When it comes to your emotions, there’s a big difference between being in pain and true suffering. What’s the difference? And how does this relate to your marriage?
Let me illustrate with a story.
There once was a man who was sentenced to 25 years of backbreaking labor. His wrists were tied to the handle of a huge wheel that was inlaid in the wall. His job was to turn the wheel 10 hours a day.
For years, day in and day out, the prisoner would wonder what he was doing with this wheel. What was the meaning of his work? What was on the other side of this wall? Was he grinding grain? Pulling up water? Moving some sort of conveyor belt?
For 25 years he contemplated the meaning of his work, and for 25 years he spun that wheel. It was grueling, but he survived.
When his sentence was complete he was released from prison. The first thing he did was run to the other side of the wall to see what he had been doing all this time.
What did he see?
There was nothing attached to the wheel. For 25 years, 10 hours a day, he was spinning a wheel for absolutely no purpose. When the man realized his true sentence, he collapsed and died.
The prisoner was able to survive 25 years of backbreaking labor, but when he realized that it was all for nothing, he couldn’t survive for another moment.
So what’s the difference between pain and suffering?
Pain has a purpose.
Suffering is true torture because it has no meaning.
Pain is bearable. Suffering for no reason is devastating.
Ask any woman about child labor. How was it? Would you do it again? Most women will answer: It was painful, but I didn’t suffer. I would do it again.
This is the key to surviving marital problems and making it through to a new love and peace with your spouse.
If you think there’s no purpose to your emotional hurt, you’ll just want out. You’ll run from your kids, your responsibility, your vows…you’ll run from it all just to get relief from an unbearable suffering.
But if you can come to understand why you’re in this situation, then you’ll succeed to make it through like a woman in child labor.
Why is this happening to you? What are you supposed to be learning from all of this? Can you see how your marital problems are really an opportunity for you and your spouse?
I remember when my wife and I were going through what seemed to be unbearable emotional pain as a result of the loss of our 3 children and our marriage problems. But now I see it all differently. Yes, we were in pain, but we didn’t suffer. And although I might script things differently if I were God, my wife and I now feel a sense of peace and happiness that we wouldn’t trade for anything. Yes, we lost a lot, but we gained each other and forged a marriage that has become a wellspring of joy in our life.
Since those painful times, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to lead thousands of people who are suffering in their marriage to a new peace and happiness with their spouse. I’ve found a way to do it even with the most difficult and unusual situations.
For all of these people, the beginning of that process was the Marriage Fitness Program. You can read about their stories here.
A little over a year ago I thought my marriage was over. She was moving out. Thank you Mort for giving me the tools that I needed to save my marriage. One year later and we are happier than ever and back together.