Friday, February 26, 2010

Love and Marriage

It seems that there's a trend of "blogging boldly" lately.  I haven't jumped on that bandwagon, until now.  Please bear with me as this post will not have photos, recipes, or funny stories about my precious girls.  I have spent a lot of time thinking about marriage lately and feel it unfair to keep my thoughts to myself.   So, here goes:

I love my husband.  I knew he was the one I was going to marry before he did. :) Almost 9 years ago, I stood in front of 124 people (and God) and vowed to love him forever.  Through sickness and health.  Through good times and bad.  Until death parts us.  And I meant it.  I don't know why I'm still surprised when I hear about people divorcing.  It's common now (sadly). What's more surprising to me than anything is that divorce is nearly as common among those that consider themselves "Christian church-goers" as it is for those that are not affiliated with organized religion.

I've said to Brian over and over, "I just don't get it.  How do you get to a point that you are willing to walk away?"  Now I'm not talking about abuse.  I would never condone anyone staying in a relationship where physical violence was involved.  That is NEVER ok.  But I would dare to say that the majority of marriages that have ended in divorce are NOT due to abuse.  

Most folks I know say that they just grew apart.  Stopped talking.  They say they fell out of love.  My favorite is when I hear "it just wasn't working."  I don't get that.  What wasn't working? The magic marriage fairy? I hate to tell ya, but there is no such thing.  No one else is going to make your marriage "work" except for you and your spouse.  

(this is the part where I give completely unsolicited advice)
What do you do when that happens?  My solution? Don't let it get there.  It takes two to grow apart.  In silence, two people are not talking.  Make your marriage a daily priority.  Don't get complacent.  There are books about marriage; literally thousands of them.  Hang out with people that have healthy marriages.  Learn to communicate with each other.  (Admittedly this is something we are getting better at, but only after nine years).  Speak your spouse's "Love Language."  (This is referring to a fantastic book called the "Five Love Languages" by Dr. Gary Chapman).   Go on dates without kids.  Probably most important, is- pray together.  My cousin, who is also a pastor, said that he has never counseled a couple that prayed together.  He wasn't calling it a cure-all, but there certainly has to be a correlation.  Couples that pray together don't end up in counseling.  At least not in his office.  So we committed to doing that.  I will say that at first it was awkward and even a bit embarrassing.  But we persevered and now our day does not feel complete without it.   I was also given a great bit of advice before I got married.  It went something like this, "Don't ever speak badly about your husband to others.  When they see him, they won't remember his redeeming qualities but rather all the complaints you have spoken about him."  How true.  There is power in our words, which is why I think it's equally as important to make sure my husband knows that I recognize his redeeming qualities, and admire him for them.      

Is each day going to be easy? No.

Is each day as a parent easy? Heck no! But we keep doing it because it's what we are called to do.  And it's a commitment we made when we had children.  And because the rewards far outweigh the stress.

Marriage is not all butterflies and roses.  Some days are better than others.  That's where the "for better or for worse" comes in.  It's a choice to love just as it is a choice to leave.

Especially for those that love the Lord, and trust in God's promises, if you believe the Bible, then divorce is not an option.  Fight for your marriage.  Some friends of ours attended a marriage conference in Virginia and they were told,  "Each day in marriage is a battle because the devil is fighting against it.  So put on the armor of God and go to war."  Even Pat Benetar said "Love is a Battlefield." (hehe!)

I may be stepping on toes, and you may disagree, but I'm just tired of the tolerance we have taken on the issue of divorce.  I'm sure you know great people that got divorced.  I do too.  I also know folks that fought hard for their marriage and the other spouse just wasn't willing to do their part.  But I also know people that got divorced and later regretted it.  I also know folks that started fighting for their marriage too late. Don't be one of those (see paragraph 5 above).  I know there's more I'm missing and I know there are scriptures to back up my suggestions (and maybe even statistics from research journals), but this much I know: Anything worth having, is worth working for.  

I'm stepping off my soapbox now.  Thanks for listening.  


  1. well said. It also seems that people discount that marriages are going through ups and downs just like any other friendship. And you aren't always going to like you spouse, but you can still love them.

  2. You're so right Beana! I forgot to include that part! :) Maybe I need to have a "Part II". :D

  3. Nooo.. don't get off the soapbox! if there's any soapbox worth standing on, it's this one. I would only add that counseling isn't necessarily a bad thing. For us it was a God-directed way to learn how to communicate about some issues and prevent some perilous stuff later down the road. Like marriage conferences and reading marriage books, it can be another way to grow. And I totally agree with you, "Anything worth having is worth working for!"
    Thanks for blogging boldly. And getting Pat Benetar stuck in my head.

  4. Amen! I couldn't agree more. I'm so sad to see people very close to me choosing divorce. You are right, you have to WORK at marriage. Every day. I think when it gets to that point of silence, often times people don't know how to turn it around. Don't let it get to that point, such wonderful advice!

  5. I agree with Liz - AMEN! I also "don't get it" when I hear of couples getting divorced. Sad that's it's so commonplace and accepted as a way of life.

  6. Oh - and I'm also sad for those that have decided to just "live together" rather than get married because they "may end up divorced anyway". Marriage, and the commitment that go with it, are such an incredible blessing!

  7. GREAT post Heather! Would you like me to pick up where you left off!?!?!?! Don't stop...great topic.

  8. Awesome!! I think that was well said and in love! I agree, divorce is something used like "breaking up" was in high school. Too many people have "the grass is greener" outlook, and everything take time and effort! Well said, I want to post this to everything, I have a posting!! :)

  9. I agree with you - that it is too common even among Christians. So many of my friends have gotten divorces who I never even imagined... the one part of the post I didn't necessarily agree with was "couples who pray together don't end up in counseling" - only because this was not true in our own marriage. I am a big advocate of marriage counseling, and I think many don't pursue it because they have a stigma against it (esp. Christians). We prayed together but still ended up in counseling for a few years - because there are definitely issues that "just" praying together won't solve. Don't get me wrong; prayer is the most powerful tool in a marriage, but there are many hard issues that still need to be worked through in counseling. Did that make sense? :) I love marriage counseling, combined with prayer! :)

    Don't get off your soapbox - maybe someone will read this and it will help them to start making a change in their own marriage - you just never know!

  10. Amen! I completely agree! Very well put and I agree on still being surprised about divorces, especially after such a short time of being married.


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