The day you get married, you make a public commitment. You vow to be true to him and he vows to do the same for you. It is a commitment to the other, to be open, honest, to care, to love, to heal, to become one.

Broken Promises

What happens then, when the promises that you made to each other are broken, is the tragedy of working to endure, working to carry on a burden and to maintain the promises you made on day one. To uphold what was said, that is, “I will be true to you”.

Tragedy strikes within these moments. It lies in the fact that although the promise is broken, the marital bond is not. The written and spoken vows of a married couple don’t break as easily. The marriage is still intact, still on the mantle, in your hearts and within the blessings that God bestowed on it. Matrimony is still somewhat whole.

The Tragedy 

The tragedy of marriage is such that, when one breaks the promise, the other has to question, “What is it that I need to do? How is it that I need to move forward? At which point do I say my marriage is no longer ok?”

“There is a deviation of what we promised one another and I don’t know how to continue to walk in the light of the commitment I made when the vow has not be kept.”

Yet this is the misfortune of continuing to hold on and work hard to remain within the framework that was promised. The hope being that an apology, an ‘I will do better, I will repair what I have broken, I will heal what I have hurt’, is repentantly forthcoming.

The hope is for a heartfelt apology and full circle healing to happen, but the tragedy is when the promise is broken a second, a third, a fourth time. How then, do you remain in a life long journey with someone, when you said ‘I do’, when you said ‘I will’, when you said ‘you are’, when you said ‘till death?’

How do you maintain sanity and continue to live with the same person who repeatedly does what they said they wouldn’t. How? How can you build a fortress when the walls have gotten so many cracks and are in danger of caving in? Wars keep threatening to break and even though some battles are won, it’s never quite over.

The tragedy of marriage in despair!

Your personal evolution

Like all difficult times, this too has its positive and negative outcomes. The light is in growing to understand yourself day by day, building confidence in the things you want and those you don’t. Pinpointing what makes you happy, what makes you sad and the challenges you need to work through. 

It is in beginning to realize your views on marriage are unique and yet because of the history of marriage, have been taught to see through the eyes of others.

When you start to evolve and embrace your strengths and flaws, you can open up to discerning your path if you look with courage. You can simply say, “Lord this is where I stand and I need your guidance on how or if I can continue to endure.”

It is so much harder to see clearly because of the overt and unconscious promises you made to yourself. The kind that said, 

‘I made a promise to not break a home, because my children need stability’. 

‘I don’t want to disappoint my parents, so I must endure’. 

‘I made a promise not to take abuse of any kind in my own home, how do I endure?’

‘I made a promise to work together, to build together and yet I keep losing out because he cannot keep a promise with his finances. How do I endure?’

‘I made a promise knowing every marriage has struggles, anticipating when mine show up, to be able to handle them with courage and to go through the motions in order to keep our commitment, but how do I hold on?’

‘I made a commitment to my parents, to God, to myself, to him, the children and the community. How do I endure?’ 

These are the narratives that strengthen the despair.

Only You Can Navigate Through

It is a tragedy that only you can navigate. Though marriage is an institution with millions of other couples walking alongside you, you are the one within the sanctity of the two people that inhabit it within your home, having this unique experience.

Thinking, rethinking, reframing the ideals you once held true. Churning ideas of the selfishness of it all, of considering many alternatives to the state of affairs. 

It is a lonely and challenging frontier. A kind of double sided mirror which on one side shows you are still married within the institution, but broken on the other. What matters however, is looking at the woman in the mirror with kindness, compassion and a silent knowing that she is at peace because she is doing her best and for today is free in the choices she has made.

The tragedy of marriage in despair!

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