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Married and feeling desperate, disappointed, discouraged and unhappy is not what most couples signed up for when they said “I do”. Married and dealing with infidelity, loneliness, low self-esteem, lack of communication, disrespect and unhappiness is definitely not what was expected with your marriage commitment. Well, statistics show that over 50% of the marriages today end up in divorce. I can give you 2 reasons (in my humble opinion) why there is unhappiness in most of the marriages that end up in divorce. Selfishness and lack of love!

 In a broad sense there are some common problems in a marriage that take the marriage from a blissful relationship to that unhappy marriage stage such as;

 Abuse (Physical and Emotional)

  • Communication
  • Fighting
  • Commitment by one or both spouses
  • Infidelity
  • Money
  • Intimacy
  • Jealousy

 All of the above issues can lead to an unhappy marriage. If you have been married for a little while (it doesn’t take long) you probably stumbled upon one of these issues. You may not have become unhappy with your marriage but a brief flash of “oh no what did I get myself into” probably popped into your head. If you haven’t hit one of these marriage hurdles yet, trust me you will.

 Let’s deal with the selfishness that ignites a lot of the fires in a marriage and turns them from happy to an unhappy marriage.

 Here is the definition of selfish just for the record; devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

 A very selfish person is very difficult to either be happy in a marriage or make a spouse happy, unless they change and become less selfish during the marriage. Marriage is a commitment between 2 people being joined together as one. It’s no longer my stuff and your stuff, or my time and your time or my money and your money. Everything is now “ours” once you get married. A very selfish person is unwilling to put their spouses’ interests, benefits, and welfare first. This can lead to an unhappy marriage.

 Can an unselfish person be responsible for making the marriage unhappy? The answer of course is yes. However, I believe you have a much greater chance of having a happy marriage instead of an unhappy marriage because an unselfish person is more likely to grow together with their unselfish spouse and become like one.

 To make a marriage become better and go from being an unhappy marriage to a happy marriage we need to get the selfish spouse(s) to see how putting their interests ahead of the spouse or in some cases the entire family is causing frustration, hurt, disappointment and could lead to unintended results, such as a divorce.

 Now let’s tackle the love or lack of love that makes a marriage unhappy.

 Here is the Webster definition of love; a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.

 Here is a better definition that I like and if it exists in a marriage there is a greater chance for happiness instead of an unhappy marriage; Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. That’s the real meaning of love according to the Bible. I don’t think you can have an unhappy marriage with this kind of love.

 Does it mean that if you love your spouse with this kind of love you will never have issues to overcome in your marriage? Of course not! However, do you think you have a better shot of having a happy or unhappy marriage?

So the key to being happy or working towards fixing an unhappy marriage is less selfishness and more love. Sounds pretty simple but is very difficult to do. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks right? WRONG!

 Every person is capable of change. It’s called making a commitment to doing so and following through. If you want to stop smoking you can. If you want to stop drinking too much alcohol you can. If you want to stop gaining weight you can. If you want to be happier in your marriage you can. The only difference is sometimes it takes both spouses to be willing to change for the sake of making an unhappy marriage better.

 Here are 8 basic things or tips you can work on to move from the unhappy marriage stage to the happy stage of marriage. If you and your spouse can work toward the same goal, that would be best. If not, you make a commitment to make things better and your spouse will come around eventually.

 Fighting fair – Don’t bring up things from the past that were supposed to be forgiven and forgotten. It’s like pouring salt on an open wound. Don’t say hurtful things about your spouse that you know will cause a lot of pain, and add to unhappiness in the marriage.

  1. Stop sweating the small stuff – Make it a point to stop getting aggravated, frustrated and disappointed over little things that really aren’t that important. Overlook the little things that you normally complain about that gets under your skin. You know what they are.
  2. Enjoy being around your spouse – Don’t disappear when your spouse comes home or when they enter the room your in. Stop acting like you enjoy life more when they are out of the house, out of town or at least not in the same room as you. Let your spouse know that you enjoy it when you are together.
  3. Don’t talk negative about your spouse to others – It’s very easy to share what’s wrong with your spouse that’s driving you crazy. Stop doing that immediately. No spouse likes to be talked about in that way. It’s not okay to make jokes about your spouse around family or friends that betrays a trust. If you don’t have anything positive to say don’t say anything.
  4. Talk to your spouse – It’s not okay to go hours or days playing the silent I’m not talking to you game. There is nothing gained by shutting down and not talking to your spouse. It’s difficult at times but the only time you should not be talking is if for some reason you are really upset and need a little time to cool off. Otherwise, keep the lines of communication open. I know not talking times gives you peace of mind. But don’t settle for a temporary time of peace when you could work on fixing your unhappy marriage problem.
  5. Act like a married couple – Don’t take separate cars to the same place unless it’s really necessary. That’s what you did before you got married. No separate vacations, or bedrooms. You need to be committed to being a couple and not married singles.
  6. Don’t take advice from the wrong people – There will be many family, friends and enemies who will offer you free advice. Be careful who you talk to and more importantly who you listen to. It’s very difficult for a spouse to be happy in a marriage knowing that you have blabbed your marriage problems to the world. You also don’t want to follow advice from someone who has been married 3 times. It’s better to limit the circle of people you discuss your marriage with and you also don’t always need to share all the details. The wrong people can’t tell you how to fix your unhappy marriage problem
  7. Support your spouse – Make sure you are there for your spouse even though you don’t want to be. If there is a family function with your in-laws don’t stay home. Be there for your spouse. The same thing goes for work or even playful functions like a sporting event. It’s important for your spouse to know that you care enough to be with them even though they know you don’t want to be around certain people. It shows that they mean more to you than your feelings about other people.


There are many ways to take your unhappy marriage and make it better. The key to Restoring Your Relationship is to work on being less selfish and being more loving. Put your spouse’s interests ahead of yours and you will be happier and so will your spouse.

Living in an unhappy marriage is difficult and hard to sustain. If you need some proven strategies and techniques to make your marriage better I would suggest taking a look here at Save My Marriage Today.

 You deserve a happy marriage because that’s what you agreed to when you said “I do”. Take the steps to get what you deserve.

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“To the unmarried and to the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do.”?
(1 Corinthians 7:8)

The immortal words of St. Paul, who quite possibly had experienced the pain of separation and divorce first hand prior to penning these words, and who certainly dealt with relationship breakdowns in every church he pastored.

I seem to be at that stage of life now where all my friends are getting divorced. I’ve long passed that stage where all my friends are having their 21st’s. And I’ve passed the stage where they are all getting married, and even the one where my friends are all having children. Now I’m up to the ‘all my friends are getting divorced’ stage. I suppose the only one left after this is the ‘all my friends are dying’ stage. Not much to look forward to really.

Of course in terms of divorce I led the way. I managed to stuff up my marriage long before almost any of my peers. It’s nothing to be proud of, but at least it means that no one needs fear that I’m going to judge them. Who me? I don’t think so.

The disturbing thing for me at the moment is that it seems to be all the couples that I’ve most looked up to as couples that are now falling apart as couples!

When it come to some of the couples I know – such as where the guy deliberately gets the girl pregnant because he figures that having a child will give him the motivation to give up is heroin habit – I sort of expect those marriages to last only a couple of years at best. And yet it’s not those couples that are falling apart. It’s the marriages made up of men I admire for their integrity and courage, who are married to women who are loyal, nurturing and understanding. And most of these people are good, solid, church-going Christian folk. It’s not supposed to happen this way!

I was talking to a girl recently whose relationship had only just broken up after some 20 years of marriage. She was not a part of the church and said that she’d never be. For her the final proof of the non-existence of God was the way in which men and women had evolved with an in-built incompatibility. Her analysis was simple but profound. Men have evolved as creatures that need only to eat and mate. Women have evolved as creatures that need to nurture and nestle. Hence, not surprisingly, we find that men can’t handle monogamy and that women can’t live without it. Marriages are thus biologically doomed to failure from the outset, and the statistics on modern marriages would seem to bear her out. How could a loving God have created men and women in such a way that they were genetically geared towards their mutual destruction?

It’s a good question. Every male knows that his biological drives are not geared towards monogamy ? not lifelong monogamy at any rate. Conversely, it is unrealistic to expect women to settle for anything less than monogamy in today’s society. Does this mean that God is cruel, or is there something in the whole marriage concept that we’ve missed?

I wonder if at the heart of the problem is the assumption that we all make ? that marriage is supposed to make us happy. Indeed, I suspect that most of us believe that the institution of marriage was brought into being for the very purpose of making us happy.

Weren’t we all brought up to believe that love and marriage go together like horse and carriage, and that the phrase ‘they got married’ should generally be followed by the accompanying phrase ‘and they lived happily ever after’? Perhaps that’s the problem. Perhaps we need to look beyond musicals and fairy tales to find a basis for our adult relationships.

I don’t think any of us seriously imagines that our institution of marriage came about because some individual had a ‘bright idea’ one day about how he could make everybody happy. Marriage is a social institution, and social institutions are developed because they serve a social purpose, not because they bring personal fulfillment to certain individuals within the community. Whether or not you believe God created marriage makes no difference. If He did, God did it for the sake of the community as a whole and not for the sake satisfying every individual’s social, emotional and sexual needs.

It makes sense when you think about it. What is the purpose of marriage? To create a stronger society. Strong marriages create strong families who build a stronger community. Marriages contribute stability. They contribute structure. And most importantly, marriages contribute children.

Read through your Old Testament and you’ll get the feel for what marriage is all about. Marriage is all-important because without marriages there are no children and without children there is no army. This is why baby boys are more valued than are baby girls. This is why gays get such a hard time. This is why childlessness is such a curse, and why polygamy is a far better alternative than singleness. It’s not because the individuals involved prefer it that way. Marriages are there for the sake of the community first and foremost. If an individual finds satisfaction in his or her marriage, then that’s a bonus.

So how come every time someone says ‘I’m not happy in my marriage’ we treat it as if something is horribly wrong? If someone expresses dissatisfaction with other social institutions, such as the government or the taxation system ? we don’t normally get too worked up. Maybe it should be the other way round? Maybe when we hear someone speak of their joy in marriage we should react as if they were speaking of their love of Queen and country ? giving them a sort of quizzical smile that expresses admiration without empathy.

I suppose the truth is somewhere between these extremes. Nobody would deny that the institution of marriage can be of some assistance in helping us to satisfy our individual social, emotional, and sexual needs. The truth is though that no marriage is ever going to satisfy all of those needs and desires. We human beings just weren’t created to have all our needs for companionship, security and intimacy met by one other solitary individual. We need a community.

This brings us to the positive side of the marriage-community equation. Marriages exist for the sake of the community as a whole. That’s the bad news if you thought that your marriage existed for the sake of your individual happiness. On the other hand though, the community exists to meet those needs we all have as individuals. That’s the good news.

Our individual needs for companionship, security and intimacy can be met. They just can’t be met by one solitary person. We have to learn to draw upon the group for our sustenance, and find support and affection from a variety of people within the community. I think that’s a large part of what church is supposed to be about.

So where does this leave us? Is there any hope for the modern marriage? Not so long as people look to marriage as a means to making all their dreams come true. Not so long as individual men and women look to their partners to satisfy all of their social, emotional and sexual needs. Not so long as we demand that our marriages make us happy.

Yet what would happen if we all began to approach marriage in an entirely different way. What if we began to look at our marriages as being the most significant contribution we could make to the broader community?

What if we saw the importance of our roles as parents in terms of the great good that could be achieved in the community if we bring up our children to be strong and capable? What if we stopped assessing our partners and our children in terms of the amount of satisfaction they bring us, and were able to see those relationships as being our gifts to humanity? Perhaps then we’d find ourselves saying things like ‘well, I don’t get on brilliantly with my wife, but I think we’ve managed to achieve some fine things together and that the world is a better place for our union, and perhaps that’s more important than my individual happiness’.

OK. That’s a long way from where we’re currently at in this society, but I have a feeling that it would be a better place to be.

Rev. David B. Smith (the ‘Fighting Father’)

Parish priest, community worker, martial arts master, pro boxer, author, father of three

Get a free preview copy of Dave’s book, Sex, the Ring & the Eucharist when you sign up for his free newsletterat

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