BY CHRISTINE SCHULTZ
Marriage can be beautiful, but it’s tough. Yeah, romance is nice – but when real-life challenges arrive, too few couples survive. So, what’s the key to saving your marriage?
“Friendship,” says Kayla Tucker Adams, an author and popular speaker on marital restoration. “Couples need to be friends from the beginning. They need to enjoy each other’s company. They should like hanging out together, talking about their dreams, sharing their challenges, and being emotionally intimate with each other. A solid friendship helps a marriage thrive and survive. Without it, it will be tough to deal with the challenges that will come.”
That advice comes from a woman who divorced her husband, then remarried him four years later. “My husband and I were married for nine years before we had our only child, Brooklyn. She was born sixteen weeks premature, and spent five weeks in the NICU [Neonatal Intensive Care Unit]. During that time, my husband and I were constantly at the hospital. I remember the doctors telling us, ‘Be sure to make time for your marriage. Don’t put everything into being at the hospital, because there’s a very high divorce rate among people who have babies in the NICU.’ My husband and I laughed about it, because we didn’t think that could happen to us,” Kayla reflects.
But it happened. While coping with their stressful situation, and taking care of their premature baby around-the-clock (with a heart monitor, a pulse oximeter, oxygen, and several therapists), Kayla’s husband had an affair.
“People were concerned about me, because I was sick. After giving birth, I spent 3 1⁄2 weeks in the hospital – flat on my back. I was on complete bed rest. So our friends and family were concerned about me, and they were concerned about our daughter. But no one gave my husband the emotional support that he needed,” Kayla confides. “People [tend to] think that men are always okay. Looking back on our situation, I would advise women to pay attention to what their husbands need. Make sure that he’s getting the emotional support that he needs. And if it’s something that you can’t give to him, reach out to your pastor, or mentors, or other male- figures, or friends who can help.”