Marriages that fall apart seem to end in different ways. Witness the couple that argues constantly, always one upping each other with threats to leave, daring each other to end the marriage. Maybe you know a couple that deliberatly spends more time apart than together, slowly realizing that going through a divorce is an inevitable formality they will have to deal with. Or perhaps you've seen the marriage that never ends - they are honoring their vows, sure, but without a relationship or friendship they are missing the purpose behind marriage in the first place.
My marriage was more like a sucker punch to the gut. In hindsight I could see it coming but at the time of impact, it took me by surprise. It was at about the three year mark when our tension boiled over. We were the couple with the friendly facade to the world around us. Everything in our marriage was "hallway good". (You know what I mean - the typical "hallway" response when people ask how things are going). The truth is, I was assuming things were fine with our marriage, ignoring some distinct warning signs. I was doing what I do best - ignoring the problem. Things were happening that were triggering emotions in me - anger, fear, and jealousy to name a few. But my desire to maintain peace allowed me to ignore the red flags in our relationship. This denial allowed us to ignore the root of our problem. We were no longer connecting emotionally and authentically.
With the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to see where we began to disintergrate as a couple. She was spending more and more time with new friends, pursuing a life without me in the picture. I was wallowing in self pity, unwilling to say what needed to be said. And neither of us allowed other people to look into our lives and call us out on our destructive behavior. We had pulled away from our church community, and the community of friends that loved us. We had distanced ourselves from the dear friends that stood by our sides on our wedding day. Without the presence if wise council and leadership, we stopped pursuing a deeper relationship with the Lord, and each other. The spritual foundation our marriage was built upon was crumbling - and we both has chisels in our hands, tearing away at the remaining concrete.
It takes two people to make a marriage work, and two people to destroy it. Cracks that start small quickly become crevices when they are ignored. Trusting friends to plug in and point out the cracks can allow those cracks to be healed before it is to late.
Sadly, it is much too easy to hide in church these days. Maybe your church community is the size of a small city. You simply survive by blending in and keeping your head down. Or maybe you go to a smaller church and have become adept at putting on a facade to mask your problems. Or some of you may have done what my wife and I did - drifted away from church altogether. If this isyour marriage, stop hiding. Seek wise counsel. Don't remain anonymous. If you see good friends struggling in their marriages, talk about it with them. Ask them how their relationship is going.
And don't settle for "hallway good".