How To Make Marriage Last
Divorce Yourself First – You can never really be happy in a marriage until you get a divorce from yourself, giving up your “me time”, the video game obsession, or insisting that you should not have to do household chores. More often than not, the most common “love interest” that undermines a marriage is not necessarily another person, but rather, one partner being in love with self. Rather than confronting our own faults, or making meaningful, sacrificial changes, we seek a separation from our spouse.
Treat Each Other Like Christians – “As a fellow heir of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7). Many marriages fail because people were never taught the final goal of the relationship, which is to make it to heaven together. Obviously, if the final goal is to build wealth, own a home together, have a convenient lover, or have successful children, then should it surprise us when our marriages succeed or fail in conjunction with these things? Superficial things, destined for eventual failure themselves (Matthew 6:19-21), cannot keep a marriage together.
Stop Listening To Culture – If all we listen to is our culture’s misconception about marriage, we may get off on the wrong foot. Love songs today say less about true, biblical love and more about lustful, fleeting romance. Movies incessantly portray married life as boring, unexciting, and unfulfilling. Oddly enough, many of our literature’s “heroes” are nothing more than adulterers and fornicators. Every sitcom makes marriage seem mundane and frustrating, with husbands constantly seeking escape from the drudgery of their lives, and wives desperately longing for creative outlets. What is very liberating, though, is to think of love not as an uncontrollable, erratic emotion, but a conscious choice. We do not have to fall in and out of love when we view it as an action, rather than a feeling. The wise Christian realizes that marriage is not about fulfilling “self”, but sacrificing for the “other”. Both the husband and the wife are literally commanded to love one another (Ephesians 5:25, Titus 2:4), which tells me that I am capable of love even when I do not “feel” like it.
Differences Do Not Drive People Apart – I despise the term “Irreconcilable Differences” when it is used as an excuse for divorce. I have seen vastly different people remain happily married for a lifetime, so I do not buy it that being “incompatible” is a valid reason to part ways. In fact, are our differences not the very things that make marriage exhilarating, exciting, engaging, and constantly challenging? Is it not the clash of personalities that gives spice to a relationship? I think I could hardly stand to be in the same room with a spouse who was exactly like me. Really, the only difference that can drive a wedge between people is sin. That is the real incompatibility that can hurt a marriage.