Over the years of writing this column, I have met and spoken to many couples about their issues. There are the couples who knew they had divergent views on children – one wanted kids and the other didn’t. Some of these couples have broken up but a few are still together, plodding along with one partner not having the children they desire, and the other getting exactly what they want.
Then there are the couples from different religions. They get along great, they love each other but they worship at different altars. Matters of religion and faith are of course far reaching – religion is more than just to whom you pray and how; it also gives us a sense of belonging, identity, family and might even colour what and how we eat. And yet I see them too plodding along with their different faiths.
When we speak of plodding along, there are of course the couples where one person (typically the guy) just will not commit to marriage. Maybe he was hurt before and is getting over divorce, perhaps he is still in his miserable marriage, or he claims cold feet and a need for perpetual freedom. Three years becomes 5, 7 and perhaps even 10; and there you are… hanging out, hanging on and seemingly waiting while one person gets all he wants, and the other is unsatisfied and held hostage by love, affection and perhaps fear.
In talking with these couples and observing them, I have come to see a distinct marker of moving on to the next phase, and it is that one half of the couple is willing to leave. That one person who is willing not only face but address the elephant in the room is the game changer. Maybe they are stubborn and set in their ways, or they are just super-clear on what they want and are unwilling to compromise. Pick one, but they are the game changers.
The person who must have children; the one who will only marry a Christian, Muslim, Hindu and so on; the woman who is clear that a man has to marry her to have a certain type of access to her. These are the game changers.
If you are plodding along in your couple-hood and unhappy with something or things, know that only you can change your life and set the standards for how people treat you in it. Only you can be the game changer in your own life; and you cannot control other people regardless of how great you imagine your influence on them to be. Only you can face that fear of starting over, getting back into the dating game, fear of losing out on a relationship that meets some but not your main needs, fear of what people will say, fear of being single… fear.
Fear is un-Godly, if only because it is the absence of faith; the absence of belief in a God who chose you and wants better for you than ‘plodding along’. Why don’t you choose you, as He chose you?