Before we delve into the topic today, we want to mention two things. First, our intent and our spirit today is not one of judging those who are divorced. We are just sharing a bit of our hearts and what we’ve been through and what we believe about our society and divorce today. This post is not meant to be hurtful, judgemental, or in any way meant to make you feel less of a person.
As a side note before we go any further, we understand that there are situations where Divorce should happen. Obviously if you or your children are in danger or being physically, sexually or mentally abused, GET OUT and GET HELP! You can find more information for help at this website: The National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Now, onto the post!
I love the picture above, it says a lot about what we are going to talk about this week. And the couple in the picture is so sweet, look at how the old guy has his hand on her arm even behind his own back. I hope this post is not a real downer, but rather an inspiration for those with marriages “on the rocks” so to speak. We are firm believers that there is almost always hope for marriages, that divorce doesn’t have to be the only way out of trouble and a truly great marriage can emerge from the ashes of broken hearts.
A bit of background on this from our perspective. Ange and I have been very happily married for nearly 14 years now. We have certainly had our share of ups and downs, (our marriage is far from perfect) but generally we have steered our marriage away from the “biggies” (significant lies, affairs, financial straits, etc.). But we have been stung from the bitterness of divorce in our world. My parents divorced recently after 37 years of marriage, and even though I’m a grown man living away from my parents, the ripple effects can still be felt on our family. My once strong family (my parents and siblings that is) has been ripped apart at the seams and the hurt, bitterness, and separation still affects the relationships with all of us, even the grandkids (including my own children). Certainly I’m glad my parents stayed together while we were kids so we didn’t have to deal with that growing up, but that doesn’t make this divorce any easier in my books to deal with. (It is quite painful to watch your husband deal with his family falling apart.) Something I never thought I’d have to go through or watch my parents go through for sure. For those that are going to wait until the children leave the house before they divorce, please understand that the pain of divorce is going to be there no matter when you decide to go through with it. It affects everyone, not just you and your spouse. When you glue two pieces of paper together, you can not rip them apart without some of each sticking to each other. You will always be dealing with this person in your life, especially if you have children together.
In addition to my parents, several friends have been through a divorce, and many other marriages that we know of are in shambles, with lots of bitterness and hopelessness all around. So many have just opted out of the vows they entered into, when they pledged their lives to the other person only to essentially have their fingers crossed behind their back apparantly. Marriages today are really just a reflection of our culture I suppose, where someone’s spoken word can rarely be relied upon and the “me-centered” life that so many live means that if my spouse stops making me happy, then it’s time to move on. Marriages are certainly broken if we stop and take a look around. But what if, like the picture at the top, we stop throwing away the broken marriages we find ourselves in and instead invest in fixing them? I am a firm believer that marriages can survive and even thrive after going through incredible trials. And what emerges is a marriage that is fire-tested and stronger than before. According to a Study by Linda Waite Two out of three unhappily married adults who avoided divorce or separation, ended up happily married five years later. Meaning, they waited it out, fought for the marriage, five years later, they were happy.
We have friends who have told us that they made the decision to follow their vows even when they went through some terrible hardships early on in their marriage, and now they are happily married with children and are so glad they toughed it out, sought out counseling and fought the fight worth fighting for. Your marriage is worth fighting for! If you haven’t heard the song “Love Is Not A Fight” by Warren Barfield, check it out because it really speaks to what the true meaning of love is in a marriage.
The first verse starts out like this:
Love is not a place
To come and go as we please
It’s a house we enter in
Then commit to never leave
In your marriage house, have you committed to never leave with your spouse? More than just the vows you said on your wedding day, are you living your life like divorce is not an option and you will work it out no matter what comes your way? We believe that great blessings can be found in your marriage if you are faithful to see it through and “fight the fight”. Because it is a fight after all, and something worth fighting for!
If you haven’t read this post yet, we featured a couple that attended a Love & Respect Conference that Ange & I put on a few years ago through our church. It’s a great story about how a couple on the verge of divorce reconciled and started fresh!
If there are any of you who are in a tough spot now or need advice or don’t know where to turn, please seek help now before it gets any worse. Counselors, pastors, friends are there to help. Many people were there on your wedding day witnessing you say your vows to each other. The reason why they are there is to remind you and hold you to those vows, not just to attend a reception! If there is a way that we can help you, please send us a private message and we would be glad to point you in the right direction or just talk with you and help in whatever way we can. But above all, DON’T GIVE UP – there is too much at stake in your marriage!!