Love is a gift. It must be freely given. If one spouse is not completely free to make the decision to leave then they can also not make the decision to stay. To stay and work through any problem that may arise is love! To say, “I’m here for you, even though I’m hurt. I’ll wait for you. I’ll work on this with you. I will help you through it.” This what you promised your spouse the day you made your vows. It was a deep commitment made with love and trusted by the other that you would uphold it through the duration of the marriage. For better or for worse.
The option to be free to leave the relationship must be granted or love cannot be given. There is not begging, nagging, pleading or convincing that can replace this fundamental need to bond a marriage. Once one spouse says they are not sure if they can hold true to the promise that they made it’s time to give them the space they will need to choose. There is complete truth in that it does take two to make a marriage work. When one person withholds their commitment, they are withholding love. The other spouse will only be able to hold on for so long. This is a crucial moment that will either make or break a relationship.
Without the gift of love, a marriage will wither and die. There can never be a time where you have the luxury to decide “I don’t feel like working on the marriage right now.” Contributions to a marriage either move forward or backwards. There is no stand still. There is no pause button. There is no time–outs or breaks. With every action and with every word you are either damaging your marriage or building and making it stronger. There is no in between.
When “taking a break” is necessary in a marriage, it is designed to be a forward moving process. When every communication becomes too hostile to endure many couples opt for separation. If this separation is treated as a true “break” from each other, the marriage will fail. If however it is treated as a self-improvement retreat where progress on yourself is being made that is when it can benefit the marriage.
One spouse may feel “well I can’t make the decision to love until I know I’m loved first.” The other spouse may feel “I’m too afraid to be alone so I need to try harder and love them so they won’t leave.” Both concepts are nonsense and will ensure the destruction of the marriage. These concepts may be amplified in a second marriage! The fear of the hurt you endured during your divorce may prevent you from giving and letting your spouse give to you. You are stronger than you know!
Love is a gift. It is given without restraint, without reservation and without conditions. Love is everlasting and endures to the end.