Hang in There!

During the course of your marriage, there are going to be many times when your spouse disappoints you and vice versa.  When you find yourself questioning their feelings for you and you start to wonder:

How much does he/she really love me?

How deep is their commitment to me – not to the marriage but to me as an individual?

There can be a big difference in the degree of a commitment to a marriage as opposed to the degree of commitment to your spouse.
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Many people are fully and utterly committed to their marriages.

The thought of divorce never enters their minds BUT they are not committed to helping their spouses achieve their fullest potential as a human being. They are not committed to finding out how their spouses are truly doing – physically, emotionally and spiritually.  They are not committed to growing the marriage.

This could be due to a lack of interest, or a sense of complacency, to selfishness, to ignorance or the fact that they are too busy living their own lives, fulfilling their own ambitions, building up a business, obsessed with a hobby or busy with church duties.

As long as their spouse’s basic needs are being met they are quite content to continue in the marriage as it is.

It can be small things like never making your spouse a cup of tea without being asked, or voluntarily taking the children out for a few hours so your spouse can sleep, or not being prepared to make lunch for your husband to take to work with him, or not occasionally sharing the cooking of meals on a weekend, or expecting your spouse to be the one to always initiate evenings out, organize the holidays, do the shopping – the list is actually endless.

Then there are the big things like not being supportive of your spouse if he/she wants to change their career, study further, take up a hobby.  It may not make any difference to you whether they do this or not but… your lack of interest in your spouse’s plans stifles something in them and they lose their joy and enthusiasm.

Your lack of interest in your spouse’s plans stifles something in them and they lose their joy and enthusiasm.
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It could be that your spouse is struggling with an addiction and you are really happy that they are making an effort to break the addiction but you are not prepared to change your lifestyle and habits to support them in their struggles or to do any research to see what they are going through and how you could help them.

Or they have been diagnosed with an illness and you ‘support’ them but make no effort to change your lifestyle to include and incorporate that illness.

The saddest thing is that you may love your spouse deeply but you just don’t have insight into their needs and aren’t prepared to find out what it is that they really need from you.

And then, sometimes, it boils down to the fact that we, as individuals are only capable in our humanity of loving to a certain extent.  It is then that we need to turn to God and ask Him to fill us with His love for our spouse. To earnestly seek Him in prayer for Godly wisdom, understanding and perseverance to enable us to love our spouse in the way they need to be loved and at the same time to ask Him for a sense of humor that laughter may become a big part of the relationship.

You may need to go for counseling or for prayer support and once you have done all this you then, as the Afrikaaners say, you VASBYT!

I live in South Africa and one of our languages (we have eleven official languages!) is Afrikaans. English, for me, just does not have an equivalent word to VASBYT.

The Oxford dictionary describes VASBYT as stoical but that does not capture the essence of the word.

The English translation of this word is “to bite down and hold on” but the literal meaning encompasses so much more…perseverance, endurance, determination, discipline, persistence.

So, pray for your marriage and then VASBYT!

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. —James 3:17


Noelene Curry lives in Cape Town, South Africa with her Irish husband, three daughters, one dog and two rabbits. Noelene is a public speaker and author of God’s Promise for Families and All God's Stones. Her passion in life is for couples, not just to stay married, but to be happily married. She loves reading, walking, traveling and bush camping. You'll find Noelene writing about God’s redeeming love and His ability to restore people and relationships at www.godspromise.co.za.

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