The turning point in marriage is almost always the same: someone makes a conscious decision to change to value and protect their marriage, or someone makes a conscious decision to forsake those values.
It’s all about attitude.
Keith and I are just finished speaking at a FamilyLife Weekend Getaway in Jasper, Alberta.
For those of you who don’t know the area, it’s nestled in the mountains and dotted with glacier fed lakes (I believe) which have such a high mineral content the water is bright green and little algae grows, so it’s crystal clear. And it tends to be smooth as glass, so it looks like a giant mirror. It’s breathtaking.
We spoke this weekend with Ryan and Jenn Walter–such a great couple who were sharing their stories of putting marriage first even in the midst of a busy NHL career (Ryan played hockey for the Canadiens, the Canucks, and in Washington (what’s that team again?). Keith got a picture of his Stanley Cup ring to show his brothers.
Most of the weekend is taken up by talks, but throughout the talks we have little mini-projects the couples can do together–something to talk about for 3-5 minutes to help them start to “own” the material. And we have bigger projects interspersed between the talks, because we firmly believe that people make changes not because they hear something great, but because they actually start to talk about the material and own it.
So we don’t get a ton of time to speak to the couples individually (and we’re not there to counsel anyway; that wouldn’t be possible in a short weekend). But still, you learn a lot of stories. The couple going through financial hardships, miscarriages, or cancer; there are always some struggling with the aftereffects of infidelity or porn. And then there are those who are just there for a check-up, to make sure everything is on good footing. I love that. I think if more couples went when things were good, then there would be fewer crises!
But in sharing, we always talk about what the turning points in our marriage were. Some of those turning points were big–I share in 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage that for the first few years of our marriage sex was just plain difficult. It hurt and it was awkward and I didn’t know why he wanted it so much and I felt totally cheated. It was only when my attitude changed, and I realized that if God made sex to be this great, then I had better figure it out, because why would I want to miss out on that? And I stopped blaming Keith and started trying to do what I could.
Related Post: How Thoughts Can Change a Marriage
And some of our turning points weren’t as huge, but were still important. Like when we realized that Keith’s job and my job weren’t working together. He was working in a different city, and we weren’t seeing each other enough, and even though we both loved our jobs, we couldn’t go on like that. So he made the most amazing sacrifice and went part-time so that we could be on the road together. And he works mostly in our home town now. But we kept our eyes on what was most important.
Related Post: Why We Grew Apart
Then, of course, there was the conscious decision to cling to each other after our son died. We had already lost him; we didn’t want to lose each other, too.
We end the weekend showing this video. It really packs an emotional punch, and I think it’s because as we watch it, we realize that’s what we want: to know that we made it; that we’re still together after all of those years; that we have all of these memories together, and we’ve built something beautiful.
And once you know that’s what you’re aiming for, then it’s easier to ask the question: is the road that we’re on now actually going to get us there? Or do we need a turning point?
I was thinking of all of the turning points in my marriage, and I thought today, instead of posting a reader question, I would ask you all one:
What was the big turning point in your marriage? Was there a time that you knew you needed to make a change in order to achieve that oneness that you really wanted?
I know so many of you read this blog, but don’t comment. That’s perfectly okay; I love you being here! But I want to invite people specifically to comment today. It’s often hearing people’s stories that is so encouraging. It’s knowing that other people have walked through this, but they have come out on the other side. Can you share your story today? Let’s encourage each other!