I hope I did not lose too many readers after reading the title. Trust me; I know if you are in marital crisis at the moment, there is no part of you that is “thankful.” The pain can be so deep and all consuming, it is hard to ever imagine a time or place in your life that you would be thankful. It more likely that you are wishing it had never happen, and definitely hoping it will never happen again.
The cold hard truth is couples who come into my office in crisis often make improvements in their relationships faster and with more passion then couples who come in who are not in acute crisis. Do not get me wrong, plenty of couples who come into my office that are not in crisis do great work and are very happy when they leave. Some couples who come into my office in crisis do not make much progress at all. But the fact of the matter is pain creates motivation! People do not make change in their life (especially major change) unless they are uncomfortable with where they are. Alcoholics generally do not get sober unless they have painful life consequences, people often do not lose weight until they start having health issues or feel pain, and the same is true in relationships. Pain motivates people to dig into their own issues to improve their relationship.
Marriages have issues before the crisis ever occurred. The crisis could never occur and the issues will always be there. So maybe the marriage does not cause you a big burst of overwhelming pain, but small bits of pain throughout the relationship. If the issues are worked on the marriage can feel way better than ever before. Sometimes the crisis is just what the marriage needs to work through the issues. It is painful, but the results can be amazing. It can be hard to understand if you have never experienced it, but couples can actually be happier after the crisis. The crisis often pushes them to work on what they have needed to work on for so long. The pain of it all creates motivation and a sense of urgency.
No one ever plans a crisis. No one ever sits around and hopes that an addiction or affair will plague their relationship. But, I hope if that is where your relationship is that reading this blog has only increased your sense of urgency. It was not your plan, but use it to your advantage. Get out there and make it better today. You never know, there is a good chance your relationship will be better than it ever was before.