the marriage fight

I’m watching The Office. Jim and Pam are in marriage counseling. OH THE HORROR!

I know – it’s a television show – it’s NOT real. Just remember that I know that.

Pam was engaged. To a jerk. She wasn’t happy. She met Jim at work. They became close friends. They fell in love. Jim asked her to choose him. She said no. Jim left. Pam called off the wedding. Jim started dating someone else. But we all knew they were meant to be. They FINALLY got together. They got married. Had two babies. Jim got a new job. His focus changed. Pam may have gotten a little too close to a friend – a guy friend. They are asking the hard questions to other people – not each other.

Why would the writers take it down this road? This can’t happen to Jim and Pam. They have the perfect relationship.

Because it happens. To the best of us.

We lose sight of what it means to be married. What it means to actually put someone else ahead of our own needs and wants. We get selfish. We start to confide in someone else. We start to put more value in their opinion than our spouse’s. We start to assume.

And then it all comes out. We find out that we’ve lied to each other. We’ve lied to ourselves. We’ve become someone we don’t recognize. We’ve said things that we regret. We’ve asked each other questions that we never thought we would. We don’t know how to trust each other.

Because it happens. To the best of us.

Because we aren’t the best. Because we are human. Because we are sinful.

Because we need Jesus more than we need each other. And sometimes crappy stuff has to happen for us to realize that.

Jim and Pam can make it. They need to ask each other the hard questions. They need to cry. They need to say I’m sorry. They need to forgive. They need to get on the same page.

Sacrifices had to be made. An aspect of my job. A relationship with a friend. The reliance on a FACEBOOK account. Time. Sleep. Priorities.

It was hard. Really truly very hard. We talked. We cried. We yelled. We forgave. We learned to trust again. We re-evaluated our marriage. What it meant to be in this. Together. What the new rules had to be and living within those boundaries.

A year ago – I didn’t know what would happen. I wasn’t sure where we would be today. Seriously.

We turned to Jesus. And he helped us turn to each other and stay there. We’re on the same page. We’ve made sacrifices. We are in an awesome place – a place I didn’t think could exist. It was hard. Because life is hard. But so worth it.

While we didn’t turn to marriage counseling – we would have. If you’re reading this and you’re struggling with your spouse – no matter what the issue is – it’s not going to just go away. I’m willing to bet it will only get worse. Confront the issue. Let your feelings be heard – not pushed aside. Remember that your marriage is more important than any friendship. Remember that you are in this together. Remember why you got married in the first place. Remember why you fell in love. Go there. Stay there.

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happens to the best of us (he said)

Posted By on Apr 13, 2013

I’ve been a huge fan of The Office ever since we started watching several years ago. It’s hit or miss anymore, especially since Michael left, but I can’t give up on it now.

This season they’ve introduced a new story line where Jim takes a job in Philadelphia for a sports marketing company. Jim took the job without his wife, Pam, knowing. Then he invested a large chunk of change in the startup. Finally he starts commuting between Scranton and Philadelphia, and at this point in the season he seems to be in Philadelphia more often than not.

Along the way, as one would expect, tensions grow. To the point where Jim gets a bit frustrated and “nasty”, if you will, with Pam during several exchanges.

And then it happened. All of a sudden it becomes somewhat clear that one of the cameramen working on the documentary has a thing for Pam.  He saves her from an enraged warehouse employee, offers a shoulder to cry on after a rough conversation with Jim, etc.

I HATE, HATE, HATED this storyline at first. I was afraid they were ruining one of the best story arcs of the entire series. If they messed with Jim and Pam, I was not going to be a happy camper!

Truth is, this story, and stories like it, are all too familiar in our society. It happens to the best of us. I know.

Last year was a rough year for us. We had a 1-year old who was <strong>not</strong> sleeping well, which basically turned us into parent zombies, had just gone through the first of 2 miscarriages of the year and were dealing with settling into a new church after a rough experience. Needless to say, things were stressful.

I can identify with the Jim/Pam arc in that I lost sight of what was important in my life. I started to value other people’s opinions and advice more than Danielle’s, who was (in my mind) kind of driving me bonkers and not really paying attention to me, what with a little guy to take care of and a business to run.

I became a person, that, looking back, I’m fairly ashamed of. I was downright nasty to Danielle at times, lied to her on several occasions and our relationship took a back seat to other pursuits.

I hope Jim and Pam’s story plays out the way ours has. We had some difficult talks. We yelled. We cried. We worked through our hurts. We did the hard work to make things work.

I’m happy to say I don’t even recognize that person from a year ago. Our relationship has improved more than I thought possible at the time. In a way I’m almost glad this happened, because our relationship is stronger now than it’s ever been.

If you’re having struggles in your relationship, you’re certainly not alone, and you’re not a failure. Relationships are hard. Marriage is hard. Perhaps harder than any other relationship you’ll ever experience.

If you need help – get it! Yes, marriage is hard. It’s messy at times. It’s draining, but it is most definitely worth fighting for.

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