By all accounts we shouldn’t have made it.
He was divorced. I was 20, freaking 20. I had baggage and a toddler. He was a Virginian (no, not virgin, lol) who didn’t know the correct term for a sweet carbonated beverage. It’s POP, people. We got married in a little court house ceremony in just under two months of meeting.
Yeah, it’s kind of nuts.
But ten and a half years later we are still here.
This morning as I was drinking my motor oil-esque coffee I read a slide show about celebs speaking out about divorce. Aside from the glitz, money and fame they are people too. Common themes emerged- comparing divorce to a death and also this sense that they found marriage didn’t meet their needs like they had anticipated.
I’m not trying to be callous here. Of course we all get married with the hope of getting some very real needs met. But along the way the trials of life will bring out the best and (more likely) the worst in people. Being inherently selfish creatures, when we get hurt we tend to go into self-protection mode. Over time, if forgiveness isn’t happening, we harden our hearts and start to see our s.o. as the source of the problems in our life. At a certain point we think it’d be best to cut our losses and move on and be happier.
But still, divorce is like a death.
I believe it all goes back to the fact that we are created in the image of God. God is a covenant-making God. He is a covenant-keeping God. He designed marriage (yes, it was HIS idea) to be a reflection of this covenant he made to his people.
He could have washed us all away in the flood and scrapped the whole mess.
He could have viewed Adam and Eve as failed prototypes and scrapped the “human experiment”.
He could have looked away and left us to fend for ourselves as we thumbed our collective noses at him.
But he didn’t.
See, a covenant is more than a contract. It’s a promise.
“If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.”
2 Timothy 2:13
Since we are created by a God and for a God that completely embodies true love we yearn for this love all our lives. We yearn for a covenant keeping love that will never abandon us, even when we are less than lovable.
No human being could possibly meet or fulfill that deep soul need for that kind of love at the level that we need.
So many expectations are dashed, many marriages end… as we are all on this quest, whether we realize it or not.
The 5th Chapter in Ephesians addresses how spouses are supposed to love and serve one another because marriage is really an illustration (or is supposed to be!) of the covenant between Christ and his Church. That’s why marriage is so very important. A marriage is more then a contract, it’s a covenant.
I know my husband’s weaknesses and frailties and shortcomings. But you’ll never hear me badmouthing him when my girlfriends start in on their husbands. I feel pretty confident in saying we will never get divorced. If things happen, we’ll work through it. Just like we always have. Divorce is not an option.
Because while of course marriage is for companionship, laughter, joy, intimacy and baby-making, memories…all wonderful things, but it is also for representing a working model of grace and forgiveness. Your spouse is, in essence, a fellow fallen human being that needs a savior just as much as you do. They aren’t always going to meet your needs. Sometimes you’re going to get irritated and have to grit your teeth to keep from saying mean things. Sometimes you’ll roll your eyes. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re giving more than getting. Sometimes you may not talk for two days.
There are no magic formulas or guarantees but I’ve found that seeking Christ together has led to a strong and healthy marriage. It’s enabled both of us to extend grace and forgiveness as needed. Very practically, it’s been a source of joy and strength.
Every night, he reaches his hand for mine under the covers. We pray together. We are two humans that are far from perfect (certainly, no glitz or glam here, people) but we are on this journey together. Having been joined together in a beautiful model of the eternal covenant God made to us. That supercedes whatever might come against us.
Marriages aren’t supposed to end. Love is supposed to endure. And that is why divorce is always a sad thing and likened to a death…even if it’s dressed up in fondant and a trip to Vegas.
Regardless of your marital status you can have this great love that your heart longs for. If you are single, you can prepare yourself to be a better future spouse. If your marriage is struggling, it can get better as you consistently get your needs met, your “bucket” filled, and are able to love your spouse supernaturally.
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.” Song of Solomon 8:6
That love is only found in the covenant making God and his son, Jesus Christ.