- If you are looking for some ideas on how to help your marriage thrive, read the below blog and check out the recommended books at the bottom of the page.
- If you are looking for someone who is an ordained pastor to officiate your wedding and to do premarital counseling with you and your significant other, please click here
Three Factors in Every Failed Marriages
Marriage is one of the most intense pictures of Gods love for us. Jesus referred to himself as the ‘bridegroom’ (John 3:29) and used the picture of marriage as the fulfillment of His second coming. There are also many verses that refer to His people, those who truly believe in Him, as His bride.
In the divine marriage, Jesus gave himself up for his bride to save her. Therefore marriage for us is a sacred reminder and a binding commitment for a man and a woman to love, respect, and submit to each other.
Unfortunately, marriage in western cultures is not viewed with the same sacred lens that Jesus demonstrated for us.
I believe most of the overarching reason marriage is less sacred today is a result of three factors: Pursuit of happiness, definition of love, and lack of preparation. Adding those three factors on top of growing apathy toward God makes marriage almost meaningless.
The first of the three factors is ‘definition of love‘. When people are first ‘in love’ what they are really experiencing is a mixture of passion and excitement. The other person makes their heart rate rise and makes them nervous. Their thoughts are consumed with impressing the other person and making the other person like them, thinking that if they could just like you or love you, then you would be happy. But after awhile the passion and excitement fade and you either become a complacent boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse (which leads to more problems in the future) or you start pursuing happiness in other avenues or people.
The second of the three factors listed above is ‘Pursuit of happiness‘. The first 6 months – 3 years of marriage is often referred to as the ‘honeymoon’ phase. There is passion, there is excitement, lots of romantic gestures, and circumstantial happiness. But somewhere between year one and year three (give or take), the passion, the excitement, and the romance give way to kids, chores, yard work, house work, extra-curricular activities, higher demands at work, and on and on. It isn’t uncommon after years or marriage to look over at your spouse and not recognize the person you married. You become unhappy with them, and you start to seek joy and fulfillment in the very things that derailed and/or distracted you from your marriage.
The third factor is ‘lack of preparation‘. There is so much effort put into the wedding day that we often forget to take care of ourselves and our relationship with our significant other. Finances, intimacy, unrealistic expectations, chores, etc, are common areas of tension in marriages. Much of the tension revolves around lack of communication or an inability to communicate in a loving and respectful manner.
Having the right tools to communicate well with your spouse can mean the difference between a failed or successful marriage. It can also eliminate the challenges that come when the passion and excitement of a new relationship fades as well as the tendency to look for happiness and fulfillment in your kids or job.
However without Christ, marriage is often self-serving and won’t be able to be completely fulfilling or accomplish the ultimate purpose of marriage. But with Christ we can begin to understand that marriage isn’t about us, and we can serve our spouse as Christ served and died for us. As Gary Thomas said in his book, Sacred Marriage, ‘Marriage is designed to make us holy, rather than happy.’ That isn’t to say that you won’t have ultimate joy in marriage, but that the focus isn’t on your own happiness. Your focus is on God and His will, which will bring about ultimate joy and satisfaction in your life and marriage.
Recommended Books on Marriage:
You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity By Francis and Lisa Chan
Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy & Kathy Keller
Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerich
Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts By Drs Les and Leslie Parrot