We have a 50/50 chance that our marriages survive. 41 % of first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. Over 60% of second marriages crash and burn as well. So, what can we do? How can we avoid becoming a part of these discouraging numbers? How can we Divorce Proof our Marriages?
** Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. ** John 15:13
In the past week, we have heard of at least 3 marriages that are in crisis and talking about divorce. They are all in the crisis stage. They are frustrated, heartbroken and ready to throw in the towel. They feel there is no hope. They are locked into their mindsets. They can’t see a solution.
But there is a solution. It is a high-demanding solution, but, it is also a sure cure for any marriage in crisis.
This solution came directly from the example that Jesus gave us. He taught us that when all hope is lost, someone has to die, someone has to sacrifice. Someone has to lay down all that is dear to him/her and devote all thought and all action for the betterment of the other person, no matter how painful, how scary, or how emptying it will be.
Jesus could have divorced the very flawed human race. He could have said, ” I give up. I have tried everything I know to do to help them”.
But, He didn’t. He chose to give up His own comfort, His own will, His own needs, His own plans, His own glory so that others could live and prosper and find happiness from His sacrifice. He is our reconciliation expert.
This doesn’t mean we have to physically die to save our marriages. But it does mean we have to die to self. It means that we have to dig deep inside ourselves and find out what it is that is keeping us from loving our spouse sacrificially and unconditionally. And we need to be willing to learn some new information so that we can have better results.
It may mean that we need to sacrifice our career, our hobbies, our dreams, our time, or our friends so that our marriage can continue. It may be that we have to let go of our idea of what life and marriage are really about. It is not about us. It is not about what we want. It is not about our favorite things. It is about my spouse’s needs.
Jesus could have been a king of a nation. He could have ruled with supreme power. He could have annihilated the enemy. He could have been rich, and popular. He could have eliminated the competition. He could have continued to do miracles day after day until no one would ever think of challenging Him. But He didn’t.
He allowed Himself to be taken by the envious religious leaders and the carnal soldiers. He accepted their torment and torture without a word or a miraculous deliverance. He could have called millions of angels to come to His rescue. But He didn’t. He was sacrificed and died so you and I could live.
That is not our natural response to problems, is it?
We are more likely to run from them. Or we yell and argue until the other person surrenders. Maybe we are big bullies and always have to win every fight. Maybe our way is the only way. Maybe we think no one is as smart as us. Maybe we think we are the only ones that can see things clearly.
Or maybe we think we are masters of our own time. Or we think our hobbies or our work are more important than spending time with our spouse and/or children. Maybe our career/job takes priority over anything and anyone. Maybe making money is more important than building a healthy marriage.
Jesus didn’t think like that way at all. He thought that helping others was more important than being a carpenter. He saw others needs as more important than His own. Jesus saw others pain and wanted to help and then stepped in and did what He could to help them. He helped others be stronger, braver, healthier and alive. He spent time teaching those who didn’t understand how to live happily. He trained others to go and help more people. His life was not his own. His life was about the person next to Him and the people that would be helped after that.
So, how can you and I help marriages in crises?
We can pray for them. We can find verses to back our prayers and keep these hurting people before the throne of God. Philippians 4:2, 5, 6, 8… Matthew 19:6… 1 Thessalonians 5:18 are good places to start.
We can encourage couples to read some good books or listen to podcasts or audio books on marriage and relationships. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a good first read.
Also, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray and Personality Plus by Florence Littauer are both good books to help us to understand the differences between men and women and that it is normal and good to be different.
The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian is a great book to stay on task and pray for our spouse.
Our ladies’ group here is currently reading What Husbands Wish their Wives knew about Men by Patrick Morley. James Dobson has the reverse of this book, What Wives Wish their Husbands Knew about Women. Both give great insight into understanding the opposite sex and what they need from us.
There is an old book with a lot of practical advice called Strike the Original Match by Dr Charles Swindoll that gives advice on how to have a good fight and how to deal with a couple’s finances.
A garden can’t be planted without seeds, dirt and hard work. A house can’t be built without lumber, concrete, nails, windows and hard work. A marriage can’t be built without wisdom, sacrifice and hard work. Books, especially the Bible, are great tools for marriage building.
When the honeymoon has ended, it is time to dig in and work hard, sacrificing our plans and our false concepts for truth and a healthy plan for healing of hearts and minds and dreams. Any marriage can be saved, but it will take both partners giving 1000% to beat the statistics. Let’s all pray for those families we know are on the brink of a break-up that they would learn how to have divorce-proof marriages.
Do you have a favorite book or article on marriage that would help a family in crisis? What is your advice for a Divorce Proof Marriage? Please share it with us in the comments!!