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How Do
Marriage Problems Even Start?

Marriage problems creep up slowly. This article may help you cut them off at the pass!

How do you get from thinking they’re the best thing since sliced bread to... basically, wanting them dead?

Well, there’s a lot of paths we can take to get us from point A to point B. Right now, I’m going to focus on a pretty common path that is so smooth and direct, we just glide right along. It’s a sort of auto pilot to marriage trouble.

Let me give you a metaphor. As you read it, see if you can figure out how it relates to a relationship (maybe yours) heading down the path to marriage problems.

Object of Affection

One day you go out window shopping. You often do this just to pass the time. You aren’t looking for anything in particular. But this day while you are passing by this little shop, you see a table that catches your eye. You decide to go in to get a better look.

As you examine the table you find it to be quite beautiful. You love the grain, even its imperfections. You call them "character".

A good, sturdy table that proves real craftsmanship – it would last a lifetime!

It is very expensive. You think hard about the cost. Finally, you decide it’s worth it - every penny of it! And so, you buy it.

You put the table in the living room, making it the centerpiece. You take special care to keep it clean and shiny.

You don’t want to scratch it, so you go very gently through the room when carrying sharp objects.

You always use a coaster for your drink. And never would you put your feet up on it!

Oh... that table.

Then one day you really feel like relaxing. It occurs to you that it truly wouldn’t hurt the table to put your feet up. After all, your shoes are off.

Next, you find yourself with a drink in your hand, but no coaster. You don’t feel that it's really all that important to get up off the couch to go get one - you’re tired. So you put it on the table without one. No biggie. You can polish it up later.

The more comfortable you become with your table, the less careful you are. After a few times of putting your drink down without using a coaster, the guilt lessens. Eventually, you forget that there was ever a need for one in the first place.

It's not too long until you notice the table - it's not looking so great. You give it a quick wipe to spruce it up.

Hmm - it doesn’t shine the way it used to. There are lots of little circular stains of all over it.

Oh well. It still functions as a table, and over all, it’s in pretty good shape.

Ouch! That was my pinky toe!
Why is it in the middle of the room anyway?

The condition of the table is now the farthest thing from your mind. You plop your feet up, shoes or not. You pile things up on it that you intend to look at later. You bump it, scratch it, and stub your toe on it because in your haste, you don't even see it anymore.

At some point in time it occurs to you that the table is getting quite shabby looking - in fact, down right ugly! It certainly does not complement the decor of your home! To polish it now is futile. You can’t just polish away this type of damage.

And to think, you used to love that table! It's sure no good anymore.

It’s clear. The table has come to the end of the road. It must go.

Yeah, yeah
It's a story about marriage problems.

So you get the "symbolic" picture. But what does it really mean?

Is there anything to learn from an odd tale about the purchase of a table? Or was it just a fancy way of showing some stages of a relationship that ends up with marriage problems and eventual divorce?

Let's take a closer look...

It starts out with you, single and minding your own business, when you meet this terrific... table. In this lovey-dovey stage you're very thoughtful and focused.

Next, you get all comfy-cozy, and you’re able to think about something other than...well, that table!

No need to watch every little thing you say or do, they can take it. If your table seems a little hurt or moody by what you’ve said, you’ll say you’re sorry and move on.

Eventually, you don’t even notice that you’re saying anything that might be considered a little harsh. Of course, you wouldn’t talk this way to an acquaintance or even a friend, but come on, this is your table! Besides, they don’t seem to mind - that much. Any way, who doesn't have some marriage problems?

But all these nicks, dings, scratches, and slashes add up. Your table (and your marriage) looks beat-up and ugly. You think, Sheesh! This isn’t the table I married!

I guess you’ve figured out that the “sharp objects” referred to in the metaphor is your tongue. The tongue (our words) is a major reason for most (if not all) marriage problems. So, I have a new saying for you:

Never run with a sharp tongue –or scissors.

Think about it...

Now, I want you to scroll back up to the beginning of the metaphor (starting with Object of Affection) and read only the bold words in each section. Take your time. I’ll wait.

Back already? Okay, so which section do you and your marriage fit best? In which section do you want your marriage?

Even if you find yourself with full-blown marriage problems you can always roll up your sleeves, sand down, and refinish the table - if you have the gumption. It might turn out pretty nice.

You could start by making your spouse your "object of affection", and for goodness sake, use a coaster! - would ya?

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