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Is Divorce the Answer?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

FOUR THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DIVORCE

A couple thinking about divorce
After assessing the damage, the owners have a choice—either tear down the house or save it.
IS YOUR marriage at a similar juncture? Perhaps your spouse has betrayed your trust or recurring conflicts have sapped the joy from your relationship. If so, you might tell yourself, ‘We’ve fallen out of love’ or ‘We just aren’t meant for each other’ or ‘We didn’t know what we were doing when we got married.’ You could even be thinking, ‘Maybe we should divorce.’
Before making a hasty decision to end your marriage, think. Divorce does not always end life’s anxieties. On the contrary, often it merely exchanges one set of problems for another. In his book The Good Enough Teen, Dr. Brad Sachs warns: “Separating couples fantasize about the perfect divorce—the sudden and permanent passing of gray and stormy conflict, replaced by the cool, comforting breezes of serenity and congeniality. But such a state is just as eternally elusive as is the perfect marriage.” It is important, then, to be fully informed and to approach the question of divorce realistically.

The Bible and Divorce

The Bible does not treat divorce casually. It states that Jehovah God views as treacherous and hateful the frivolous putting away of one’s mate, perhaps with the motive of taking another spouse. (Malachi 2:13-16) Marriage is a permanent bond. (Matthew 19:6) Many marriages that broke up on trivial grounds could have been saved if partners had been more forgiving.—Matthew 18:21, 22.
At the same time, the Bible allows for divorce and remarriage on one ground—sexual relations outside the marriage. (Matthew 19:9) Therefore, if you learn that your mate has been unfaithful, you have the right to terminate the marriage. Others should not impose their views on you, and it is not the purpose of this article to tell you what to do. In the end, you are the one who will live with the consequences; therefore, you are the one who must decide.—Galatians 6:5.
Nevertheless, the Bible states: “The shrewd one considers his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15) Hence, even if you have Scriptural grounds for divorce, you would do well to give serious thought to what that step will entail. (1 Corinthians 6:12) “Some may think that they have to decide quickly,” says David, in Britain. “But having been through a divorce, I can say from experience that time is needed to think things through.”*
Let us consider four important issues you need to think about. As we do, please note that none of the divorced individuals quoted say that they made a wrong decision. However, their comments highlight some of the challenges that often arise in the months and even years after ending a marriage.

1 The Problem of Finances

A mother reviewing her finances
Daniella, in Italy, was married for 12 years when she found out that her husband had been having an affair with a colleague. “By the time I knew about it,” says Daniella, “the woman was six months pregnant.”
After a period of separation, Daniella decided to get a divorce. “I tried to save my marriage,” she says, “but my husband continued to be unfaithful.” Daniella feels that she made the right choice. Still, she relates: “As soon as we separated, my economic situation became disastrous. Sometimes I didn’t even have an evening meal. I would just drink a glass of milk.”
Maria, in Spain, suffered a similar setback. “My ex-husband doesn’t give us any financial support,” she says, “and I have to work very hard to pay off debts he had. I also had to move from a comfortable house to a small apartment in an unsafe area.”
As these experiences show, the breakup of a marriage often deals a devastating financial blow to women. In fact, a seven-year European study revealed that while the income of men increased by 11 percent after divorce, women’s income decreased by 17 percent. “It’s difficult for some women,” says Mieke Jansen, who headed the study, “because they have to care for the children, find a job as well as deal with the emotional trauma of divorce.” London’s Daily Telegraph noted that according to some attorneys, such factors are “forcing people to think twice about splitting up.”
What might happen: If you divorce, there may be a reduction in your income. You may also have to move. If you retain custody, it may be difficult to support yourself and adequately care for the needs of your children.—1 Timothy 5:8.

2 Parenting Issues

“My husband’s unfaithfulness came as a terrible shock,” says a woman in Britain named Jane. “Also, I was devastated to think that he actually chose to leave us.” Jane divorced her husband. She still believes that she made the right decision, but she admits: “One challenge I faced was having to be both mom and dad to the children. I had to make all the decisions myself.”
The situation was similar with Graciela, a divorced mother in Spain. “I was given full custody of my 16-year-old son,” she says. “But adolescence is a difficult time, and I was ill-prepared to raise my son alone. I spent days and nights sobbing. I felt like a failure as a mother.”
Those who share custody may face an additional problem—having to negotiate with the ex-spouse on such delicate issues as visitation arrangements, child support, and discipline. Christine, a divorced mother in the United States, says: “Creating a working relationship with your ex is not easy. There are so many emotions involved, and if you’re not careful, you could end up using your child as a tool to try to manipulate the situation.”
What might happen: The custody arrangements set forth in a court of law may not be what you would prefer. If you share custody, your ex-spouse may not be as reasonable as you would like regarding the aforementioned matters of visitation, financial support, and so on.

“EVERY CHILD’S BIRTHRIGHT”

“When I was five years old, my father had a brief affair with his secretary, and my parents divorced. As far as taking care of me, they did everything ‘right’ according to the wisdom of the day. They reassured me that while they did not love each other anymore, they still loved me, and after my father departed to his bachelor apartment across town, both continued to care for my material needs.
“Two years later my mother remarried, and we moved out of the country. After that, I only saw my father every few years. I have seen him just once in the past nine years. He missed most of my growing up, and he does not know my three children—his grandchildren—except through what I’ve shared with him in letters and photos. They have missed knowing their grandfather.
“As a child of divorce, I grew up without any visible scars. But inside I battled monsters of rage, depression, and insecurity without knowing why. My trust in men was nonexistent. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that a mature friend helped me to identify the roots of my hostility and I began to work at letting go of it.
“My parents’ divorce took away from me every child’s birthright—the feeling of being secure and protected. The world is a cold, scary place, but it seems to me that the family unit is a wall against it, where the child can come to feel nurtured and comforted. Shatter the family unit, and the protective wall crumbles too.”—Diane.

3 The Effect of Divorce on You

Mark, from Britain, was betrayed by his wife more than once. “The second time,” he says, “I couldn’t cope with the possibility that it could happen again.” Mark divorced his wife, but he found that his feelings for her lingered. “When people say negative things about her, they think they’re helping; but they’re not,” he says. “Love stays for a long time.”
David, quoted earlier, was similarly devastated when he found out that his wife was involved with another man. “I reacted with total disbelief,” he says. “I truly wanted to spend every day of my life with her and our children.” David chose to divorce, but the breakup has left him with doubts about his future. “I wonder if someone could really love me or whether this might happen again if I remarry,” he says. “My confidence has been shaken.”
If you are divorced, it is only to be expected that you will experience a wide range of emotions. On the one hand, you might still feel love for this person with whom you shared a one-flesh bond. (Genesis 2:24) On the other hand, you might feel resentful over what has occurred. “Even after several years,” says Graciela, quoted earlier, “you feel confused, humiliated, and helpless. Many happy moments from your marriage come to mind, and you think: ‘He used to tell me that he couldn’t live without me. Was he always lying? Why did this happen?’”
What might happen: You may have lingering feelings of anger and resentment over the ways in which your spouse mistreated you. At times, loneliness may be overwhelming.—Proverbs 14:29; 18:1.

4 The Effect of Divorce on Children

Sad children
“It was devastating,” says José, a divorced father in Spain. “The worst moment was when I discovered that the other man was my sister’s husband. I just wanted to die.” José found that his two boys—ages two and four—were also affected by their mother’s course. “They could not come to terms with the situation,” he says. “They didn’t understand why their mother was living with their uncle and why I had taken them with me and moved in with my sister and my mother. If I had to go somewhere, they would ask, ‘When are you coming home?’ or they would say, ‘Daddy, don’t leave us!’”
Children are often the forgotten casualties on the divorce battlefield. But what if two parents just do not get along? In such a case, is divorce really “better for the children”? In recent years, that notion has come under attack—especially when marital problems are not extreme. The book The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce states: “Many adults who are trapped in very unhappy marriages would be surprised to learn that their children are relatively content. They don’t care if Mom and Dad sleep in different beds as long as the family is together.”
Admittedly, children are often aware of parental conflicts, and marital tension can take a toll on their young minds and hearts. However, to assume that a divorce will automatically be in their best interests could be a mistake. “The structure that marriage provides appears to help parents maintain the kind of consistent, moderate discipline to which children respond, even when the marriage is less than ideal,” write Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher in their book The Case for Marriage.
What might happen: Divorce could have a devastating effect on your children, especially if you do not encourage them to have a healthy relationship with your ex-spouse.—See the box “Caught in the Middle.”
This article has discussed four factors that you would do well to consider if you are thinking about divorce. As mentioned earlier, if your spouse has been unfaithful, the decision is yours to make. Whichever course you choose, you need to be aware of the consequences. Know what challenges you will face, and be prepared to deal with them.
After considering the matter, you might feel that the better option is to work to improve your marriage. But is that really possible?

Increase the Joy and Dignity of Your Wedding Day

A happy couple on their wedding day

“MY WEDDING day was one of the most meaningful and joyful days of my life,” said Gordon, who has been married for almost 60 years. What makes the wedding day so meaningful for true Christians? It is a day when they make a sacred promise to ones they dearly love—their mate and Jehovah God. (Matthew 22:37; Ephesians 5:22-29) Yes, couples planning to marry want to enjoy their wedding day, but they also want to honor the Originator of marriage.—Genesis 2:18-24; Matthew 19:5, 6.
How can a groom enhance the dignity of this happy occasion? What can a bride do to show honor to her husband and to Jehovah? How can others who attend add to the joy of the wedding day? Considering some Bible principles will help to answer those questions, and applying those principles will minimize possible problems that could detract from this special occasion.

Who Is Responsible?

In many lands, a minister of Jehovah’s Witnesses may legally officiate at a marriage ceremony. Even in places where the legal step must be performed by a civil agent, a couple may want to have a Bible-based talk. In such a talk, the groom is usually asked to reflect on the God-given role of the family head. (1 Corinthians 11:3) Accordingly, the groom has the prime responsibility for what happens at the wedding. Of course, the arrangements for the wedding ceremony itself and for any gathering that may follow are usually made well in advance. Why may this present challenges?
One reason is that relatives on one side or the other may attempt to exert a dominant influence on wedding plans. Rodolfo, who has performed many weddings, notes: “At times, the groom comes under tremendous pressure from relatives, especially if they are helping to pay for the wedding reception. They may have strong opinions as to what should happen during the wedding ceremony and at the reception. This could undermine the groom’s Scriptural role as the one responsible for the occasion.”
Max, who has been performing wedding ceremonies for more than 35 years, observes: “I have noticed a trend toward the bride taking the lead in deciding what will take place at the wedding and at the reception, with the groom having less to say.” David, who has also officiated at many weddings, comments: “Grooms may not be used to taking the lead and are commonly not sufficiently involved in the wedding preparations.” How can the groom effectively shoulder his responsibility?

Communication Increases Joy

For the groom to carry out his responsibility for wedding preparations successfully, he must communicate effectively. The Bible pointedly says: “There is a frustrating of plans where there is no confidential talk.” (Proverbs 15:22) However, much frustration can be avoided if the groom first discusses wedding preparations with the bride, family members, and others who can give sound Bible-based advice.
A couple planning their wedding
A couple should communicate openly but respectfully while planning their wedding
Yes, it is vital that an engaged couple first discuss with each other the plans and possibilities. Why? Well, listen to some comments from Ivan and his wife, Delwyn, who have been happily married for many years but who came from different cultural backgrounds. Recalling their wedding plans, Ivan says: “I had definite ideas about what I wanted for my wedding, including a reception with all my friends present, a wedding cake, and my bride wearing a white wedding dress. Delwyn, on the other hand, wanted a small, simple wedding with no wedding cake. She even considered wearing something other than a wedding gown.”
How did this couple work out these differences? By kind, honest communication. (Proverbs 12:18) Ivan adds: “We studied Bible-based articles on the subject of weddings, such as those published in The Watchtower of April 15, 1984.* This material helped us to have a spiritual view of the occasion. In view of our different backgrounds, we had to compromise in several areas of personal choice. We met somewhere in the middle.”
Aret and Penny followed a similar course. Regarding their wedding day, Aret says: “Penny and I discussed our different desires for the wedding, and we were able to reach a harmonious agreement. We prayed for Jehovah’s blessing on the day. I also sought the advice of our parents and some other mature married couples in the congregation. Their suggestions were very helpful. As it turned out, our wedding was beautiful.”

Maintaining Dignity in Dress and Grooming

It is understandable that both bride and groom want to be well-dressed for their wedding. (Psalm 45:8-15) They may spend time, effort, and money on appropriate clothing. Which Bible principles can help them to choose what is both dignified and attractive?
Consider what the bride wears for the occasion. While tastes vary from person to person and from country to country, the Bible’s admonition is applicable everywhere. Women are “to adorn themselves in well-arranged dress, with modesty and soundness of mind.” That applies to Christian women at all times, and it certainly includes the wedding day. The fact is that a joyful wedding does not require “very expensive garb.” (1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Peter 3:3, 4) How satisfying when this advice is applied!
David, mentioned earlier, comments: “Most couples endeavor to follow Bible principles, and they deserve commendation. There have been cases, though, when the gowns of brides and bridesmaids were immodest, being very low-cut or see-through.” In his meeting with the bride and groom beforehand, one mature Christian elder helps them to keep a spiritual perspective. How? By asking them whether the attire they have in mind would be modest enough to wear to a Christian meeting. Granted, the style of clothing might be different from regular meeting attire, and what is worn for the wedding may reflect local custom, but the level of modesty should accord with dignified Christian standards. Even if some in the world might view the Bible’s moral code as restrictive, true Christians are content to resist the world’s attempts to squeeze them into its mold.—Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 4:4.
“Rather than viewing the clothes or the reception as the most important thing,” says Penny, “Aret and I focused on the ceremony, the spiritual part of the occasion. It was the most important part of the day. The special things I remember are, not what I wore or ate, but whom I spent the day with and the happiness I felt at marrying the man I love.” A Christian couple do well to keep such thoughts in mind as they plan their wedding.

The Kingdom Hall—A Dignified Venue

Many Christian couples desire to have their wedding ceremony in a Kingdom Hall if such is available. Why do they prefer this? One couple explained their reasoning: “We realized that marriage is Jehovah’s sacred arrangement. Getting married in the Kingdom Hall, our place of worship, helped impress upon us right from the start that Jehovah needed to be part of our marriage. Another benefit of having the ceremony in the Kingdom Hall instead of at another location was that it showed our nonbelieving relatives who attended how important worship of Jehovah is for us.”
If the congregation elders responsible for the Kingdom Hall give permission for the wedding to be held there, the couple should advise them in advance of preparations that are being considered. One way the bride and groom can show due respect for those invited to the wedding is by being firmly resolved to arrive at the scheduled time for the wedding. And they will certainly want to be sure that everything is done in a dignified manner.# (1 Corinthians 14:40) They will thus avoid the outrageous displays that mark many worldly weddings.—1 John 2:15, 16.
Those who attend the wedding can also show that they have Jehovah’s view of marriage. For example, they would not expect the wedding to outdo other Christian weddings, as if there were some competition as to whose wedding was more elaborate. Mature Christians also realize that being at the Kingdom Hall for the Bible-based talk is more important and beneficial than being at a wedding feast or a gathering that might follow. If time or circumstances will permit a Christian to be present for only one of the two, being at the Kingdom Hall would certainly be preferable. An elder named William says: “If guests are needlessly absent from the Kingdom Hall but are present at the reception later, this shows a lack of appreciation for the sacredness of the occasion. Even if we are not invited to the reception, we can show our support for the bride and groom and give an excellent witness to nonbelieving relatives at the wedding by attending the ceremony at the Kingdom Hall.”

Joy That Lasts Beyond the Wedding Day

The commercial world has turned the wedding celebration into a huge industry. According to one recent report, the average wedding in the United States “costs $22,000, or half the average [annual] income of an American household.” Influenced by commercial propaganda, many newlyweds or their families incur for that one day a burdensome debt that they carry for years. Is such a course a prudent way to start one’s marriage? Those who do not know or do not care about Bible principles may opt for such extravagance, but how different it is among true Christians!
By limiting the size of their wedding to what is reasonable and affordable and by focusing on the spiritual aspect of the event, many Christian couples have been able to use their time and assets in line with their dedication to God. (Matthew 6:33) Consider the example of Lloyd and Alexandra, who have continued in the full-time ministry for 17 years since their marriage. Lloyd comments: “Some may have viewed our wedding as a rather simple event, but Alexandra and I were very pleased. We felt that our wedding day should be, not a financial burden to overcome, but a celebration of Jehovah’s arrangement to bring great happiness to two people.”
Alexandra adds: “I was in the pioneer ministry before we were married, and I did not want to give up this privilege just to have an extravagant wedding. Our wedding day was very special. However, it was only the first day of the rest of our lives together. We applied the advice to avoid concentrating too much on the act of getting married and have sought Jehovah’s guidance in our life of being married. This has definitely brought us Jehovah’s blessing.”%
A couple getting married
Keep the spiritual significance of your wedding day uppermost in mind
Yes, your wedding day is a special occasion. The attitudes and actions evident on that day can set a pattern for your married life for years to come. Therefore, rely on Jehovah for guidance. (Proverbs 3:5, 6) Keep the spiritual significance of the day uppermost in mind. Support each other in your God-assigned roles. You can thus lay a solid foundation for your marriage, and with Jehovah’s blessing, you will have joy that lasts well beyond your wedding day.—Proverbs 18:22.

Maintaining Commitment in Your Marriage



A woman crying She says: “I noticed for some time that Michael, my husband, had been emotionally distant from me and was treating our children coldly.* His behavior changed soon after we were connected to the Internet, and I suspected that he was viewing pornography on the computer. One night after the children had gone to bed, I cornered him, and he confessed that he had been viewing pornographic Web sites. I was devastated. I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me. I completely lost trust in him. To make matters worse, a workmate had recently started to express a romantic interest in me.”
An unhappy man He says: “Some time ago my wife, Maria, discovered a picture stored on our computer and confronted me about it. When I admitted that I regularly visited pornographic Web sites, she was livid. I felt horribly embarrassed and very guilty. I thought it was the end of our marriage.”
WHAT do you think happened to Michael and Maria’s relationship? You may think that viewing pornography was Michael’s main problem. But as Michael came to realize, this vice was really a symptom of a deeper issue—a lack of commitment to the marriage.# When Michael and Maria were first married, they looked forward to a life of shared love and enjoyable experiences. Like many couples, though, their commitment to the marriage waned over time, and they seemed to drift apart.
Do you feel that the bond between you and your mate has weakened as the years have passed? Would you like to reverse that trend? If so, you need to know the answers to three questions: What does it mean to be committed to your marriage? What challenges can undermine such commitment? And what can you do to strengthen your commitment to your mate?

What Is Commitment?

How would you define commitment in marriage? Many would say that it springs from a sense of duty. For example, a couple may remain committed to their marriage because of their children or because of a duty they feel toward God, the Originator of marriage. (Genesis 2:22-24) Certainly, such motives are admirable and will help a marriage survive difficult times. But to be happy, marriage mates need to feel more than just a sense of obligation to each other.
Jehovah God designed marriage to bring a couple deep-seated joy and contentment. He intended for a man to “rejoice with [his] wife” and for a woman to love her husband and to feel that her husband loves her as he does his own body. (Proverbs 5:18; Ephesians 5:28) To create that sort of bond, a couple must learn to trust each other. Equally important, they need to develop a lifelong friendship. When a man and woman earn each other’s trust and work at becoming the best of friends, their commitment to the marriage will grow. They will form a bond the Bible describes as being so close that it is as if the two people were “one flesh.”—Matthew 19:5.
Commitment, therefore, could be likened to the mortar that binds the bricks of a sturdy house. Mortar is made from a combination of ingredients, including sand, cement, and water. Similarly, commitment is formed from a combination of such factors as duty, trust, and friendship. What may weaken that bond?

What Are the Challenges?

Commitment requires hard work and self-sacrifice. It demands that you be willing to forgo your own preferences in order to please your mate. However, the concept of yielding to someone else’s wishes—of giving without asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’—has become unpopular with many and even offensive to some. But ask yourself, ‘How many selfish people do I know who have a happy marriage?’ Likely the answer is, Few if any. Why? A selfish individual will not likely remain committed to a marriage when personal sacrifice is required, especially when there is no immediate payoff for the small concessions he or she may make. Without commitment, a relationship will sour, no matter how sweet the romantic feelings were when a couple first fell in love.
The Bible realistically acknowledges that marriage is hard work. It states that “the married man is anxious for the things of the world, how he may gain the approval of his wife,” and that “the married woman is anxious for the things of the world, how she may gain the approval of her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:33, 34) Unfortunately, even marriage mates who normally are unselfish do not always acknowledge each other’s anxieties or value their mate’s sacrifices. When a couple fail to show appreciation for each other, their marriage is bound to cause them more “tribulation in their flesh” than it would otherwise.—1 Corinthians 7:28.
If your marriage is to survive difficult times and to thrive during good times, you need to develop a long-term view of your relationship. How can you develop such an attitude, and how can you encourage your mate to remain committed to you?

How to Strengthen Commitment

A key factor is humbly to apply the advice of God’s Word, the Bible. By doing so you will “benefit yourself” and your mate. (Isaiah 48:17) Consider just two practical steps you can take.
1. Make your marriage a priority. “Make sure of the more important things,” wrote the apostle Paul. (Philippians 1:10) In God’s eyes, the way a husband and wife treat each other is very important. A man who honors his wife will be honored by God. And a woman who respects her husband has “great value in the eyes of God.”—1 Peter 3:1-47.
Make time for your mate
A happy couple
How important is your marriage to you? Usually, the more important an endeavor, the more time you spend on it. Ask yourself: ‘Over the past month, how much time did I set aside just to spend with my mate? What specific things have I done to reassure my mate that we are still good friends?’ If you invested little or no time in maintaining your marriage, your mate may find it difficult to believe that you are committed to the union.
Does your mate think that you are committed to your marriage? How can you find out?
TRY THIS: Write on a piece of paper the following five categories: money, work, marriage, entertainment, and friends. Now number the list according to what you believe to be your spouse’s priorities. Ask your mate to do the same about you. When completed, exchange lists with your mate. If your mate feels that you are not investing enough time and energy in the marriage, discuss what changes you may need to make to strengthen your commitment to each other. Also, ask yourself, ‘What can I do to take more of an interest in the things that are important to my mate?’
Infidelity begins in the heart
A woman looking at a male coworker
2. Avoid all forms of infidelity. Jesus Christ said: “Everyone that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) When a person engages in sexual intercourse outside of marriage, he or she delivers a devastating blow to the union, one that the Bible says is grounds for divorce. (Matthew 5:32) However, Jesus’ words quoted above show that a wrong desire can exist in the heart long before a person actually engages in the physical act of adultery. Entertaining that wrong desire is in itself a form of betrayal.
To maintain your commitment to your marriage, make a solemn pledge not to view pornography. Despite what many may say, pornography is poison to a marriage. Note the way one wife expresses her feelings about her husband’s viewing habits: “My husband says that watching pornography spices up our love life. But it just makes me feel that I’m worthless, that I’m not enough for him. I cry myself to sleep when he watches it.” Would you say that this man is strengthening his commitment to his marriage, or is he undermining it? Do you think that he is making it easier for his wife to remain committed to the marriage? Is he treating her as his closest friend?
The faithful man Job expressed his commitment to his marriage and to his God by making ‘a covenant with his eyes.’ He was determined not to ‘show himself attentive to a virgin.’ (Job 31:1) How can you imitate Job?
In addition to avoiding pornography, you need to guard your heart from forming an inappropriate attachment to a member of the opposite sex. True, many feel that flirting with members of the opposite sex does no harm to a marriage. But God’s Word warns us: “The heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Has your heart fooled you? Ask yourself: ‘To whom am I most attentive—my spouse or some other member of the opposite sex? With whom do I share good news first—my spouse, or someone else? If my spouse asked me to limit my contact with an associate of the opposite sex, how would I react? Would I be resentful, or would I happily make the requested change?’
TRY THIS: If you find yourself attracted to someone other than your mate, limit your contact with that one to only what is necessary and keep all encounters on a purely professional level. Do not focus on ways in which you think this person is superior to your mate. Instead, focus on your mate’s positive qualities. (Proverbs 31:29) Recall the reasons why you fell in love with your mate. Ask yourself, ‘Has my mate really lost these qualities, or have I become blind to them?’

Take the Initiative

Michael and Maria, quoted at the outset, decided to ask for advice on how to resolve their issues. Of course, seeking advice is just the first step. But by being willing to face their problems and seek help, both Michael and Maria sent a clear message that they are committed to their marriage, that they are willing to work hard to make it succeed.
Whether your marriage is stable or strained, your mate needs to know that you are committed to making the marriage a success. Take whatever appropriate steps are necessary to convince your mate of that fact. Are you willing to do that?

*  Names have been changed.
#  While the example here is of a man who viewed pornography, a woman who did the same would also be displaying a lack of commitment to the marriage.

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