Marriage

Big D

If you are a Texan, the title above will certainly bring a large city to mind. As much as I love the great state of Texas, I am not writing about Dallas. I have some friends who’ve been married for seven months. Things started wonderful and seemed to be going smoothly. But, then several months into it, fights began and respect was lost. And one day on the phone she said to her husband, “I want a divorce.” If you’ve ever read a book or listened to a sermon or watched the news, then you know good and well how staggering the divorce statistics are. I don’t have the latest information to share with you, but from the looks of those around me, it’s not decreasing. You may be reading this and have experienced a divorce yourself. Or maybe you have a family member who has endured such hardship. But, one thing we all have in common is that we know someone who has been divorced. What takes a couple from a proposal and declaration of their love to battling out custody and financial matters in front of officials who don’t know them? There are all kinds of issues that arise to cause a couple to call it quits. Adultery, abuse and addiction are just a few. But, if I were a bettin’ woman, I’d say that most divorce decrees say the couple had “irreconcilable differences.” Wanna know what I think? If not, stop reading. I think that we’ve made getting married and getting divorced WAY to easy. For cryin’ outloud, you have to prepare more for getting a drivers license than to join with another human being for the rest of your life. I also think we choose divorce in order to eliminate potential pain that we feel quite sure we won’t survive. Take my friends above. The woman in this marriage is a terrific gal. I personally love her to pieces. She’s been through a lot of hurt in her life. But she finds the man of her dreams and within several months, finds herself married to him. Bliss, bliss and more bliss. Then a little reality sets in as it does in all marriages at some point. She doesn’t like the pain and discomfort she feels. She’s already experienced so much. She shouldn’t be going through this with her perfect man. But she is. So, in her mind she decides she is not going to get hurt again. The level of difficulty that she is experiencing as she navigates through these tumultuous waters is more than she can bear. She weighs the options and figures she’ll get out before more pain occurs. Sure, she’ll hurt through the divorce, but nothing like she would in a marriage where disappointment has made it’s temporary home. Unbeknownst to her, she’s diving in deeper toward more pain that will eventually rear its ugly head. It’s just a matter of time. Divorces are way too easy to come by. Okay, so you may be a little ticked off by now if you’ve endured a divorce. You may think it’s easy for me to write about this because I haven’t gone through it. I’ll give you that. I haven’t gone through it. But, I could have. And I’m not talking to those of you who didn’t desire your divorce. If someone walks out on you, move on. All I’m trying to accomplish here is give my feelings and thoughts on the subject that has invaded our society like a virus with no cure. And I think it’s okay for me to discuss divorce considering what I’ve walked through during the last 15 years of my marriage. I think I’ve earned it. My two cents on marriage: 1. If you are single, DO NOT SETTLE just because you are getting older and feeling lonely. Period. 2. If you are engaged, please be 100% certain that you want to spend the rest of your days loving your mate. If you are not, get out. 3. If you are newly married, don’t sweat the little stuff. Underwear by the side of the bed instead of in the laundry basket is not worth fighting over. Trust me. 4. If you’ve been married for any amount of time and feel like complacency is setting in, do something. Take her on a date. Write him a love note. Compliment her. Initiate sex with him. Yes, I’m serious. Work on your marriage. Give 100%…both of you. 5. If you are near the end of your limit and want out of your marriage, do whatever it takes to make it work…both of you. Life brings pain, but God is true to His promises. He will not let you carry a bigger burden than you are able. I know this well. Ka-plunk. That was me stepping down from my soapbox. I was hoping to see someone in the back waving a white hanky, but no such luck. In case you can’t tell, I’m very passionate about the covenant of marriage. I want so much to see others take it very seriously and not just dive in the moment they feel ooey-gooey on the inside about another. I want so much to see couples fight for something that is bigger than themselves. And to my friends who are in this quandary. I pray you’ll fight for your marriage and dive deep inside your hearts to see what changes you need to make to help your marriage succeed. A successful marriage always involves pain. Ask anyone who is currently married. But, the joy experienced when you walk through life together is deeper and more intimate than any other earthly relationship you will ever experience. I promise. (Originally posted on January 21, 2008)

14 thoughts on “Big D”

  1. At our wedding reception, the folks who came wrote their “words of wisdom” in a book for us. The ones that got us through the first year (OK, the first 5 years) were from the Bible. “Thou shalt not kill”. Very fitting indeed.

    We got married when I was 38 & my husband was 31. We both brought our own set of Samsonite to the table. Our pre-marital counselling was, well, crap. The first year of marriage was U. G. L. Y. (Looking back, we’re both surprised we’re still alive after that!) The D word was brought up a couple of times, until surprisingly, we finally had a rational moment, and agreed that we would never ever again bring up that word. And we haven’t since. When we focused on the promise we had made to God, as well as each other, we clawed our way through. Sometimes it was the only thing we could see. That first 5 years was nas-tee. Near the end of it, we got some godly counselling that made all the difference in the world!

    God has restored us. I’ve learned to set aside my pride & my rights. To be more sensitive to my husband. I have an amazing, teachable husband who models God’s love for me every day. We still have our challenges – we’re human! But I can honestly say that I never ever thought it would be this great! We’re so grateful to be have each other, and that God is continuing His work in us, and not stopping. We are blessed!

  2. You are so right! My husband and I after 6 years of marriage were having a lot of marital problems! The night he finally left, I felt so much peace and I was sure this is what God wanted, why else would I be so relieved! But just the next day, my husband fell ill and was having emergency surgery. I went to him. He told me he wanted to work it out. I didn’t feel any peace at all just heaviness knowing it was going to take a lot of work. But we stuck together and endured more pain for awhile but then it got easier and today we’ve been married for 12 years! Just recently my husband confessed that at the hospital he only said what he knew I wanted to hear. He just wanted someone to take care of him while he was sick and he planned to leave once he was well. All I can say is that God had a much different plan! Our hearts can deceive us so much. The peace in my heart was not from God, it was relief. Just like we have a headache until we take some Aleve, my heart ached until he took “a leave”. But it wasn’t God giving me the relief. His desire is NOT for marriages to end! The peace so many feel is just the heart being relieved. We don’t want to endure pain but God uses the pain to make your marriage come out even better if you just work through the pain!

  3. I’m in full agreement with you Cindy. I’ve been there done that… I’m working with my husband on making our marriage a Godly marriage. It’s so worth it!

  4. Right now, I can’t say anything other than, AMEN. Thank you for “re-posting” this. I don’t think I read it the first go round. Divorce is the word that is being spoken again by my husband. Even with EVERYTHING that has gone on between us in the last almost 13 years – I am CERTAIN it is in God’s plan that divorce ISN’T what is supposed to be in store for us.

    This post and the comments have given me a few things to think about. Thank you.

  5. i will cling to these words right now. and maybe for a while.

    my husband and i are trying to restore our marriage, and have a much better one than we did before. in january my husband confessed to me to having an affair in the fall. after having had emotional affairs online and being addicted to porn for our whole marriage. it’s a lot to take in at one time. and we were both pastors who planted a church about 1.5 years ago. life is very upside down right now. i come from A LOT of divorce in my family. my mom has been married 5 times. when we got married we vowed to never speak of divorce.

    but there are times right now when, even though i KNOW the pain of divorce and the work that it would entail to heal from a divorce, it just seems like that pain and work would be less than staying with him. having to see him and deal with this everyday of the rest of my life.

    but i am not choosing divorce. i don’t want that for my son. i don’t think i want that for me. it’s just so hard.

    so thank you for this post. thank you for the reminder to do the work and stick it out, no matter how hard it gets.

  6. I’m single and I appreciate this advice so much. I recently made a tough call about a man that had been in my life for awhile. It was so hard for me because I’m beginning to feel that old maid thing knocking on my door. 🙂 But the bottom line is, I know that your #1 up there is exactly where I was at. I’ve had twinges (like when he called me recently) of regret lately but reading this was a great reminder. I know I did the right thing.

  7. I agree 100% with you girl. Matt and I will be married 17 years in June…but over the last year we found ourselves arguing and tearing our marriage up. A lot of it had to do with some transitions we had made in the ministry…we were just not prepared for the change and were taking it out on each other. In January we decided to go to counseling…been the best decision ever…restored our marriage in ways we couldn’t have done without it! Divorce was never a thought for us even in the worst of it, but our marriage was just sad…now it’s so awesome. I am so glad we took the step and threw our pride as ministers to the side and went to counseling. IF you need help…you need help and don’t be afraid to ask for it!! What’s ironic about us is…we head up the young couples ministry and mentor young couples…but we were not taking care of our own!! I have blogged about it and now several of our members are going to counseling. It’s amazing what God will do when you are real with people…I love how open and real you are girl. Your wisdom is encouraging to me as ministers wife. Thanks girl!

  8. Wow, that was well said. I’ve heard a statistic that more than half of all divorces are filed by women and the vast majority of those are because they are bored with their man. So kudos for stating the obvious; especially #2.

  9. WOW!!!! That was well said, I have been down that road and back. But after 7 years of marriage we are sticking it out, I love my husband soooooooooo much and I know God will continue to bless us. “For better or for worse, till death do us part.”

  10. Through all the struggles in my life in the past year I’ve determined that everyone’s actions are influenced by three things: Pride, Fear, Selfishness. Every choice that we make, is influenced in some way by these three things. Although these things can help protect us, and guide our decisions, they can often be our downfall when it comes to our relationships. If we don’t submit ourselves daily to the Holy Spirit, then we can have the wrong motives.
    Francis Chan put it best, in his book “the forgotten God” :
    “It is obvious when someone is not walking in the Spirit consistantly. What you see & experience from them, is usually a spirit of rage, selfishness, opposition, bitterness, and envy. When a person is habitually and actively submitted to the Spirit, what comes out of their lives, is the fruit of the Spirit. ”

    As humans we have a need, and desire to feel loved and accepted by others. It is this need that controls many of the things we do on a daily basis. Conveniently enough everything we do in life revolves around the relationships we develop with others. I heard an interesting comment a few days ago on a TV show. A Doctor was having a discussion with a Jewish man, about his arranged marriage and asked how he could love someone he doesn’t even know. The Jewish man asked the doctor if he loved his wife, to which he responded, “Yes, I love her just as much as I did the day we met.” The Jewish man replied, “I may not know my wife completely, but I love her because I choose to love her. The more I learn about her the more I love her. Our love is constantly growing” I began to think about this, and wondered, how do I feel about my wife. I know in my own life, that my wife has been a living example of God’s love and grace. The grace that she has shown me on a day to day basis, is a daily reminder of the grace the God gives me each day.
    There is a simple principle behind this, we can “fall in love” or become “obsessed” with someone, but the whole purpose of a relationship is to get to know the person on a new level. The old saying, “love is all you need” really isn’t true. Statistics show, that your “in love” infatuation only lasts for 2 years, and after that it requires determination, and a lot of work. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching, and reading, trying to find out what love truly means. And between scriptures, and a few books I’ve been reading, I have found the true meaning of love.

    Love = Sacrifice. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

    Love is not an emotion. Love is not a feeling. Love is not earned.

    Although, we often allow our emotions to control how we respond, and react to other, love is not an emotion, or a feeling, and nothing we can do can earn love. An emotion evolves depending on the situation, to “protect” a person, or is a state that moves a person to behave in a certain way. An emotion creates a response, and is easily influenced by our surrounding circumstances. A feeling describes an experience, which is knowledge gained from involvement or exposure to something. There are many things which influence all of these things. The way we were brought up; our parents; society; socialization; experiences; and more. All of these things and more affect our emotions, which in turn effects our feelings.

    Love is a Choice. Love is an Action. Love is a Response.

    A final warning:
    If you remember the story of Jesus casting out a demon on the Sabbath day, Jesus was accused of casting out the demon using the power of Satan. Jesus responded by saying that does not make any sense at all because “a kingdom divided against itself will fall”. All through out history, if you look at great empires, and businesses, churches, governments, organizations, families, and friendships, the case is the same. Divided against each other, sooner or later it will fall. He wasn’t just talking about that instance. This is the case across the board. If you aren’t for your spouse, then you are against them. Its not a matter of “will” you fall, but a matter of “how long” will you be able to keep up the act before it finally falls out from under you.
    You need to do what ever it takes to understand each other, and figure out what is wrong, and work on it. Sure there will be days you “hate” each other, and want to kill each other. Days you’ll want to give up, and walk away. But God is faithful, and if you remain faithful to your calling, then he will reward you. You have to give your relationship to him, for him to work on it. But you can’t just sit back and hope it will improve. God will reward those who wait, but you have to do your part too.
    Every day, I thank God for his grace, and for the love that he pours into my life, and into my family. And that He has enough love to make up for my short comings.
    Lately I’ve read through the love chapter and ask myself, “am I that?” and ask God to make it a reality in my life.
    Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it keeps no record of wrong……

  11. I thank you Cindy and all of you for your words of wisdom. I have my papers drafted and they are to be filed this week but I still love him. He walked out on the kids and me but now he wants to come home but I feel its because the grass was not greener on the other side. I feel as if I can’t hear from God because my feelings are in the way, all the horrible words said, things that were done etc. I feel better when he is not around but I guess that’s because I don’t have to deal with reality…..Lord Help!

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