Families are designed by God with two parents. The essential traits of men and women combine to form a fantastic set of skills and sensitivities perfectly suited to raise children into mature and well-adjusted adults.
Why then is it so hard and becoming so rare for two adults to get married and successfully raise their children without the tragedy of a divorce before they are done?
Current statistics hover around a fifty (50%) divorce rate in US households. (Source – CDC Faststats) That’s half of all marriages not surviving the challenges and temptations of life long enough to keep a traditional family intact. Pastors and therapists will tell you their offices are full of the broken pieces that remain of a family when one spouse simply walks away.
As I type out this blog I am considering soberly that some reading this are seriously considering giving up on your marriage. Before you do, PLEASE consider five things…
1- Love is NOT just a feeling. It’s an act of Faith. I Corinthians chapter 13 is the definitive text on love and it includes not a single mention of love being an emotion or feeling, instead it’s chalk full of actions & behaviors that expresses love to another, and in doing so kindles anew the “feelings” that drew you initially.
2- The commitment that you made to join yourself to another before God is one that He takes seriously. It’s a Covenant. This is not a light or trivial thing to God, He requires us to honor Him in the relationship that is bound by the covenant. That means, walking away from a marriage for reasons other than infidelity or abuse become pretty weak in the light Biblical illumination.
3- Your family will suffer more after a divorce. Period. Breaking up a cohesive mother-father parenting team will impact the future growth and maturity of your kids, not to mention increasing the risk of lifelong scars of guilt, shame and anger that can cripple their adult relationships.
4- There is a devil. He hates you, and he hates the image of marriage and commitment and lasting love. He hates what it represents and he is determined to destroy your home, your kids and your life. Don’t under-estimate his tenacity and cunning to provide every kind of counterfeit and beautiful distraction possible. Don’t try to fight this with the strength of will alone. It takes a Faith community to get through the tough spots.
5- Singleness is not usually much of a relief, in fact it’s harder. Just ask any single parent…. If there is ANY chance of recovering your marriage, ANY possible way to go back. GO! It’s so much harder to recover what’s lost than to rebuild what you have. (This is NOT true for those trapped in an abusive marriage)
So don’t be deceived, walking away from your marriage because you feel like things are somehow different, that you’ve changed, you don’t love him-her anymore isn’t the simple solution you may be hoping for. Those feelings may all seem valid currently, but are certainly not wise actions to consider in the heat of the moment.
For single parents who have already sustained the loss of a spouse, you know what I’m trying to say here. The burden and the pain of trying to raise your children alone is…. well, inexpressible. The church is rife with single parent homes that are in constant crisis and stress and our public schools and courts are jammed with the legal debris of the custody and alimony battles they host. (Soloparent.TV is an encouraging and free resource for single parents struggling to figure it out)
Take a breath….
Pull back your emotions a bit and ask God if it’s time to see a counselor, a trusted Pastor or a Priest. Share with a professional of your feelings and ask for their help in putting those in their proper perspective. There are certainly serious issues that can occur in marriage that may require a divorce or separation, but many- many -many divorces are simply escape mechanisms. We try to retreat from the difficult and often overwhelming sense of failed expectations, broken dreams and the sense of unresolved isolation – frustration that can come from sharing your life day in and out with the same person.
Jesus will be your only salvation. Literally.
Spending time with your savior daily is the first and best advice I can offer. Putting Him first will allow you to start to recover and restore your love for a spouse who may not be lovely to you right now. Hang tough, don’t surrender.
Please take the time to spend with God before you give up. Read the bible, (Link is to a Free daily Podcast) Pray…do it every day for 10-15 minutes for thirty consecutive days. I’ll guarantee you a huge shift will occur in your perspective and in your attitude. He cares, He can soothe your pain and He can touch the part of your heart that no one else can.
How do I know all of this?
Simple… He did it for me and He will do if for you, but only IF you’re willing to make the greatest leap of faith you’ve ever made. Trust God to change your spouse and in that process…don’t be shocked if the biggest change occurs in YOU.
PS – for those who need to vent or get unbiased advice… firstname.lastname@example.org for Pastor Brad.