Have you ever considered how much work it takes to keep a marriage bad?
You have to nitpick. You have to find reasons to be disappointed. You have to find reasons to withhold your kindness. You have to suppress forgiveness and grace. You have to think the worst. You have to find reasons to rationalize putting the blame on your spouse.
When you realize that you actively need to work at keeping a marriage bad just as much as you need to work at making a marriage good, it can be a clarifying moment. It’s just a matter which perspective are you defaulted to see.
Now, stop thinking about whether or not your spouse is putting in work towards a good marriage or a bad one, and think about you. If we’re being honest with one another, you and your spouse have both contributed to both the good and the bad parts of your marriage.
The key is being aware that every moment is an opportunity to make things better, more full of love, more saturated with grace, more in step with God’s plan. So are you looking for the good or the bad in your marriage and in your spouse?
Maybe your marriage needs a wake up call. Maybe this moment is your time to repent of the work you’ve done to keep a marriage bad rather than making it good.
Even if your spouse is still putting work in to keep a marriage bad rather than making it good, you’re not excused from your responsibility to do the right thing. It’s frustrating if you realize they might not be working toward the same goal as you right now, but there is always hope.
As with everything, it starts with God’s Spirit living in you, and choosing to live out of that strength. Pray for grace to resist firing back hurt for hurt and blame for blame.
There is no shame in asking for help. A good Christian counselor can be just what you need to help you and your spouse stop working towards a bad marriage and start working for a good one.