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An 'Oh, Wow!' Insight on Marriage

After one of my messages, a man told me about the turning point in his marriage relationship.
By Shaunti Feldhahn

You know how every now and then you hear a few words or phrases that are so simple, but so profound? Let me take you behind the scenes to a recent speaking engagement, where I heard something that really had an impact on me—not just as a researcher, but as a person.

I was speaking at a dinner for folks who work with married couples at a particular church. About 200 small group leaders, counselors, and other marriage mentors gathered to enjoy some amazing musicians and a fun game show put on by the pastor and his wife, and then I talked about some of my research about marriage.

I described some encouraging research that shows there is so much more hope for marriage than we have previously thought. (For example, did you know that the "50 percent divorce rate" is a myth? Just FYI.) I spent some time sharing data that these leaders could use to encourage their people to go “all in” in their marriages and not hold back—the temptation to protect yourself in marriage will actually build a wall that creates the very problems you're trying to avoid.

After the talk I was chatting with these marriage leaders, and one man quietly came over and said, “I need to share a story.” Little did I know that what this man was about to tell me would be one of the most profound things I have heard all year …

“Five years ago, our marriage was disintegrating,” he said. “I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. My wife felt like I didn’t care about her. We were constantly at odds, with one foot mentally out the door. And suddenly, one day, I stopped.  I told her, ‘There are two types of couples in this world. Those who want to work everything out before they commit, and those who want to commit to working everything out. Which do you want to be?’”

I was practically speechless—which, if you know me, is quite a feat. I knew I was hearing something that took the “don't hold back in marriage” message to a whole new level.

I stammered, “That is an amazing insight!”

He nodded. “Yes, but not from me. I felt like God just gave it to me. And that is when everything changed. Because with the first approach, a marriage will never make it. You feel like with one mess up, you could be done. But we decided we would commit to working everything out somehow. No matter what. And that is why we are now here today, with a great marriage, leading a small group of other married couples.”

I scrambled for a pen to write down these three simple sentences that encapsulated the heart behind all of the data in my 45-minute talk. 

There are two types of couples in this world. Those who want to work everything out before they commit, and those who want to commit to working everything out.

Which do you want to be?


Copyright © 2015 by Shaunti Feldhahn. Used with permission. This article originally appeared on MomLife Today®.

Meet the Author: Shaunti Feldhahn

Shaunti Feldhahn began her career as an analyst on Wall Street and today is a bestselling author, speaker, and nationally-syndicated newspaper columnist.  Her recent bestsellers have sold more than two  million copies and have been translated into 20 different languages.  The books in her popular “Only” series, including For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men, and For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women, For Parents Only and For Young Women Only (both of which were co-authored with youth speaker Lisa Rice), and For Young Men Only (co-authored with husband Jeff Feldhahn and Eric Rice, husband to Lisa Rice) have led to great life-change—and plenty of fascinating conversation—for men, women, parents and teens around the country. She has also authored two true-to-life spiritual thrillers. 

One reason Shaunti’s books, talks and columns have hit such a nerve is that she applies her background as an analyst in a whole new way.  She holds a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s in government and economics from The College of William & Mary.   Prior to becoming an author, she worked in the financial arena on Capitol Hill and later on Wall Street, analyzing the Japanese financial crisis for the highest level decision makers of the Federal Reserve System.  She now applies that same skill set to investigating eye-opening truths that many of us tend to miss.  (For example, what women don’t ‘get’ about men!) 

As a popular national speaker and broadcaster, Shaunti travels extensively and has shared her findings with millions of people through conferences, television, the internet, and radio. She has appeared on such diverse media outlets as Fox News, PBS, TNT, Soap Talk, The Alan Colmes Show, Focus on the Family, and FamilyLife Today.

Shaunti and her husband Jeff, with whom she coauthored For Men Only, are active leaders in their Atlanta-area church and, as parents of young children, enjoy every minute of living at warp speed.  They have become quite good at juggling soccer games, karate lessons, Jeff’s business (software company World2one), and family speaking trips with the whole traveling circus in tow.   As their favorite shirts put it, “Life is good.”



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