What they say about marriage is true: It ain’t always easy, but it sure is worth it. At least, that’s what most people tend to believe. Unfortunately, the other thing they say is also true: that 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce.
We live in a microwave culture where instant gratification is the only method of survival. When something is broken, we no longer fix it but replace it. The same is true for relationships. Sex and purity are no longer sacred. Hard work is no longer worth the prize, and the Bible’s teachings about divorce and infidelity are the last place people turn when they need answers.
Marriage is messy because let’s be honest, life is messy. But when a lightbulb in your dining room burns out, you don’t sell the whole house for a new one. You gently remove the broken lightbulb and replace it with one that shines brighter than before.
The same is true for our relationships. We have to remove the broken pieces from within us — those that overtime stop shining a light — and fix what is broken.
Before you hire the divorce lawyer, check out these 10 tips on saving your marriage.
Take it from some brothers and sisters in Christ who have been there — it’s not all sunshine and daisies, but having the tools to repair what was brought together by God and for God is MORE than worth the effort.
There’s a lot of things that will kill a marriage, but for wife and mother Jordan Harrell, her need for control was one of them. I think it’s something every married person can relate to whether your story sounds similar to hers or not.
Jordan humorously tells about a time when she attended a women’s conference the day after fighting with her husband about new floors. NEW FLOORS. That in itself is the most relatable part of the story to me. Stop for a second and think about the very last thing you and your spouse had an argument about. I’m 90 percent confident it would make you blush if you had to share it with a group. But the fact of the matter is that our “silly” arguments aren’t really rooted in “where the cheese grater actually gets put away,” but rather, the underlying need for control in our relationships that we’re often blind to.
There is no magic equation, no simple solution to a perfect marriage. In fact, such a thing doesn’t even exist.
However, while having a perfect marriage is an unrealistic expectation, having a Christ-like marriage means constantly striving for a perfection that will never be attainable.
With that in mind, Brie Gowen believes there is one seemingly simple question that will save every marriage from the fiery darts of this world. In fact, it’s such a powerful perspective that your marriage can’t help but be radically changed just from cognitively being aware of it.
It’s a question most of us have prior to getting married, and secretly have sometimes after tying the knot — especially when the going gets tough.
In this piece, Noah Filipak gets real about the stupid questions we ask ourselves about marriage and our spouse. Not because they have no answer, but because they simply just aren’t real.
“Each time you ask that question, you are only depriving your actual reality of much-needed investment. The grass is not greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it.”
Noah breaks down the deception beneath all of the fearful fantasies we concoct in our mind and gets your marriage back on the right track with the right thinking.
In today’s culture, it’s not rare to hear someone make this statement. However, when you get to reading Danielle Renfrow’s story, it won’t take long to learn that her version of cheating on her husband isn’t quite what society would think.
First of all, adultery and lust aren’t even a part of it, which poses the question: How the heck did she cheat on her husband. And while you’ll have to read her piece in order to find out, I can tell you that she hit the nail RIGHT on the head with this one. Sometimes cheating isn’t about lust or adultery or all of this Hollywood junk that we fall into. Sometimes, like in Danielle’s case and even my case, it’s a matter of idolatry.
We know that to be in a Christ-like marriage, means to put another before yourself, and God before both of you. Marriage is meant to be selfless, but full of love.
Pastor JD Greear sheds light on how our society — and generations of societies before us, going all the way back to the Israelites — struggled to find this balance of selfless, unconditional, unwavering love.
“God says that he hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) because it tells the world a lie about his love. When we divorce because we are no longer getting along or because our spouse is no longer making us happy, we tell the world that God’s love is like that — that he loves us based on how sufficiently we meet his needs. The divorce problem we have in the church isn’t just bad for our families; it’s feeding the world a deadly deceit.”
Again, there’s no magic recipe or instruction manual for navigating the waters of marriage. But for Richard Paul Evans, there are seven very intentional words that did, in fact, change his marriage forever.
Richard explains the spitting fight between him and the Lord that radically flipped his marriage upside-down. God revealed to Richard that he couldn’t change his wife, but he could always change himself. And from it, came a beautiful statement that would transform the way he loved his wife.
“Keri and I have now been married for more than 30 years. I not only love my wife, I like her. I like being with her. I crave her. I need her. Many of our differences have become strengths and the others don’t really matter. We’ve learned how to take care of each other, and, more importantly, we’ve gained the desire to do so.”
Just like there’s no secret sauce to keeping a marriage alive, there’s no one single thing that can kill it off either. There is one characteristic of all human beings that can definitely cause a marriage to fail. Meg Marie Wallace has seen it.
About the same time, she learned of her own father’s infidelity, one of Meg’s closest friends revealed to her that she too, had been cheating on her husband.
And as much as the cause of such destruction could have been lies, deceit, abuse, hiding, fighting, blame, or anger, the real root problem isn’t a thing, but a characteristic.
If you haven’t figured it out already, it’s not so much about what breaks a marriage as it is about what keeps a marriage together. At least, that’s the fundamental and Biblical argument of Jimmy Evans.
Jimmy dives deep into how the Bible teaches us about covenants and sacrifice, and how those two things are defining factors for what the Bible also teaches us about marriage.
Bottom line — you can’t have one without the other.
“I like to compare this mentality to the difference between someone who owns a house and someone who merely rents one. If you’re renting and your house is discovered to have a serious foundation problem, you’re not going to shell out $40,000 to fix it. It’s too expensive. You’re going to move out. You’ll find something else.
But if you own the house — if it’s your family home, if all your memories are there — then you’ll probably pay that expense. You’re all in because you’re an owner. You value the home. You do whatever it takes to keep it secure.”
I mean, that’s a BOLD statement. Is there really anything more toxic to a relationship — to a marriage — than problems with sex and money? I mean, come on Derek Harvey, if my husband is having an affair, what could possibly be more deadly to my marriage than that?
Well, that affair might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, but as Derek Harvey so eloquently explains, the real marriage killer isn’t adultery, it’s that which leads to adultery.
“The reason marriages end in divorce is because of one thing…unmet expectations.”
Boy, isn’t that the truth? I mean, really with anything? What’s the number one reason someone gets fired from a job? Unmet expectations. What’s the reason people flunk out of school? Unmet expectations.
If unmet expectations have the power to destroy a career and end an educational journey, why would we discredit their ability to kill a marriage?
As a “math guy,” Harvey puts it this way: EXPECTATION – OBSERVATION = FRUSTRATION.
“Here’s the answer: Let your OBSERVATION take precedence over your EXPECTATION. Period.”
Sometimes, it’s not just ONE thing that leads you to hire a divorce lawyer. Perhaps your husband isn’t cheating on you and you don’t have unmet expectations. Maybe you’re one of the couples who just simply “fall out of love.”
While that might be the world’s diagnosis for what you’re experiencing, it certainly isn’t God’s.
“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9
Maybe you’re not sure what’s instigating this season in your marriage, and that’s okay. Sue Schlesman has a comprehensive list of 20 silent traps that may be destroying your marriage.
That’s just it — some of these things are so silent that unless we look into ourselves and rely on introspection to recognize them, they might just go completely unnoticed.
Marriage is sacred. It’s not for the faint of hearts, and it’s not disposable like most other things in this life. Before you hire the divorce lawyer, be sure to exhaust your resources. Take it from people who have been where you are and are living proof that there is hope, and joy and redemption on the other side of frustration and pain and heartache.