By Shannon B, Contributing Writer
About a year ago, three young couples very close to us were going through divorces. Three. Two out of those three couple were professing Christians. All three married 5 years or less.
When it feels like we are surrounded by divorce, how can we continue to hold fast to a strong, biblical marriage?
Learn from others’ mistakes
Going through it then, and looking back on that time now, there were themes that my husband and I noticed in each of those marriages as they were falling apart.
1. Lack of respect – either from one or both spouses
2. Lack of trust – whether on small, frivolous matters or a larger scale
3. Self-centeredness – unhealthy value on self-fulfillment and “doing what makes you happy”
4. Apathy – no desire from one or both spouses to mend the relationship
Each of these sinful attitudes can certainly pop up from time to time in any marriage – the key is to recognize that they are toxic attitudes, especially when more than one is present. After seeing the ugliness of each of these four themes to varying degrees repeating once, twice, three times, we now recognize them more easily not only in other couples, but in our own marriage as well. When we are able to recognize toxic attitudes and behaviors in our marriage, we can immediately and actively seek to address and resolve them before they cause any damage.
Seeing marriages crumble repeatedly before our very eyes has really revealed to us how very fragile the marital relationship can become if it is not prioritized. Just like an athlete training for the prize, just like our spiritual relationship with the Lord, the marital relationship must be tended to, nourished, trained, stretched, and pushed in order to grow stronger.
When struggles make their way into our marriages as they inevitably will, our first priority must be to address them before anything else. Not only must we address issues immediately, but we must tackle them with the main goal being resolution and harmony, not selfish motivations such as proving ourselves right or getting our way. The outcome of an argument is ultimately insignificant: our attitudes throughout the argument and how peacefully and submissively we get through the argument is what is important.
If we desire strong marriages which can withstand Satan’s constant attacks and the world’s allure, we must prioritize our marriages! After one’s relationship with the Lord, no other relationship should get more time, attention, and effort than that with one’s spouse.
Divorce is Not an Option
Do not allow divorce to be an option for your marriage. Marital problems are an avenue for personal growth and strengthening the relationship, not an excuse for divorce. Do not allow the word to be said during arguments, and if the thought enters your mind, ask the Lord to crush the idea.
Pray for Your Marriage
Pray for your marriage daily. Several times daily. It may seems overly simple, but the Lord has given us a tremendous privilege to bring our requests to Him in prayer, and He hears them! Ask the Lord to mend and strengthen your marriage. If you are engaged in conflict, pray throughout the conflict, asking the Holy Spirit to be present throughout the discussion. Pray for protection over your marriage from outside influences and temptations. Pray for your individual relationships with the Lord, as well ask asking Him to be the center of your marriage. Never underestimate the power of prayer! Check out the books The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Husband for a deeper look into praying for your marriage.
Feeling surrounded by divorce is hugely discouraging, especially to those of us who are striving for biblical marriages! To counter that, I highly suggest continuing to read encouraging books, blogs (like this one!), and articles that support marriage, as well as fostering relationships with other Christian married couples. “As iron sharpens iron…” so one couple can sharpen another!