I am being reminded over and over this week that marriage is not about loving your spouse - it is about loving our Lord and honoring the commitment we made to Him to love the other person as long as we both shall live. I am so saddened to see that marriages are ending or not even happening. It seems like that first marriage, you know, the one where you are blissfully in love and really do think it might be the one to defy statistics and last forever - that it is pretty devastating when it does end in divorce. But, that marriages that follow, as soon as things start heading down that path of hurt, neglect, not meeting my needs -- it is a little easier each time to just call it quits. Couples also choose to just live together instead of getting married. All of this makes me so sad! It makes me sad for my own heart (previously divorced and all the pains of it are stirred up when I hear of other divorces), for the hearts of the people in these broken relationships, for the children that may be involved (who are adding another layer of brick to the walls around their tender hearts), for society as we all "pay" for broken homes and neglectful behavior, but most of all, for God. He is the Creator of the family and it seems as if family is almost a dirty word in our culture. As a community, it is ok to promote anything for a minority sector or a group of hurting individuals - but now that the traditional family unit is becoming a minority - who will speak up and rally for this cause? Is it worth the fight?
I believe it is. I heard someone say before that when you enter into a marriage with someone, it is like putting two pieces of duct tape together - sticky side facing each other. Yes, you can get them apart, just like you can end a marriage, but it is hard for both sides. The pieces of tape get ripped, stretched, and in the end, there is a residual of each piece of tape left on the other. A divorce is the same way. You can end a marriage, but your hearts both get torn and beaten up in the process and in the end, there is a piece of you that is lost and a piece of the other that remains. The other problem is that after the duct tape is removed from our heart, it leaves a tender place, which we quickly callous over for protection. So the next time we fall in love, we don't fall so deeply in love. We become sarcastic and cynical, never to be so vulernable with another again. With each divorce, a person becomes even more calloused - until their heart turns into a self-centered, what-can-you-do-for-me heart of stone. Only seeking to use others for what they can take, never to be hurt again. It is like the old song, "I Am An Island": a rock feels no pain - and an island never cries. How very sad.
But what if we reach these difficult points in live, in marriage and we dredge through the murky waters together? It is hard. It takes time. It takes patience and strength of character. In the end, we may end up falling back in love with the one who has been so patient, kind and long suffering with us. When God is about strengthening marriages and building families, why would we want to work against Him? When He is on our side, we can do all things (Phil 4:13). Does it seem like nonsense to our world. Yes. But does it show how awesome God is in the end when we are able to make it through such difficult, nonsensical times together? For sure!
There are families and marriages hurting all around us - so let's all start rallying around the family and fight for the hurting.