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.

23 thoughts on “Big “D””

  1. Ya know… it’s so easy to fall into the wrong thinking that if you’re not married by the time you reach 25, then you’re destined to be an old maid! This is a hard thinking to escape for me because every sibling and even my own mother was married BEFORE they reached their 20th birthday!

    Sometimes I do struggle with being lonely. Even when I’m in a room full of people and surrounded by people all the time in my job. I’m lonely. (There! It’s out!) LOL. Thanks for the post, and the reminder! God has a plan… it’s all about trusting His timing. (Says, the 21-year-old, “old maid” as she strokes her cat!) Okay, really, now… I’m done.

  2. I have friends who, in the past year or so, have been struggling in their marriage. They sat down several months ago and decided together “divorce is not an option.” How brave. What a commitment. They have been doing everything humanly and spiritually possible (like being honest with others for one) to seek help and ministry. This commitment has most assuredly been the foundation of the steps to growing their intimacy. They are not there yet but wow…have they ever come far.

  3. I apologize for the length of this comment, but I think it’s great advice about marriage/choosing a mate…I heard this on a podcast almost two years ago and wrote about it on my old blog. Here’s what I posted:

    ***
    I heard some beautiful thoughts today on Dan Klass’s podcast “The Bitterest Pill” (Episode ..73-archived at http://www.thebitterestpill.com). Amazing. I have had similar thoughts lately, and it’s great when someone you have never even met can articulate exactly what you are feeling.

    Dan Klass:
    “Do you see these couples, where it seems like the whole thing is a business arrangement?: ‘Listen, I commit to making $250,000 a year, and you commit to being attractive. So, you can have some of my money, and I can have you go to parties with me and sleep in my bed.’

    Do you ever get that feeling that there are relationships that just are pretty much at that depth?: ‘You seem to fit the role of the spouse that I had in mind when I was reading “Cosmo”. Let’s get hitched and see how it goes.’

    PLEASE, especially younger people, marry your friend. Marry someone that you respect and love. Marry someone that you find really attractive and really hysterical. Really funny. Someone that cracks you up. Not someone that you think is going to look good at a cocktail party, or make a lot of money, or impress your friends, or any of that crap, because, you know what? WHO CARES?! It all goes away. And it’s all meaningless. It’s all meaningless.

    Find yourself someone that gets you. Understands you. Makes you better. Makes you laugh. PLEASE.”

  4. amen, my friend!

    joy and i dated for 2 yrs 8 mos before we got engaged; and, then, we were engaged for 16 mos before the wedding. though not everyone needs that length of time, i doubt many married folks (or divorved folks) look back and say, “we dated way too long before entering into this covenant.”

    i treasure the covenant i have with my wife, who just so happens to be my best friend. 🙂

  5. Anna – Your man won’t know what hit him with all of your awesomeness.
    Hope – Good for your friends. Thanks for sharing.
    Abbi – That is good advice! Laughing is so fun at, I mean with your spouse 🙂
    John – Good stuff, John. Chris is my best friend, too.

  6. Can I get an Amen? Cindy I agree with you. I was married at a very young age 21 and 10 years later he left. My world was turned upside down and we did go to counseling, but he still left. Growing up in the south – you are taught “Divorce” is not an option. I remember the day I called my mom to share my devastating news and she replied by saying “I love you.” I thought for sure when I made that phone call she would mark me as the “black sheep” and we would not speak for months.

    Today I am a Christian and I live the my walk with Christ every single day and I want my marriage to honor how much I love Christ and my dear sweet hubby. We all have our tough times in marriage, but we must work through them together.

    Funny you should write about this today. A friend of mine who will soon be turning 27 is not married. She called last night to tell me about a phone call she just had with a guy she met at a wedding recently. She lives in OKC and he lives in another state. She was talking 100 miles an hour and she was full of anxiety. She said to me “What if he is not into me? Did I say the right things? I can’t handle more rejection.” I replied with some sobering thoughts…I told her to calm down and take a deep breath as she was beginning to hyperventilate. Then I reminded her of my past and asked her if she wanted to marry the wrong guy and then go through terrible heartache because she just wanted to be married. I told her that she needs to me herself and the right guy will love her for who she is and not for who she thinks she should betray to get a ring on her finger. Later in the conversation she calmed down and realized she just needs to take it “One Date At A Time” and that God will help her in the process of finding Mr. Right.

  7. I agree people always resort to divorce before trying other things. I have to say these are usually the people who tend to ignore the third person in their marriage…GOD.
    I recently watched my sister-n-law go through a divorce. She wanted nothing more but to try and try and try to work it out but her husband was not willing.
    Needless to say their divorce is final and she has decided to drown her feelings in drinking a little more than usual. I do have plans for her though….I will with all my heart pray her through this and hopefully pray her towards God. I first have to pray her drinking buddy away, far away.
    So Cindy in the end I agree with you! Today makes 13yrs of marriage and 14yrs together! I say the same try try try before giving up and everyone knows things get worse before they get better!

  8. Cindy, you write the best posts. Thanks for that.

    Yesterday at lunch, my father-in-law was telling my mom (who just went through another divorce this year) many of these same things.

  9. Amen Cindy! I agree. Being involved in singles ministry for nearly ten years before my second marriage I saw it all. People that were so lonely and needed a bandaid over their heart, quickly married only to find out later it was a huge mistake or that they had overlooked some critical character flaw or one excuse after another. Before we knew it they were back in the singles again prowling around for their next mate and the children’s ministry is trying to pick up the pieces of the shattered hearts of their children.

    My husband and I did things very differently. We spent all of our time talking about EVERYTHING…we would plan to go to a movie but would find three hours later we were still at Chili’s talking! One thing we purposed to do was premarital counseling PLUS we did a bible study together that really dug deep into who we are as individuals and as a couple. We sought wise counsel. Since we were going to be a blended family (which is the fastest growing segement today) we discussed how we raise our children, how we discipline, etc. We were coming from two different types of singleness, he was widowed with three children and I had been divorced with one child. How would S.Z, and H feel when M went every other weekend to his Dad’s and they would not see their Mommy until eternity? Lots of things to pray about and discuss. We had a game plan in place before the I Do’s from a budget to what do we do for fun.

    Probably the best thing we did in the wedding was to have a Covenant. I researched and made a convenant that was read at our wedding. As a new family we went up to the altar and each signed the Covenant and then invited our guests to come and sign the Covenant ONLY if they agreed to pray for us and our marriage; hold us accountable. The kicker is we only had a minimal amount of people at our union. Those we knew would support us in prayer. My immediate family, a few coworkers, my younger three children’s grandparents (yes their late mother’s parents and aunt were there), and a few dear, precious friends from church. It was intimate, worshipful, and a true reflection of what the Lord had done in the hearts of two families. It wasn’t about the music, flowers, dresses, decoration but about the union that was being formed.

    Thank you for being blunt and transparent. I believe after what you have been through and how you and Chris handled things you are qualified to speak your heart and mind on this issue. As always I end up writing way too much. You just prompt that in me with your posts! 🙂
    Have a blessed day!
    Vickie@PursuingSimplicity

  10. I’ve known those who divorce on what seems like grounds that could have been fixed. And I know those who divorces were covenants broken and the severing was deadly. I agree that divorce is too easy for some and for others the only option. Either way, its not God’s best. I’m glad he can redeem all things.

  11. Divorce is way too easy in this world.

    It is easier to divorce than to work on the problems. At least that is what my husband and I thought 3 years into our marriage. So divorce we did….only to find ourselves totally miserable and unable to move on from our marriage. For 2 1/2 years we mourned for our life together, shared our children and continued to share our sorrows and joys.

    Then the light turned on…in our separation we had actually worked on those problems that were going to be way to hard to work on while married. (so we had thought) Yeah we were pretty stupid…The pain of the divorce and the pain of working through the problems anyways.

    Our marriage was restored and we remarried over 10 years ago. My husband only counts the first wedding date as our anniversary. I personally don’t care which date he wants to use. I am just so happy that I have my best friend in the whole world with me everyday.

  12. I am with you Cindy. It is way too easy to walk out. It is harder to stay but the intimacy that develops when you walk thru trial after trial TOGETHER outweighs the pain! I think far too many look to their spouse to fulfill them completely. Our marriages should be a place where we put all the things that Jesus taught while on the earth into practice. It should be a place where we give, serve, bless when insulted, love, forgive and more. It should be a place where we learn to die to ourselves…choosing to love our mate right where they are at…and love them closer to the heart of God. After all….our life is not our own…it was bought with a price. Our lives are but a mist and a vapor….while we are here….let our lives count…let us love those that are the most unlovable…and for many that includes their spouse.

  13. I’m gonna get in a lot of trouble for this one. Y’all are anna’s family. Y’all need to find her a man and get her hitched. (grin)

  14. Hi Ms. Cindy…I must say, you have generated some thoughts…I might have to post for singles a “part 3” on my blog.

    I’d also like to say there are no perfect men and no perfect women. And if you are single and you think you are going to get married and it’s going to be perfect then you shouldn’t get married. (I haven’t been married long myself).

  15. I also think one of the biggest problems is our way our way of thinking…in the west. We are a consumer society who are not committed to anything. If something breaks, we replace it, we do not get it fixed. If the married isn’t “working” then we should replace her/him. Come on…

  16. I think if people had to file for divorce and be forced through 12 mos of counseling and pay some crazy fines, more people would think twice before getting married in the first place.

    I realize that is not a viable solution for those in abusive marriages, but maybe there could be some loophole for them.

    I don’t know. I’m tired and rambling now.

  17. Cindy – You always have such wonderful words.
    I wholeheartidly (sp?) agree with your words today. My husband and I agreed on our honeymoon that we would never utter the word divorce to each other during our marriage. We have been married 13 years! (We also were high school sweethearts who dated for 8 years before we got married)

    I can see how people give up. Marriage is hard. Very hard. But I know that God strengthens us, and the more we go through the stronger we get.

  18. Marriage is a tricky, tricky, complicated thing. Even Christian marriages struggle. I feel very compassionate for people experiencing this distress. And yeah, if you go to the She Speaks conference, we’ll “confer” on what to wear, or what NOT to wear! (one of my favorite shows.)

  19. Hi-
    You don’t know me but I happend upon your blog through another blog. I really enjoy reading what you have to say.

    Tonight on the way home from work I was talking with my husband of 4 years and we were talking a lot about divorce and we decided that when it gets down to it, we are “stuck” for life together.

    There are times I want to strangle him and I’m sure he has those moments too. There are times I want to leave and find someone “better”. And there are times after those thoughts that I wonder what I was thinking! I love him!

    All this being said that it wasn’t a coincidence that I read what you had to write on a night I was feeling worthless and wanted a way out, even though I promised myself and husband I would never search hard enough to find it.

  20. Amen sister! You are an amazing woman! I am a friend of Keri’s and am having such a grand time reading you all’s posts…you all are two of a kind…. very special people!!! I love this post… and agree w/ you 100%…. A successful marriage is a beautiful triangle between God, husband and wife!! My husband and I went thru a seperation and it really taught us about life (don’t sweat the small stuff… don’t nag just ask for help….we are totally in this together…. life is too short…haha like you totally nailed it on the head.. the grass is NOT greenier on the other side haha!!!!….) and brought us so much closer and even closer to GOD, along w/ making our relationship stronger… AMEN…I have so much joy in my marriage now and love waking up to my amazing husband every morning!!!! Again, thanks so much for all your words, laughs and tears!!! I am off on Fridays’ and have a feeling I will be reading your posts all night.. you are truly inspirational….
    Have a terrific day!!!!

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