Writer’s Name: Debrayta Salley
Journal Topic: For Better or Worse
When I think about what accounts for the high divorce rate in America, the first thing that comes to mind is that there needs to be more effort and energy put into preparing for the union of marriage than planning for the wedding event. Just think about it, most little girls grow up with dreams of the fairytale wedding with the white dress, veil, flowers, and butterflies in their stomachs as they walk down the aisle towards their Knight in Shining Armor who is going to save her from her life as she knows it, and once the ceremony ends they will “Live Happily Ever After.” On the contrary, the marriage relationship is by no means a fairytale and the more this fact is accepted and addressed in society, the more knowledgeable and prepared our sons and daughters (through strong examples and pre-marital counseling) will be before they “Jump the Broom.” One of the most profound statements that I have ever read about marriage was written by Gary Thomas in the book “Sacred Marriage.”He states, “What if God didn’t design marriage to be easier? What if God had an end in mind that went beyond our happiness, our comfort, and our desire to be infatuated and happy as if the world were a perfect place?” Are you kidding me? You mean to tell me that our life isn’t going to be perfect and that we’re going to experience discomfort and unhappiness along the way after we say I Do? I hate to break the bad news to you, but unfortunately, yes you are! Please do not let this fact kill your desire to be married someday if you are single or to hang in there if you are married.
Sadly, when a person is single, society doesn’t typically view their status as a positive one and as a result many of them have been driven to find their “missing rib” or “help meet” by any means necessary. Many think that in order to be whole, they have to be connected to someone of the opposite sex and as a result, they rush into unions that do not compliment or suit their best interests. By teaching our children early on that they are already “fearfully and wonderfully made” and complete as the individual that God made them to be, they will no longer search for another human being to complete them. In addition, we also need to build them up and prepare them to be self-sufficient emotionally, physically, financially, purposefully, and spiritually. The season of singleness is the time in which an individual can nurture and develop a selfless/servant mindset so that when they do find that special someone, they are prepared to put the needs of their mate above their own.
Another contributing factor is that many do not view marriage as a covenant, but as a contract that they can walk away from as soon as the going gets tough. The vow “For Better or Worse” no longer holds the same power as it did many years ago since it has become much easier (or so it seems) to pack up the bags and walk away - and in most cases into another relationship that seems to better serve their needs. In order to reduce the divorce rate, we have to get back to the foundational intent of marriage. Instead of walking away, marriage partners need to make a solid effort to join together to fight for the vows that they made and not give up on their families so easily. In instances where the parties aren’t able to come to a resolution, mediation and/or counseling should always be considered before divorcing. If more couples would cancel their marriage contract and take action to fulfill Covenant Promise in Marriage, the high divorce rate in America that exists today will have no other choice but to be reduced. Ultimately, the key to having a successful marriage is to work hard at building a sound relationship before you say I Do and even harder once you become one.
Here are a few books that I would suggest:
Preparing for Marriage – Authors: David Boehi, Brent Nelson, Jeff Schulte & Lloyd Shadrach
Sacred Marriage- Author: Gary Thomas
Making Marriage Work – Author: Joyce Meyer