Does God make a difference in your marriage?
Now, before you say, “Of course He does!”, and murmur all the Christian platitudes, just take a step back for a moment and let me talk.
The divorce rate among Christians in most parts of the country and in Canada is actually lower than the general population–significantly lower. Unfortunately, in the Bible belt in the U.S. it’s a tad higher, which is the statistic that is often mentioned when we talk about Christians and marriage.
So for most of us, God does make a difference.
But our divorce rate is nowhere near 0. Just because it’s not 30%, like the rest of the world (it’s not 50%; that’s a false statistic, too), doesn’t mean that we should rejoice at 22% or even 18%. That’s still high.
And I’m extremely troubled by that. I see so many of my friends who go to church, and who honestly do believe, but God doesn’t seem to come into their lives in other ways–what movies they watch, how they spend their time, how they spend their money, how they raise their kids. They’ve simply blended into the culture.
I have to, in many ways. We all have. But my husband and I decided early in our marriage that we would be intentional. We would not let the culture take us over. While we’re far from perfect (we sure could stand to pray a lot more than we do), we at least talk about it and wrestle with how to bring God into our marriage and our family.
I had some really bad news this week. A couple I love dearly have split up. Now there are good reasons, though I’m not fully apprised of them, and in their situation this sounds like the prudent course. I won’t elaborate more than that, but let me just say that sometimes separation is necessary.
From the little I do know, though, it sounds like one partner in the marriage has let culture infiltrate too much into his/her thought processes, so much so that his/her morality has been seriously compromised. I’m sorry for being so vague, but I don’t want to betray any confidences.
And this is happening all over the place! I know another marriage that split up because he had an affair. This man ran a praise team. He stood with his wife while she went through cancer treatment. And then he left her anyway, when she was already feeling ugly and unattractive. And now he’s trying to get out of paying child support; this, a man who has written praise songs that are still played on our Christian radio station.
We all know stories like that, don’t we? And chances are, the first thing in your mind is, “I thought they were such a great couple! What happened?”
Maybe they were a great couple. But even great couples can fall apart if the marriage isn’t tended well.
Think about all the things that work against marriages today. How many marriages do we know have been destroyed by pornography? Pornography is now implicated in the majority of divorces. It is not harmless. It is not something “fun” that adds “spice” to your marriage. It is poisonous, and it ensnares people, especially men. It lowers their sex drive, eats at their soul, and consumes their time. And what are we doing about it?
All addictions–workaholism, affairs, pornography, alcohol–could be avoided if we all simply were intentional in our marriages. If we decided from the outset that we would limit the computer, that we would always have dinner together, that we would spent time each night connecting, that we would put our time with our spouse as a priority, even before our kids, maybe our marriages would last.
One partner can never completely save a marriage. The other needs to agree too, and if your spouse has deserted you or cheated on you, that is not your fault. I am not blaming you.
But at the same time, carelessness is not an option. If your marriage is going well right now, don’t assume it will always be like this. Develop habits so that the things that can drive us apart don’t start taking over our marriages. We need to be vigilant. Never assume that you’re the one couple that this stuff will never hit. Never assume that your husband would never look at pornography, or that you will never be tempted to have an affair. Instead, take steps now to make sure that this won’t happen.
Every marriage break up is like the death of a small civilization. It hurts the kids, it hurts ourselves, it hurts our families.
Please take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen to you. None of us is invincible.
What do you think? How have you put hedges around your marriage? How do you deal with the pornography threat?