“Life turns on a dime” is an old phrase that actually goes back to the 1880‘s indicating how quickly changes occur. And it’s true:
“I can’t go on.”
“I pronounce you husband and wife.”
“There’s nothing more we can do.”
“I’ve had a wreck.”
“We’ve been broken in to.”
Yes, there are events and happenings that can change everything. Many of these are out of our control (so we’d be wise to put them where they belong – In God’s Control). But there are things within our control that we need to control. I’ve been thinking about marriage a lot lately. Maybe it’s because of the demographics at Spring Meadows or maybe it’s because in about 30 days Melanie and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage.
I would never claim to be an expert in marriage. I know what God’s Word teaches about it and I know I was blessed more than I bargained for in marrying Melanie – but I’ve not “done it right.” I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes that if it was not for ONE thing we may not have made it this far. We’ve had struggles that I’ve seen other people “throw in the towel” over. So what’s that ONE thing?
Don’t leave them always wondering! Nail it down, make it clear, set a standard. “I’m staying.” I see so VERY MANY couples today who have introduced the subject, the possibility of divorce. And once that possibility has been introduced it changes EVERYTHING. Yes, everything.
From that time on a door has been opened that may never be closed again. “If I do this will he/she leave?” It leaves the other person never sure the marriage is forever. It either is or it is not. It is not white hot passionate love that makes for a life of happiness but a gray bland everyday commitment – “I am here, with you, for you, forever.” Many things in life are unsure but until I die I’m yours. Don’t make your spouse antsy and on the edge, hesitant and unsure. Wondering: What if? Don’t even introduce the concept of divorce. Make the word taboo. Life is not fun walking as if on egg shells. It is much more pleasant if you know that even if/when you make a mistake – a big one – that it may be hard – but they aren’t leaving.
I’ve made some dumb decisions in my life. Done some things, sadly, that I knew would make Melanie unhappy, but I have never a single time thought – “she’ll probably leave me over this.” Not because of the severity of the mistake but because of the weight of her commitment. And, she’s even made a mistake or two – but I’ve never thought “I’ll leave her.” This is in NO way to brag, I just think that there is something to a firm understanding that marriage is forever.
Remember the vow you took. It was, if I remember correctly before God and these witnesses – until death do us part.
*Ed Note: This is written with an understanding that one party cannot force a marriage to work – that it takes two. I can’t imagine the pain of abuse or the fear of your children’s lives. It is also written with a further understand that God allows divorce in the case of sexual sin. This is in no way to cause more pain or unnecessary guilt. I hurt for all of those who have experienced the pain of what they intended to be forever ending up not being forever but that does not diminish the importance of this teaching.