselor, former detective, mediator and life coach, I have seen almost every problem you can imagine and many that you can’t. But what I see most often is marriages that can be saved or salvaged. One or both people are either too trifling, too immature or too tired to simply fight for their marriage more than they fight with their spouse. That has to change and I mean now. The splits in the African-American family have become the norm and “irreconcilable differences” has become a bucket of denial, excuses and BS to camouflage a lack of effort.
If you were committed in the beginning, you need to stay committed. Now I know as soon as I made that statement many of you started thinking of worse case scenarios that would justify you leaving the marriage. But if your mind goes towards thoughts of the worse first, you might be a part of the problem – and a bigger part than you think. Somebody needs to grab a hold of hope and hold on.
Whatever your reason for marrying your spouse, you need to find that reason again and hold onto it. Almost any marriage can be fixed if BOTH people want it fixed. But sometimes one person will have to carry the ball until the other spouse comes around to that way of thinking. Like it or not, grow up and realize “much is given, much is required“.
Most married people ready to get a divorce like to make the excuse that their spouse change or “he was not like that before“. But that is usually not the case. He was like that but you were too busy looking at the wrong things to notice. Likewise guys, if you married her for her shape and she gained weight, what can you do to help her? Sometimes, or should I say often times, one spouse is a part of the solution to his or her spouse’s biggest problem. You may not have been the cause of it, but that does not mean you cannot step up to help fix it. Marriage is not for little kids who want to get mad, take their toys and go in the house. It’s time to grow up and somebody has to be mature enough to act like an adult. Since you are reading this article, TAG, you’re it. That person might as well be YOU, yes you.
One of the worse things you can do is to take advice from people who do not know how to give productive, proper and objective advice.
A person agreeing with your side of the story and your biased solution is not the person you need to automatically listen to. And I have seen even some counselors and pastors do more harm than good. The person who counsels you must remain objective. He/she should have a solid knowledge of psychology and sociology as well as a solid spiritual foundation. He or she needs to be a man or woman of peace, wisdom and discretion. He or she needs to be able to think outside of the box – not simply like everybody else.
The counselor you select is just as important as the advice you receive.
He or she must believe in family, unity, order and forgiveness. You need to know that a Ph.D or a collar, robe and pulpit message do not guarantee the counselor will know what he or she is talking about. I have set in on, trained and evaluated counselors whose initial skills qualified them to wash cars – not save marriages. Therefore if a poor counselor or pastor tells you it’s hopeless, that may not even be true. Picking a bad counselor is just as detrimental as selecting a sorry attorney to defender you in a murder trial. Yes it’s that serious. And ironically, you should not be going to a family law attorney for marital advice. He or she makes money based on conflict, bickering and days in court so why in the world would you think he or she cut a hole in their pockets to help your marriage survive?
When you said “for better or worse”, what did you mean?
The term “worse” has never meant “good” and you knew it when you said it. You made vows to God, your spouse and yourself. And though there are some valid reasons a marriage must end, most marriages do not have to. I promise you more marriages end over petty immaturity than they do over finances or infidelity combined. But it does not have to be that way. And if you take what I am saying lightly or simply shake your head, you will take the baggage that could have been fixed right along with you into the next relationship. But that does not have to happen either.
Do you know how many times I have heard clients say “I don’t love him/her anymore”? That is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard but people every day convince themselves it is true.
Be honest, did you ever know what love was or is in the first place? Love is NOT a light switch. Be honest, you just don’t like him/her anymore because things have changed from the way they used to be or how he/she treated you. But should his/her behavior have ever been the only reason you said “I Do“? Everyone should be treated well and that should never change in an ideal world. But WE DON’T LIVE IN AN IDEAL WORLD – WE LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD WHERE YOU HAVE TO WORK TO KEEP A RELATIONSHIP SOLID AND STRONG! Marriage is not for the week, the immature, the uncommitted and faint of heart, the lazy, the fearful, the skeptical or the person who carries as much baggage as the cargo section of a 747.
Love must not be based on simply how you are treated by your spouse.
Love must also include chemistry, attraction, things you have in common, how you both see the future and passion. Love is also based on desire and the glue hardens when you need each other – not just when you want each other. If you base your love of your spouse completely on how he/she treats you, when that changes, you feelings will change as well. Love needs a much more solid foundation than that. And what if 5 people treated you that same way? Would you marry all five? No.
I have seen and helped couples rebuild after physical abuse, sexual abuse, drug addiction, infidelity, gambling or porn addictions, meddling in-laws, nasty out-laws, trifling “baby mommas“, childish “baby daddies“, job loss, physical illness and injury. So I say again, almost any marriage can be saved or salvaged if BOTH of you want it to be. And just because divorce is allowable on biblical or legal grounds, that does not mean you should automatically choose that path. There is more at stake here than just you and your happiness. And I hate to tell you, but IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU.
Finish story here; Black Men/Black Women: Read This Before You Get A Divorce.