If something is not working properly it’s easier to get rid of it and get a new one than to try fixing it. How convenient. But how tragic for families!
It seems many couples have exchanged “till death do us part” for “till debt do us part.” Surveys show poor communication leads the list as to why relationships fail and it’s not like on a TV sitcom. Real-life divorce is often painful and tragic, resulting in emotional scars that may never fully heal as children become innocent casualties.
As author Margaret Atwood said, “A divorce is like an amputation; you survive, but there is less of you.” Rabbi M. Gary Neuman in his book “Emotional Infidelity: How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage,” said, “The second you decide to divorce, you are giving up control over your child. You are also giving up control over your finances, and perhaps even where you will live.
“You may resolve your issues in mediation, but maybe not. Ultimately, a stranger called a judge could be the one to tell you how often you will see your child and how much of your money you will keep. Unfortunately, that stranger doesn’t think exactly like you.”
Most people I know who divorced agree on these things: They regret getting divorced, wish they had tried harder and never fully got over the death of their marriage. Why do you suppose that is true for so many people? Could it be couples often realize too late that divorce simply exchanges one set of problems for another?
Everything from living arrangements to financial and social status changes, and rarely for the better. Even with a new mate they discover a whole new set of problems since no one is as wonderful as they seem when making first impressions.
According to divorce statistics, second and third marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages. The theory is that people who haven’t succeeded the first time are more likely to repeat the same mistakes the second or third time around.
Could it be couples in trouble need to slow down and evaluate their own roles in the possible demise of their marriage and ask what can they do to change things?
Neuman, who holds a master’s of science in mental health counseling, said, “If you have difficulties in your first marriage, it’s not all about your poor choice of a spouse. It’s about you. You fell in love with this person. You worked with this person to create whatever you have or don’t have.” He concluded, “It’s better to get rid of the problem and keep your spouse than to get rid of your spouse and keep the problem.”
Experts agree a relationship that weathers storms instead of pulling up stakes and calling it quits will more likely last and bring greater happiness than couples with a disposable attitude. The biggest question a couple considering divorce must ask themselves is, “Do I really want to make this marriage work?”
If both of you want to save your marriage, no matter how bad things appear, you should try hard. Others have done it. So can you. Having respect for the Originator of marriage, Almighty God and His Word the Bible, can play the most important role in making a success of a failing marriage. How so? Keep in mind that God said at Malachi 2:16, “‘For I hate divorce!’ says the LORD.” — New King James Version.
If God hates divorce and you want to please Him, don’t you owe it to Him, to your spouse and even to yourself to do all you can to save your marriage and rekindle the love you both shared on your wedding day? Seek His help in prayer.
If both of you are willing to try, why not explain to your mate clearly, calmly and respectfully how you would like to see the marriage improve? When your mate is speaking, try to listen, feel their feelings and do not be defensive. Matthew 19:9 reveals the Scriptural grounds for divorce, but it doesn’t say an innocent mate must exercise this option. It's your marriage. It's your choice.
As one illustration put it, imagine you have embarked on a long journey by car. It is certain that you will encounter problems along the way, including severe weather, traffic jams and roadblocks. On occasion, you may even get lost. What will you do?
Will you turn around and go back or will you find a way to overcome the obstacles and move forward? Well, on the day of your wedding, you embarked on a journey that was certain to bring its share of problems. The New English Bible of 1Corinthians 7:28 says, “Those who marry will have pain and grief.”
That is a realistic view of marriage as well as the complications that come with two people becoming one. It takes time for two people from different backgrounds to be united as a family. It takes compromise and compassion. As one expert said, “Marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” Even at it’s best, the blessings of wedlock will still have challenges and setbacks. That’s life.
The real question is not whether problems will arise, but how will you face them when they do? Can you find a way to overcome obstacles and move forward? Don't rely on your own wisdom. Consult together. Decide together. Work together.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” — New Living Translation.
If the third person in your relationship is God, that spiritual bond will strengthen your marriage even more. As theologian Augustine of Hippo once observed: “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.”
This relationship can be the strongest foundation to all other relationships in your life. It can give you a different perspective on the purpose of marriage and why we should try harder to make it work. So even if you feel your marriage has gone down the wrong road and is lost — don’t be too quick to give up. Ask your spouse if you both can get help?
Yes, marriages do break. People lose their way. But by seeking help, turning to God and applying His Word, your marriage may avoid becoming disposable.