Is Your Marriage Adrift?
- 2007 5 Jun
What's going on? I recently came to the realization that I have nearly as many close friends and family who have been divorced as I do those who are still married to their original spouse. Surely these wonderful people didn't just wake up one day and decide to call it quits. I don't believe their marriages broke up. I believe they slowly went adrift.
Marriages that end in divorce often do so quietly, one subtle conflict at a time. Emotional and physical needs go unmet. Hearts begin to harden as they turn brittle and break. With love and intimacy unfulfilled at home, yearnings to be cherished and admired cause many to seek companionship from a lonely soul outside the bounds of marriage. With clouded judgment and compromised convictions, the love lost between once happy newlyweds ends in an ugly, public legal battle over kids, cars and collateral.
Friends and family wonder what went wrong. Sophisticated cover-ups and fake smiles buried symptoms of a marriage gone sour. Most of the men sought respect and rarely gained it. The majority of the women desired to be cherished but never felt it. Selfishness set hearts adrift as needs failed to be met.
Communication was either heated and escalated or cold and nonexistent. Kids were often caught in the crossfire and became collateral damage as mom and dad failed to recognize each other as queen and king. Instead, they modeled how to treat each other worse than friends.
What would people think of your marriage if it was the storyline for a reality TV show? Would they believe what goes on behind the scenes as garage doors close and blinds are pulled? Does the act you portray in life match the reality of life at home?
Truth is we are only as good a Christian as we are at home. The depth of our faith is measured in our interaction with those we claim to love most. Despite what others might believe about us, the truth of who we are is undeniable at home as actions truly speak louder than words.
How many married couples reading this article consider their marriage to be great? What are we to learn from marriages gone bad? How do we anchor our marriages and avoid the pain of those who have gone adrift?
The solutions are many and troubles complex, but I suggest that we must first recognize that our marriages have gone adrift. We then need to do all we can to free ourselves of any selfishness that prevents us from lovingly serving and meeting the needs of our spouse.
Finally, we must communicate our love and our own needs on a regular basis, realizing that true love is more than a feeling but most of all a commitment to fulfill God's purpose for our marriage. Otherwise, we will soon be on our way to becoming another divorce statistic, wondering what went wrong and how this could have ever happened to me and the love of my life.
(c) 2007 Baptist Press. Ray E. Sanders is executive director of the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger, online at http://www.BaptistMessenger.com.