[Based on Jimmy Evans’ book, Our Secret Paradise]
Marriages are ending in divorce at an alarming rate. Over 50% dissolve in divorce and many couples choose to live together bypassing marriage. Disillusionment among the younger generations has reached an all-time high concerning marital commitment and happiness.
The formula for a successful marriage is simple - biblical relational skills, plus realistic expectations, equals a successful marriage.
The number one cause of divorce will surprise most people. It’s not infidelity, too much time at the office, neglect, etc. The number one reason for divorce is disappointment. Couples set unrealistic expectations on one another that assure failure.
Luke 14:25-33 teaches a valuable lesson concerning marital union. The passage focuses on the cost of following Christ. Before saying yes to Jesus as your Lord and Savior, count the cost. Two illustrations are given that show the importance of this principle.
First, verses 28-30 describe a man building a tower, but unable to complete it.
Second, verses 31-33 describe another illustration of counting the cost. A king with ten thousand soldiers must carefully weigh whether he fights against an army of twenty thousand.
Marriage also has a cost that must be considered by a couple before they say I do. Let’s take a look at the marriage vows. Truth-telling is illustrated in the vows with these reality statements: for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness or health, etc.
The reality in marriage includes worse, poorer and sickness. Feelings then become secondary to commitment.
There are three unchangeable realities in marriage. We all have hurts, we all have quirks, and we all have ignorance of the opposite sex that only marriage will cure, and it will take many years for this ignorance to be erased.
Marriage really heals us if we do it the right way. Actually, we marry our healer. Men are to be like Christ, or the anointed one to their wives. Every woman needs to hear these words from her husband: You’re worth fighting for.
Women are to be like the Holy Spirit, or a man’s helper. Every man needs to hear these words from his wife: You have what it takes, or I believe in you.
Many marriages do not work because they have a consumer mentality. “I bought it, it’s broken, and I want another one.”
“You’re screwed up, I don’t like it, and I want another spouse.”
The gardening mentality views marriage as a long-term commitment. “It’s sick so I will fertilize, water and prune it.” In other words, I will commit myself to the healing process.
Another way of describing a successful view of marriage verses a failure in marriage is a renter’s mentality verses an owner’s mentality. If there is a serious foundational problem, the renter will not spend the money, time and effort to correct the structure. An owner looks at it differently: I will live here the rest of my life and pass this home on to my children.
The temporary inconvenience is overshadowed by the long-term view.
Marriage must have that kind of commitment to weather the storms and challenges of life.
Do you have a gardening or consumer mentality in your marriage? Are you a renter or owner in your relationship?
Please evaluate where you are, and if your answer is a consumer or renter, I hope you will consider becoming a gardener and owner.
Commitment builds the atmosphere for marriage to work. Be a triumphant realist and always believe you and your spouse will enjoy your marriage ‘til death do you part.