• Pastor Zac

Your Marriage is Important


Every 13 seconds there is one divorce in the United States. That equates to 277 divorces per hour, 6,646 divorces per day, 46,523 divorces per week, and 2,419,196 divorces per year. The average first marriage that ends in divorce lasts 8 years. My age group (25-39) accounts for 60 percent of all divorces.


What are some causes for people to divorce? Each one has a reason, and each reason is unique to each couple. But, there are some common precepts that underlie each reason. The most common reasons that couples divorce can be seen listed below. Many divorces have more than one reason, which is why the percentages do not add to 100 percent.



· Lack of commitment 73%

· Argue too much 56%

· Infidelity 55%

· Married too young 46%

· Unrealistic expectations 45%

· Lack of equality in the relationship 44%

· Lack of preparation for marriage 41%

· Domestic Violence or Abuse 25%

LINK


Each of these excuses for a divorce can be corrected, if one or both parties are willing to work and repair the marriage. Think of the marriage relationship as a house. It will lose value as it gets older if no updates are done. If one person is focused on the past and how the other person used to treat them, they will lose sight of the precious person in front of them. Also, like a house, if not properly taken care of, the marriage relationship will fall apart. We will discuss all eight of these excuses or reasons (depending on how you want to view it) briefly in hopes to help draw both parties to a stronger relationship.


Lack of commitment – Commitment is defined as “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity; a pledge or undertaking.” It has also been defined as “an engagement that restricts freedom of action.” In the concept of a marriage, both of these definitions are important. Each spouse makes a commitment to each other which restricts them from doing certain things. In a typical monogamous marriage, both people are not able to go do sexual actions with others. They are committed to each other that they will restrict their sexual desires to one person, their spouse. In regards to the first definition, a married couple should be dedicated to each other. They should hold their relationship to a higher standard and be dedicated to keeping that standard.


Some may say “but my husband has been cheating on me with [fill in the blank]” Or “but my wife has been having inappropriate conversations with someone else.” “I caught them in the act and just cannot forgive them.” Maybe it is something as they will not stop looking at porn. These are all examples of someone not being committed. But this does not have to break the couple.


It reveals a weak spot that needs to be strengthened. That will require work. Paul told the Corinthian church not to withhold sex from one another unless it was consented in order to spend time in prayer (1 Corinthians 7:5). This principle can help each other grow in their commitment. Agree to take out sexual acts and just learn to love each other again. Spend time with God and each other. It would be kind of like dating again. Build positive experiences with each other LINK. Go for a walk. Go out on a date. Find a baby sitter. You may be thinking, “we have too many negative experiences. It will take a long time to correct them.” If you haven’t seen the movie Inside Out, this is something Joy needed to learn. She was so worried about Sadness messing up the core memories she did not notice that each core memory had both sadness and joy associated with it. She was focused on trying to keep them solely joyful memories. But what made them positive memories is the fact they came from something sad. Once we learn the same thing, we can take the negative and find a positive aspect. Even the hardship you may be facing now. As long as you both work at it, it will strengthen your relationship and also be turned into something positive. In a sense it will be like riding a bike. You don’t focus on the (possibly) many falls. You remember how you found your balance and were able to ride. Make positive memories with each other invest in the relationship.



Argue too much – Every couple argue. If you did not then you would not be yourselves. Two people become one. They are typically two people who have different thoughts, personalities, characteristics, but care enough to become one. The important part here will be to figure out what the foundational reason for the arguments is. Is it you both want to “wear the pants” in the relationship? Are you both trying to lead and neither follow? Some arguments are based off the symptoms of what is happening and not the actual cause. Find the foundational reason for the argument and fight fair.


Scripture is clear that the man is to lead the household (Ephesians 5). But sometimes the man is not able to lead and will let the wife lead. I am not a good cook at all. If I crave something, I will mention it to my wife. But overall, I let her lead when it comes to meals. There are times I have told her “let’s go get something instead of your cooking” because she looked tired or did something I really wanted. I love her enough to take her perspective on most topics (yes, more than just food). She respects me enough to let me make decisions.

What does it mean to fight fair? There is an awesome article about 25 ways to fight fair here LINK. The basic understanding is that you understand your emotions and learn to control them, even if the argument has to be paused in order to cool down some. But do not forget the argument. Make sure it is resolved (Ephesians 4:26). The article said to pin down a time and place to complete the fight AFTER cooling down.


Infidelity – That is, an action or state of being unfaithful to a spouse. This would be chasing other people, looking at porn, and lusting after others. This goes a long with lack of commitment, but goes the step further. Jesus said that the only reason for divorce is fornication (Matthew 5:32). But later on in His ministry, He said the only reason there is that stipulation in the law is because of the hardness of the heart of men (Mark 10:1-12). Infidelity is not hard to overcome, as long as both parties are willing to work at it. Forgiveness does not mean you forget, but it means you let go and will not hold it over the other person. God forgave you and you should forgive people (Matthew 6:15; Mark 11:26; 1 John 4:20). Seek God and forgive. Then look back under the commitment section and implement those thoughts. It will be a difficult journey, but it can be overcome without divorce.


Married too young – This one puzzles me. Do they mean too young as in age? Or too young as immature? Age causes me to wonder because Mary, Jesus mom, was a young teen (some theorize as young as 12-13). I know that is something close to 2000 years ago. And times change. But even my grandma was married at age 16. She was married for about 62 years before her husband died.


So, I am assuming they mean immature. That tells me that you should have matured since it has been some time since you got married. The only fix is to find out why you married in the first place and ask what changed. Did the fire just go out? If so, see commitment and build a relationship again. Did you fall out of love? If so, think back and discover what ignited that love in the first place. Is it something you changed? It is something they changed? No one will stay the same forever. But, that is why any relationship takes work. Figure out what it was that caused the love, what extinguished the love, and find a way to rekindle the fire.


Unrealistic expectations – Instead of ending a relationship, then change the expectations. Think about a restaurant. There are many that people love, like the secret menu at In-and-Out Burger, or even a Chick-Fil-A sandwich. They speak about how great it is and raise the expectation bar much higher than it could possibly reach. The food may still be good, but because of expectations you leave let down. Change the expectations to be more realistic.


Lack of equality in the relationship – He makes all the decisions. She won’t do anything I like. He wants to go hang out with friends while I stay home and babysit. Equality is important. Each person should give 100 percent of themselves to the relationship. If one is always getting their way, then that is not showing love or respect to the other spouse. It is selfish and needs to be corrected.


Ephesians 5 does speak to the fact that wives are to submit to their husbands and husbands are to love their wives, but that does not mean they are not equal in the relationship. It says in the verse preceding the discussion on marital relationships that all believers are to submit to one another. This would carry over to the husband wife scenario. But, because the husband loves his wife he will lead her. Paul held a mirror in essence and said this is Jesus’ model of love, husbands do that. Jesus spent time, listened, humbled Himself and many other aspects for the church (His disciples). Husbands should do the same to their wife. They may not be equal in calling, but they are both human and should be equal in everything they do. It should not be one sided because they love and respect each other.


Lack of preparation for marriage – Let’s be honest, no one is ever completely prepared for marriage. You can have everything planned out, but once the honeymoon stage is over, that is when issues start rising. But this is not something you can fix, since your already married and are looking at divorce. The only thing to do is move on and start preparing now. Many seek premarital counseling before tying the knot. Maybe you can seek out counsel from someone who has been married and willing to help you grow. Find a counselor or even a pastor and seek counsel from them. Find books that are meant to help couples strengthen their marriage. Discover videos that teach solid marriage philosophies (like Fireproof).



Domestic Violence or Abuse – Out of all of these, this is the only one that I would consider a credible reason to get a divorce. If the situation is harmful to either partner then there will be little to no way to overcome. Granted, I would recommend some time of separation and counseling before jumping into a divorce. As mentioned above forgiveness would be key for the abused, and repentance would be key for the abuser. By repent, I do not mean find Jesus, although that would be a step in the right direction. Repentance happens when a person turns from their action and does not do it again. In that sense repentance would be key for the abuser because they would not only apologize for the wrong done, they would seek to do the opposite and build the abused back up.


Love is focused more outwardly than inward. It strives to show others how much you care. It does not boast but is actually humbled through acts of service for another person. If you are going through a hard time, I am willing to listen and help guide you through. When we work out our relationships, we can beat divorce. Let’s be victorious together!


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