Wednesday, April 19, 2006

On marriage, divorce, and the like

Marriage is something I am looking forward to one day, if/when (hopefully 'when!') the right person comes along. But lately, I've had some sobering reminders that it's not easy, and nothing makes us invincible when it comes to keeping that relationship together.

I guess I've been thinking about it because recently I have heard of a slew of couples who have either gotten divorced or separated, or whose marriages have very nearly broken up. Some are friends of my parents who have divorced after 25+ years of marriage or who have nearly split up but are together again after counseling. But some are people my own age: friends, acquaintances, friends of friends. Two couples I've learned about in the last two weeks. I think that's what's really making me look at this.

None of these couples are really close friends (though they're friends nonetheless), so I don't know any details of what happened, really - nor is it any of my business. But the two I've learned of in the past two weeks have really tugged at my heart. There is such pain in the words "My spouse left me." I can't even imagine going through something like that, or especially of hearing a spouse say, "I don't love you anymore. Maybe I never did." One of these freinds wrote his reflections here. I ache at the pain in his words.

How do we really know what love is? And isn't it an action, anyway? How can things go so wrong and get to a point where the damage is irreparable? How do you guard against it? I know there are no guarantees, but as someone who wants very much to be married someday, how do people make marriages last? I do have faith in marriage, and I know that it can and does work, and can be the best (not easiest, but best) experience a person can have. I also know that sometimes it doesn't turn out that way.

Man, thinking about my friends and what I can only imagine they are going through makes me feel so immature. I flit around, go to work, hang out with friends, have crushes, whatever. Sometimes I feel like I'm just a silly little teeny bopper. I have nobody else I have to take into consideration, I do whatever I feel like pretty much, and haven't really had to face any major trials in my life. Don't get me wrong, I'm so grateful for that, but sometimes I just feel like a little kid in a grown-up world.

I guess the other thing I'm thinking about is the whole "religious" aspect of divorce. I've heard people say, "Well, the Bible says divorce is wrong," but what kind of a slap in the face is that to those who are going through that kind of pain? Obviously in a perfect world marriages would last "till death do us part," but we are not perfect people. Sometimes a relationship gets so damaged that it can not be put back together the way it was. Can God bring reconciliation? Of course. Will he always bring it? I don't know. And the more I think about it, the more I feel that it's not my job to know. I think that it's more my job as a friend and as a Christian to love my friends, to pray for them, and to be there when they need an ear or a shoulder or a hug.

I think of my friends - and anyone, for that matter - who are going through or have gone through the breakup of their marriages. All I can do is pray for them and their spouses - that there would be reconciliation between them, whether inside or outside of their marriages. I pray that they know peace and have solid, supportive friends to surround them, and that they experience the closeness of Jesus in a way they've never experienced it before. I really believe that their pain is His pain, and that He weeps along with them. I also pray that He will be their strength and their joy, and that they'd know they are held close in His love.


H0kie Erin said...

Marriage is truly the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But it's so worth it.

Even with the illness we've dealt with for almost three years now, I've never left. I'm not saying it didn't cross my mind, but divorce just isn't me - unless it's a last resort.

It's very sobering to hear your father-in-law say he doesn't know why you stick around. I think I earned a lot of respect from him just for sticking through the hard stuff, mainly because his dad didn't.

When a marriage does end, it's difficult for everyone involved. Wouldn't it be nice to wave a magic wand and make everything ok? Let me know if you find that wand. ;)

anne said...

I love how you ask what love is...I personally don't think it's all emotions, for me it's more actions. I choose to love my spouse. He does give me warm fuzzies and I feel that I am "in love" with him, but ultimately, I have made the choice to give him my love in my actions.

My parents just got divorced (I one ever actually says what is going on and I'm not very close geographically to know for sure) and I know he never "action-loved" my mother. He stuck with it for a while, but when it was too hard he had enough.

Ugh. Never a good thing. Good for you for loving your friends and upholding them no matter what. That's so important. :)

Jean said...

Very hard, this subject. My husband's parents were divorced and my mother in law never married again. I accepted it, but it just made me sad that my husband never really grew up with a positive man figure in his life. I don't think Christians are "immune" to divorce as statistics I've heard say 1 in every 2 marriages (even Christian) end in divorce. I know God did not intend for divorce. He created marriage. But we live in a fallen world, full of mistakes and we make mistakes too.
For me, like Anne, I choose to love my man in actions and words. It's hard, but so worth it. 10 years and going strong, but not without pure heartache and trials I never thought we'd face. He is my best friend, lover and confidant. These are just my ramblings.. :)

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