There is an epidemic attatcking America these days. It effects 50% of marriages outside of the church and just about 38% of marriages of regular church attenders. This epidemic cannot be cured by a medication, a shot or being put in quarantine. It effects everyone it touches and touches more people than you realize. This epidemic is divorce.
God created marriage. He created it to be a beautiful partnership in which two become one. Matthew 19:5-6 says, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." The vows that are taken when two people get married are intended to be a serious covenant, a joining of souls, a lifetime commitment. So my question is... what happened??
This is what happened....
We have become a society of immediate gradification. We want dinner, we go through a drive thru and in 2 minutes our bellies are full. We want to buy something but don't have the funds so we swipe a plastic card and walk out with our merchandise. We feel like our marriage is holding us back or things are harder than we had anticipated so we file some paperwork and our "freedom" is given to us. People think that this fast and easy way of getting exactly what we want when we want it has made our lives better, but I happen to believe quite the contrary.
There was a day not too terribly long ago when things had to be worked for, saved for and giving up just wasn't an option. The food on the dinner table was made from scratch and therefore had more value to us. Divorce was taboo and therefore giving up on your marriage was almost out of the question. (Let me be clear that I'm not talking about the very serious and real cases of abuse, neglect, or infidelity. In those situations I think you have to do what you feel is right for yourself with guidance from God. I'm referring to the "just don't get along" situations) Our spouses have become disposable to us and very easily replaceable. Our marriages hold very little value any more. People just don't want to do the hard work that it takes to sustain a marriage and counseling is seen as a sign of weakness.
What can we do?
Hebrews 13:4a says, "Let marriage be held in honor above all." It is our call to hold marriage as an honor, a holy gift and a blessing. As Christians (and even as non-Christians) divorce should be taken off the table and our vows should be taken seriously. "For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or health...as long as we both shall live," (I get that in modern ceremonies those aren't always the vows but I'm pretty sure that none of them feature an escape clause).
Probably the most important thing we can do to help our marriage is have a willingness to work hard at it. I talk to so many "soon to be married" couples and they say, "I just can't wait to be married, it's gonna be amazing" or, "I can't wait to be his/her wife/husband, it'll be the greatest job I have." And don't get me wrong, it will be amazing, and it will be the greatest job, but it will also be incredibly difficult. There will be days that you just want to cry. There will be times when this person you're living with hurts you more than anyone else ever has or ever could. And there will even be days when all you want to do is give up. (Call me overly psycho-babbled but) I truly believe that every relationship can benefit from counseling. Open up those lines of communication and let the conversation get messy sometimes. It's in that messiness that layers are peeled back, and wounds are opened to allow for a deeper healing and understanding of each other in your marriage.
I'll leave you with one last thought. How do you love your spouse? Ephesians 5:33 says, "each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife should respect her husband." What a great challenge that is for all of us!