The bride and groom were beaming with joy as they rushed down the aisle of cheering guests. The cheers grew louder as they stopped mid-line and the groom leaned in for a picture perfect kiss.
Within moments their “just married” getaway car zoomed out of the church parking lot leaving the sound of dragging clickety cans to the cheering guests.
Fast forward 3 years.
The words “for better or for worse” and “till death do us part” have faded into the background. The reality of a tight budget, a screaming one-year-old, and schedules that are packed, began to take a serious toll.
The bride and groom had long forgotten their feelings of commitment and had slowly begun to bury their dreams of growing old together. Over the next year, the arguing escalated, their distance grew, and divorce papers were filed.
Smiling faces were nowhere to be found the day the bride and groom said “goodbye” to their marriage.
And just like that, they joined the 50%.
Sadly, this example isn’t a unique or rare circumstance. This is becoming the norm. Divorce is literally running rampant in our culture and it only seems to be getting worse.
Like a beast that grows with every bite it takes, divorce grows in popularity and becomes more “normal” every time a couple signs the divorce papers. Without even realizing it, many young Christians are viewing divorce as “a viable option” just because they know so many people who have taken the plunge.
I’m guessing you can quickly add up the many couples you know that have split and you may even be very closely connected with a divorce yourself.
This reality deeply saddens me.
Watching people’s lives being ripped apart, turned upside, and thrown into shambles is heartbreaking. I pray with all of my heart that the people closest to me (myself included) never go down that road and I pray none of you ever have to go down that road either.
With roughly 50% of marriages ending in divorce, I’m sure many of you know someone who’s been divorced. Possibly you parents, grandparents, a sibling, family member or maybe even you yourself. I don’t know the details of your situation and in no way am I trying to bring up a sensitive and difficult subject.
My prayer is simply that we can take a step back, evaluate our current convictions, rethink the direction we are heading, and strive to think, live and act in a way that best glorifies God and represents the gospel.
How can we as girls set ourselves up for a divorce-free future? How can we best prepare now for a God honoring, Christ glorifying, gospel representing marriage? How can we avoid the 50%?
Here are a three truths that I believe would make “till death do us part” a reality in all marriages if we applied them.
1. Believe that God is the creator of marriage.
Marriage wasn’t and isn’t a man made idea. We didn’t create it, God did (Genesis 2:22-24). Because God created marriage, He is the only One with the authority to define it. We, as Christian girls, need to stop looking to Cosmo, People, The Knot, or the current bestsellers for advice about marriage.
We need to throw away the magazines and instead turn to the Author of marriage for our instructions. This must be our very absolute first step. God’s Word must be our manual. It must be our guide. If God’s Word is not the ultimate authority and foundation in our life, then we are building upon shifting sand.
Think of the Bible as a road map. If you are traveling to a new place 10 hours away, what would you need? A map (or a GPS with directions). You need a map to show you how to get from A to B in the fastest most efficient way possible. Without a map, you won’t make it to your destination very successfully. In the same way that we need a map to drive, we need a map for life. We need God’s Word to guide and to show us how to live. Without proper directions, we won’t make it successfully.
2. Understand that marriage isn’t based on feelings.
We live in a day and age where “feelings” rule our lives. We follow our heart, follow our feelings and do whatever feels good. When it comes to relationships, we confuse true love with feelings. We think that true love is a “spark.” When the spark fades, love must have faded as well. Right? Wrong! Although feelings are fabulous, they are not love.
Love is a choice. It’s an action. It’s a commitment to someone that is completely unconditional. It’s a choice to give 100% in marriage with no strings attached.
Can you imagine if we treated our jobs the way we treat modern marriage? “Hey Boss, I know I’m supposed to be at work this week, but, I don’t feel like it. Not in the mood. I don’t want to deal with that big audit we have coming up, soooo I’m just gonna take the week off.”
Haha, like yeah, right. No! We don’t do that. We know that we’d get fired on the spot if we gave up on our job when it got hard. We take responsibility for our work, we push through the hard times, we deal with crazy people and we persevere.
Honestly, we need a little bit more of that in our marriages today. Instead of running when times get hard, we need to preserve. Instead of quitting when our spouse drives us nuts, we need to have patience and a willingness to work through it. Instead of giving up when times are hard, we need to push through. We need to take responsibility for our marriages and choose to love unconditionally, work hard, push through, and continue on despite how we feel.
3. Realize that marriage requires a Christ-like love.
Christ is our ultimate example of true love. He came down to earth and gave up His life for us. He loves us with a perfect, sacrificial, unconditional love. He doesn’t give up on us when we sin. He doesn’t give up on us when we struggle. His love isn’t based upon anything we do for Him, but on everything He’s done for us.
We don’t work to earn His love. We just accept His perfect gift and accept His perfect love.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Titus 3:5-6 says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Can you imagine what would happen if we loved our spouses (future spouses) with this kind of unconditional love. A love that says, “I will love you because I choose to love you. Nothing you have done or can do will ever change that. I will choose to love you no matter what.” Wow! Divorce lawyers would go out of business in a hurry. There would no longer be a need.
Let’s make “till death do us part” a reality.
If you want “until death do us part” to be true for your marriage or future marriage, you have to think differently. You can’t think like the rest of the culture. If you do, you will most likely end up with the 50% of marriages that end in divorce.
You need to take on a Christ-like love and you need to make the Bible your marriage guide. Don’t take advice from our culture and don’t view divorce as an option. Don’t live by your feelings and don’t make your love conditional. Choose to love like Christ loves you.
How will you make it to, “until death do us part”?
What will you do in your future marriage to make sure you are set up for “until death do us part”?
How will you work to avoid the 50% divorce statistic in marriage?