“Why Did I Get Married?”

Woman And Man

My husband and I are very different. I like to vacation at the beach, while he likes camping in the mountains. He is a big meat eater, and I am a vegetarian. He loves to watch television, and I love to read. He is very outgoing, and I am quite an introvert. After one year of marriage I feel worn out and not sure I want to spend another year in this very difficult marriage. I welcome your advice. —Veronica—Tampa, Florida

 

Thank you for your very brave and direct question. Your situation is far from unique. Our experience is that most married couples we have spoken to during the early stages of their relationship tell us how much they have in common, and can’t imagine being with anyone else. Three months into marriage, however, a significant number of these couples say they have so little in common they are not sure why they married their spouse.
The marriage literature confirms what we know from anecdotal experience from working with many premarital and post marital couples. Before marriage, couples are attracted to each other’s differences, and after marriage, couples are repelled by the very traits they were attracted to when they first met.
Marriage scholars suggest that when people first meet and find each other attractive, the strong emotional experience is like a literal high. Hormones such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which are neurotransmitters, produced by the human body, get dumped into the limbic system of the brain during this “attraction” moment. People feel like they are having a real high. It is this euphoric feeling that often blinds individuals to the differences they have with the person they have “fallen in love with.” It allows them to feel that their love can conquer any obstacle in their way.
Unfortunately, the literal high produced by these neurotransmitters is not sustainable. And just as the high produced by illegal drugs tends to wear off, this euphoric feeling also tends to wane when confronted by the realities of daily life. Having the responsibility of paying bills, the dirty dishes in the sink, and mowing the lawn with another person, usually makes people who are “in love” confront the stark reality. Life is much more serious than simply having a party.
This moment of reality we call the “what was I thinking stage” opens the eyes of married people. They can clearly see the differences between them and their respective partners. To be sure, if allowed to run its course, this stage of marriage can become a real curse, unless you change your self-talk with the help of professional coaching.
We believe you are experiencing this very stage right now. However, if you are willing, you can turn things around by taking a walk down memory lane, and reminding yourself of all the reasons you fell in love with your spouse.
Once you examine the good traits in your spouse that factored into your decision to marry him, you may feel good about your marriage again. You may realize that reasonable people can have different likes and dislikes, and still enjoy spending time together. If you tell yourself you want to try enjoying camping in the mountains, you just might. Human beings are not static. We can be dynamic in our likes and dislikes, and choose to try something we thought we would never do.
As a vegetarian you may never be interested in eating meat, nor is there any reason for you to do so just because your husband does. The point is, nevertheless, that people with different tastes can have great relationships if they choose to live with those differences. They can learn to  manage them, especially if the differences are not based on moral values that are non-negotiable.
You must also keep in mind, if you are a Christian, that God is clear about His expectations of marriage, and that it should not be dissolved except for sexual immorality (Matthew 19:3-10).
Please keep in touch and let us know how things work out once you implement what we have suggested. You can also be assured that you and your husband will remain in our prayers. We encourage you to trust God and plan to remain faithful to His Word.
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