To Love or Not
This past week I've seen yet another marriage hit the dust. A marriage that was barely a year old; a marriage that had hardly begun, and now is over. I'd like to believe that it was an isolated case, but it's not. In the past few years I've seen other marriages crumble. Some were of very long standing. And in each case it made me want to weep.
So what are these lies I'm talking about?
One: We've fallen out of love.
I'm not sure if I want to shout "Nonsense" or "Join the real world". In the day to day of marriage, it's easy to lose that spark, to feel at times that you no longer love each other. But love isn't a feeling. And even if it is, what of the promise to love one another? This, I think, is where so many get it wrong. They think that as long as the feeling exists, then they love. But why would we make a vow based on feelings when our feelings can easily change? Surely if we made a vow to love then it's because it is possible to love - even when we don't feel like it. And if you loved once, why can't you love again?
Of course, then there's the argument where they say "we were never really in love" or "I only thought it was love" or something along similar lines. But it is possible to love even if it didn't exist in the beginning. In fact, I would go so far as to state that very few of us know what love is when we promise to love until death do us part. We might think we do, but real love, the love that endures financial difficulties, illnesses, children, job loss, grief, and just the nitty gritty of life, is something we only learn as we put it to the test and make the decision to love.
If we realise that love is an action word and start acting as if we love, we might be surprised at how the feelings follow.
Two: I'm following my heart.
I hate it when this is used to justify hurting others. It's almost as if the person is saying, "It doesn't matter who gets hurt in the process because I'm following my heart and that's all that matters". Sometimes "following our heart" has more to do with what we ate for dinner the previous night or how much sleep we've had over the past week than with anything else. Following our heart should not be our guide. Our hearts won't always tell us what is right. We can only go to God's Word for that.
Three: I deserve to be happy.
Says who? Was that in the instruction manual that you were born with? Before you turn away in disgust, take a look around at your life now. Do you have sufficient food for each day, a roof over your head, and family and friends that love you? If so, you have more than many in this world. And you're still not happy? Perhaps then, too many of us have a distorted view of happiness. Perhaps we have a romantic vision of what happiness is that has little to do with reality.
Besides, marriage is designed to make us holy not happy. When it does both, great. But when it doesn't, that's still not an excuse to walk out. The Bible is clear on what grounds divorce is allowed, and even in those instances, some marriages have risen from the ashes to be truly beautiful and inspiring. I've seen some. So perhaps instead of thinking that we're not going to be happy with this jerk we're married to and moving on to greener pastures, we would be better to set about making the best of the situation we're in and realising that, as with everything, there will be good times and bad times. And didn't we promise for the good and the bad, anyway?
I'm sure there are more lies, and I've certainly fallen victim to a few until I've had to root them out and acknowledge them for what they are, but that's a start. If there was any one piece of advice I could give couples struggling in their marriage, it's this: Fight together for your marriage because it is so worth it and never ever leave God out of the equation.