Today is a difficult day. Not only is it Monday after a less than relaxing weekend, but today my older sister's divorce will be final. After being married for 11 and a half years and having 2 kids and a dog, they are done. It is so strange to me. I don't understand it. And if I'm being honest, I don't like it. I know the rational behind it. And I think it is the only option that they see, but it is still so sad. I wish they understood.
Every time I have tried to comment on the issue I am met with the same argument. It isn't always spoken, but it is clear in her eyes. It is the argument that says "How do you know? You are ten years younger than me and have never been married. You have no idea what this is like."
This argument is absolutely true. I am 10 years younger. Have never even been in a serious relationship, let alone married. And I have no experience when it comes to this.
I know what God says about it. I know that He did not design marriage to be what we have made it. He did not design marriage to be feelings based, or temporary, or for sport like we have made it. We have broken what He made perfectly. We have made marriage based on feelings that come and go and founded it on hearts that change with the wind if left the their own devices.
The countless amount of wedding shows on television tell me that our culture is more focused on the wedding than the marriage itself. They show the couple at the ceremony pledging their love to each other, then cut to the kiss, then the reception and the first dance. And that is it. You don't see how the marriage plays out. You don't see the silly little arguments that can so easily turn into huge blow up fights. No one is teaching us how to make a marriage work.
From what I have gathered from married friends and sermons and just observing people who have marriages that have lasted; I truly believe the major things that make a marriage work are putting God first in everything & dying to self daily. When you put God first and your spouse second, it makes things a lot easier. It is not perfect, because we are a fallen people who have broken God's design at every turn, but God will take care of things.
I read a quote from an old couple who had been married for 65 years that really struck me. When asked how they had managed to stay together so long they said, "We were born in a time when if something was broken we would fix it, not throw it away." That is so key to making things work. I was watching a show about the actor Will Smith one day and he was asked how he and his wife had managed to stay married with all the stress that comes along with fame and fortune. What he said has stuck with me for years. He said that divorce is not an option for them. If you have divorce as an option on the table, you are less likely to do the work needed to work things out and make it better. But if your options are to work things out or live together in misery then you are much more likely to work it out. That is so true. You have motivation when you know you can't just walk away.