I Don’t Want a Divorce

How Values Can Make or Break Your Marriage

Author: Jeff Anderson

“How do I save my marriage?” Or maybe “how do I keep my marriage from getting to a place where it needs to be saved?” Or better still, “how do I know I’m marrying the right person?” All are very good questions. All have similar answers.

When you were first dating, things were easy. Laughing together was easy. You both saw the world in the same way. It was like God meant for you to be together. Why was it like that then and how can it change?

As you look at your values, you might find the answer. Honesty, integrity, family, friends, faith, truth, eating healthy, monogamy, love of the outdoors, reading, personal growth, reading, investing or saving – they might all be part of a value system and the list is as endless as it is personal. How much of your personal value system did you see in your spouse when you first started dating? How much did you see when you first got married?

Many people enjoy the endorphin thrust that comes with a new relationship. It makes the connection feel like it was meant to be; like it was designed by a higher power. But what about those Values? Does your partner share yours? If not, then a short lived, though perhaps exciting relationship might be what you experience.

As time goes by and those principles come to the surface, are you seeing a similar pattern of values in your spouse (or future spouse)? If you have spent the time to notice and pay close attention, then you should know. There are always people out there who will appear to be one way when they are actually another. When you spend the time date, you decrease the dangers of choosing to spend a life with an imposter (unless, of course, that’s what you want).

So let’s imagine that you’ve met someone, looked at their beliefs, and decided to marry. Is that it? Certainly not. The things which are important today might be replaced by other things a few years from now. The most profound example is children, but certainly not the only example.

People tend to change, as do their values. If the husband is changing in one direction and the wife in another, ultimately they may find themselves sleeping in a bed with a stranger.

That’s where constant, practiced and trusting communication comes in. It is vital to the success of any relationship. As spouses talk every day, as they talk about the trivial and the meaningful, as they talk because they are the best of friends, they share their thoughts and feelings. When values begin to shift, they shift inside of the relationship and they shift together. A marriage which is in trouble is most often starved of communication. At that point, big compromises to re-connect with your spouse’s values may be required to save the marriage. A marriage which is marked by communication will likely also be characterized by imperceptibly small compromises made along the road better traveled together.