Since turning a year older last November, a word that God impressed in my heart was “fortitude.” It didn’t make sense at first. Or maybe its because I’m in my 40’s. By definition, it’s about having courage in pain and adversity. I realized that it’s a quality we all need to succeed at anything, including marriage.

Now that my wife and I have been married for 7 years, it has dawned on us the significance of that word. That’s because the reality of marriage is…it’s not a bed of roses. When people say they have a happy marriage, you can sense the sincerity of that in some. But to most, it’s like an Instagram post—where you tell the world you are happy, but behind the scenes you’re depressed.

Couples will fall apart because of many issues be it financial, emotional, mental and so on. But it’s your spiritual lives anchored on God’s love that should keep it strong.

Then there’s this term called the “7-year itch.” It’s a psychological manifestation of couples going through dissatisfaction, stagnation and decline in their relationship. It leads to a crossroad when they ask themselves “Is this worth it?” They see each other’s cracks, flaws and imperfections in full color. Then they get so discouraged because after seven years (or more), their expectations were unmet and the fairytale ends. You start hearing phrases like—

  • “He’s not romantic anymore,”
  • “She’s so disrespectful,”
  • “He doesn’t have time for me”
  • “She’s such a nagger”
  • “He’ so lazy and slow…”
  • “She’s no longer attractive…”

When there’s dissatisfaction, there’s emptiness and that longing wants to be filled. When your spouse is incapable to meet it, that’s when one or both decide to be apathetic, fight frequently, cheat, quit or eventually separate. Some choose to stay “for the sake of the kids” but have lost their love for each other.

When the flames are starting to die down, this is where couples need “fortitude.” You will need it when one gets sick, when your husband gets laid off, when finances are hard, when business collapses, when your children fail and when temptations aimed at both of you are trying to break you up.

Adrian and Shelly Ding

Getting married is a choice. Staying married and fulfilling your vows is not only a choice, but a commitment. A marriage was designed to honor each other not only during the best moments, but it’s greatly tested at its worst. Because falling in love is easy, but staying in love, even if you are unloved or don’t feel like loving, IS true love. That’s commitment.

It’s either one stays and keeps the flame or both decide to shut it down and attempt to find love somewhere else. This is why a love relationship is like 2 candles. When your husband is down, it’s the wife who lights it up. And when she’s at her lowest, it’s at that point the husband ought to keep the flame alive. But eventually, your candles will die down. When this happens, you need the real source of light, the One Who is able to keep that fire burning – God Himself.

We are so fortunate that over the last 7 years, through many joys and tears, He was our Source, our Centerpiece and the Lover of our souls. I’ve lost count of the many battles Shelley and I had faced, but I sure am glad that He is before us, beside us and behind us. It was fortitude that kept us stronger than ever. And it is fortitude that will make this relationship last forever.

Couples will fall apart because of many issues be it financial, emotional, mental and so on. But it’s your spiritual lives anchored on God’s love that should keep it strong.

I guess it’s really true. Most likely couples end up getting married because of compatibility. But that will fade. Instead, couples ought to think that they are complementary to each other – what she lacks, you fill. And what he has not, you provide.

Don’t give up on your marriage. Fight for it! Your husband might be a jerk or your wife might have an acidic tongue, and its tempting to leave, but finding another partner won’t fulfill you. You’ll hurt your children. Get help. But more than anyone else, turn to God and you won’t regret it.

Guard your marriage like a fort. And have an attitude of devotion and determination. Face the challenges together. It’ll make you stronger. That’s fortitude!
#as1

Husband, Dad, Corporate Trainer, Motivational Speaker, Inspirational Writer and Catalyst of Change.

Founder/Lead Trainer at The Academy for Extraordinary Teens Founder, Chief Empowering Officer at Maximum Impact Philippines.

View more of Adrian’s articles HERE.

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