North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

June 19, 2013

Danielle Carter: Don’t walk away when times get tough

By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News

COMMENTARY — In a world where nothing seems to last, it’s refreshing to hear of people who persevere and press through hard times to reach their goals. Our society makes it so easy for people to walk away from all of their responsibilities. Kids drop out of school, parents walk out on their kids, people quit their jobs and spouses walk away from marriages every day.

We don’t blink an eye when someone tells us that Bill and Cindy are getting divorced. It’s alarming how unalarming divorces are to us. People are placing bets on how long they expect a marriage to last at the wedding ceremonies, and they really aren’t out of line for doing it since more than 75 percent of all marriages end in divorce.

We make it easy to walk away from responsibility, but that shouldn’t be the way we function. In our society, if you don’t think you are being treated fairly, or that you are getting enough out of a relationship, then you have the right to step away from it just because you deserve better. Well, let me tell you a little secret — you’re probably no prize spouse yourself.

If you feel like your spouse hasn’t been giving enough in your marriage, turn that mirror around and see if you’ve been the model spouse. I’m sure you can find areas to improve in your own relationship without pointing fingers at your significant other. If you look hard enough, you will find plenty of reasons to divorce your spouse — “She burns the biscuits. He never cuts the grass. She doesn’t clean. He doesn’t help with the kids. She spends too much money. He puts his job before his family.” We can all sit back and nick pick our spouses to pieces. We can tear them down to a point of no return, and sadly, many spouses do this exact thing.

But what would happen if you focused on the positive aspects of your spouse? For some people this will be easier than others, but stick with it and you will see a change in your home. Look at the way he likes to spend time with the kids. Or the way she does your laundry without complaining. Notice the fact that he works all week to help pay the bills, and that she gives the kids baths before bed every night. Noticing these little things can make your spouse feel appreciated and loved and that could make them want to do more things to gain your appreciation.

In a marriage it’s not 50/50 as most people would think, it’s 110/110. Each person needs to be working to give more than they even expect from their partner. And sometimes you will feel like you are giving much more than you are receiving, but there are also many times that you will be receiving more than you realize.

My parents will be celebrating 36 years of marital bliss on Monday. They have shown our family what a truly loving marital relationship should look like. My dad has always shown respect and love toward my mom, and there was no question that she was the queen of our household. He put her on a pedestal, and she is well worthy of that position.

My mom has done an excellent job of teaching her daughters what the role of the wife should look like. She has been a loving and submissive wife all of her days. She worked hard to balance the roles of wife and mother, and she has done so with grace and honor.

When I think of the way a marriage should look, I can always go to my parents and see a shining example of a marriage done right. I’m sure it hasn’t always been easy for them. I’ll bet there were even times they might have wanted to quit. (If this is the case, they never once acted like it since I have never even heard my parents raise their voices at each other.) But they stuck it out. They took care of each other. They put each other’s needs ahead of their own, and it has paid off. They are celebrating 36 years of being together and are looking forward to many more happy years, because they didn’t quit.

Quitting isn’t the answer. Whatever problems you are facing in your current situation, you will probably have to face in your next situation, so try to fix them instead of running out the door while looking for an escape. Quit looking for a way out and look for a cure for where you are now. Work at it instead of running from it.

We could learn a lot from the old-timers who worked through issues, instead of tucking tail and jetting out at the first opportunity. Dig in your heels and make your marriage count. It affects a lot of people around you, whether you realize it or not.

Your spouse is worth fighting for.