My parents have been married for 52 years. They used to be what we would consider a normal marriage in this country. Now, they are an anomaly. They are a rare breed, the ones that people point and say, “how did that happen?” They are the few, the proud, they are a couple that has not divorced. It has become a norm in our country. The divorce rate for first marriages is right at 50% (give or take a couple of percentage points). Second marriages have a 68% divorce rate and third marriages have a knee buckling 74% divorce rate. I always feel like this is one of the tough issues to talk about with people simply because divorce now applies to a great many people that I encounter. They often feel criticized or ridiculed because they had a marriage fail. I can assure you that is not the case here. I make no judgments and I am certainly not ridiculing anybody. I do, however, feel very strongly about this point and its ability to help a marriage last. The people I have discussed this with, have been able to look back at failed marriages and realize that this point was missing. I also realize that there are people out there who had to leave abusive marriages and that was the reason for the divorce and I want you to know that I applaud you. No one, and I mean no one should ever endure an abusive spouse. Now that that has been said, let’s take a look at what I believe contributes to the excessive divorce rate in this country.
I feel like one of the reasons we have such a high rate of divorce is because we are producing couples that do not take it seriously. Couples now see marriage as an extension of the dating game. More and more people are not taking the vow, “til death do us part” seriously. In fact, if we re-wrote the vow to say what many people mean, it would read, “til death do us part or I get tired of you.” Marriage is not a game and our country has made it too easy to divorce. Divorces are quicker, cheaper, and loads easier than they were 20 years ago. This still doesn’t really answer the question of why I think divorce is far more common now. Well, I have narrowed it down to what I think is the biggest contributing factor- people are using divorce as a threat. One of the things that makes my marriage work is that we would NEVER consider throwing the D-word at each other no matter how mad we are (and believe me, we can get under each other’s skin). You see, I believe that once it becomes accepted in a marriage to use the threat of divorce during an argument, you have opened up a box that is not easily closed. Once the threat is out there, eventually someone is going to draw the line in the sand and force the other to act on the threat. This backs many couples against a wall, leaving them what seems to be only one option.
Marriage is not a cat and mouse game where you try to hurl the biggest insult or throw the biggest guilt trip on each other in order to gain ground. Marriage is not a game. Treat your marriage as the sacred institution that it was meant for, designed by God to bind two people together for life. Never let it be okay to use divorce as a threat or a means to gain position in an argument. When you take a vow, honor your vow and take the time to make sure you are marrying someone who is in it for the long haul with you- for better or for worse.
Coming Soon….#2: Let’s Talk
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach