I’ve had time for rest and reflection on my two marriages that lasted over 18 years. Both of my ex-husbands are gone now; for the most part they were happy marriages.
In both instances we had fun together and initially had common goals wanting to share a house, vacation together, and take care of family. We were perfectly compatible until the very end when the relationships fell apart quickly.
In looking back, I realized that my motivation to get married was my longing to start a family. I’d dated a lot but didn’t marry until I was 31. I didn’t pray about it much; it seemed like the right time to settle down. It just didn’t work out at all like I’d planned. But we had a great time together, playing an occasional round of golf and sailing in the local boat club. It was a life that most would dream of until we parted ways over the topic of having children. It was my life-long dream, but after five years of marriage, he admitted that it wasn’t his.
My second marriage took on the role of savior in my life. I was lonely and desperate for a family. With Curtis came five brothers and sister and their offspring. Even though we tried and could never have children, I still felt like I was part of a family. We vacationed together, enjoyed music and sporting events. Our lives were full raising his children and adjusting to a new city when we moved to San Antonio.
Our human relationships were happy; there was always someone to see a movie with and we didn’t ever fight. But when tragedy struck like the death of a parent or a serious illness, instead of turning to each other, we both turned elsewhere.
My approach when facing controversy or grief has always been solitary prayer. I now see that although I was turning to God, it was interpreted as a “turning away” from another human. Although unintentional, my relationship with God started competing with my human relationship. There is nothing but sadness that can come from that competition.
I’m encountering people through my blog who are sharing similar stories. They’ve been married for years, raised children together, travel and spend holidays with family. But something is missing in their lives. I am hearing from the spouse who has deepened their faith in God, and for various reasons, their spouse has not traveled the same path. Their spouse is still a “nice person” and a good husband and father, but they are longing for a relationship where they both have a personal relationship with God and where both hearts are on fire to serve. Having a shared God takes the pressure from the messiness of human intimacy when grief strikes or things in life start going wrong.
In most cases, my friends are not planning on leaving their husbands or wives; they are dedicated Christians who know that divorce is displeasing to God. So they continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will intervene so that they can serve God together.
In a few cases, the spouse is contemplating divorce and my heart breaks for them. It is not because there is another human involved, but their marriage has stagnated in the “happy” phase.
I pray that everyone who is married or is contemplating marriage will not settle for the “happy marriage” that the world promotes and idolizes, but instead that they will find a “holy marriage” where God is at the center and honored through the union of two becoming one.
Blessings, my friend,
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