Wednesday, March 2, 2016

breaking the vows

Read this aloud with me:
I love myself.

I love making time for myself, spoiling myself, catering to myself, putting myself first.

I love doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, exactly the way I want it done.

I love myself, and because I love myself marriage is hard and divorce is appealing.

Marriage is hard because it's not just about me. Divorce is appealing because it's all about me and what I want for myself. When I'm vulnerable, if I'm not mindful, I would trade my spouse for myself. A friend once said that divorce is generally caused by selfishness. She put it kindly. If you ask me, divorce is almost always selfishness at its finest2.

Because I'm not where I want to be, because life is harder than I thought it would be, because loving someone else is maddening, because we no longer connect--because this isn't what it's "supposed" to be, I am somehow justified to quit.
Divorce is almost always selfishness at its finest. [tweet]
A selfishness that says marriage is about me.
A selfishness that says my needs are more important than yours.
A selfishness that says I fight for myself.
A selfishness that says I'm not happy with you.
A selfishness that says this relationship is inconvenient.
A selfishness that says I would rather be safe than more Christ-like.
Selfishness at its finest.

We get caught up in the romantic appeal of two-becoming-one yet refuse to let two become one. When faced with personal sacrifice, we struggle to put me second. Wonder why we should put us first. Find a way to avoid actually living out that two-becoming-one because it's painful. We put our personal security, dreams, and secrets on the line with no guarantee they'll be honored.

In our darkest moments, the thief sneaks into our hearts and, after stealing our joy, sets out to kill our marriages. Our never-ending bills, broken trust, and rebellious kids? His attempts to drive us into survival-of-the-fittest mode where only one of us can make it out alive. Our strained communication, emotional separation, and lack of physical intimacy? His methods to keep us on opposing sides, as though our relationship is a war to be won.

Dear friend, you're not alone. The walls you've built around you may make it seem that way, but you're not. You're in the company of friends and a God who want to fight with you to help you use your marriage to make God undeniably known:

   steadfast endurance,
   ridiculous patience,
   l     o     n     g     suffering,
   unparalleled grace,
   humbling mercy and
   crazy love.

It starts with us trading comfort for growth.

in this together,

1 Dr. Glenn Myers, Professor of Church History and Theological Studies, Crown College
2 The only condition, in my opinion, under which divorce should be an option is one in which emotional or physical abuse is present. When a life is in jeopardy, then I believe we are permitted to consider divorce as an option.