Two years later and British Petroleum (BP) is still cleaning up from one of the biggest oil spills in the history of the United States. Eleven workers died and many animals suffered. Part of the problem was that they couldn’t figure out for months ho

w to plug the leak.

Leaks of proportional sizes are distressing and can occur in your marriage, too, giving you a sinking feeling. Is something brewing in your relationship that is steeped in mire? Is it difficult to stop the flow of problems from seeping out and taking over your life? If you answered yes, just know you are not alone. Marriages have experienced explosions of epic proportions for decades, and despite the statistics you might hear about divorce rates, many have survived! What people often fail to recognize is that while the divorce rate may hover at or just below 50%, just as many people or more are staying married for life. They are working through the issues, getting past the sludge that threatens to contaminate their relationships, and cleaning up the surrounding areas of their life that influence their marriage.

Lisa and Jim* were only married three years when Jim dropped the bomb that he had been unfaithful in their marriage. Lisa was devastated, of course, and initially felt that Jim should move out. She could barely look at him, let alone think about forgiving or living with him. By any stretch of the imagination, Lisa couldn’t fathom ever trusting Jim again. The trouble spread to every area of their relationship. It became

overwhelming to think they could ever clean up this disaster and remain married, but through intense counseling, time, patience, courage and a host of other admirable traits, they were able to emerge victorious. A model of perseverance and commitment.

With the assistance of a counselor, they developed a preventative maintenance plan to help avoid this same type of problem in the future. This plan includes regular date nights, boundaries with friends of the opposite sex, exchange of computer passwords, and a host of other tools that will encourage them to stay married for life.

Marriage is work. It shouldn’t be a knock-down, drag-out battle every minute of every day, but it will not be successful without effort. You may have weeks or months where you don’t feel totally connected or in sync, but with time and experience you’ll learn how to ride out the ups and downs of relationship living.

If you are a newlywed, it’s probably hard to imagine that your marriage will be anything but blissful. That’s cuz you’re still mooning over your honey (hence the honeymoon stage)! Don’t worry, while that feeling can still continue throughout your marriage, there is a point when the moon might hide behind the clouds. That’s when you realize a marriage doesn’t just happen.

A successful marriage happens because you see how explosions occur and learn to deal with the aftermath. You plug up the leaks and seal the openings where potential danger exists so that your marriage lasts for a lifetime.

*Names have been changed.