Recently I read a post by a mom who had triplets close in age to my children. And even though this wasn’t the topic of her post, rather it was focused on kid sleep issues, she made this comment in passing, “the baby’s been sleeping with my husband and I (who are about an inch away from divorce).” That parenthetical has stuck in my head on auto-replay. I started writing this post a few weeks ago, but couldn’t come to terms with how to say what I wanted to say.
Lately, divorcing couples have assaulted me and my comfort zone. I know two triplet moms who are finalizing or in the midst of divorces. They have, respectively, 7 month olds and 2 year olds. I know of several triplet families that are “near” divorce, self-professed. I am watching several couples without multiples debate whether it’s worth it to continue through the battlefield their marriages have become. It is bloodshed everywhere I turn this year.
Maybe I am particularly aware of it given my childhood. I swore because my parents got divorced that I never would. And I waited a long time to get married, deciding early on that I’d rather be alone than in an angry marriage or nursing divorce-injuries. I recognize that I’ve been blessed. That I have a husband that I love, that loves me back, and that is committed to making our marriage, our life, our home work. It doesn’t mean we don’t fight, we had a doozy of one two weeks ago. Marriage is WORK. It does mean though, at least for Bray and me, at the end of the day we love each other and are committed to providing a safe and happy home for our children and ourselves.
But there are a lot of couples out there that are either “an inch away” from leaving their marriage behind permanently or have already done so. Certainly some of those situations can not be helped – a spouse leaves you for another or is abusive. But so many of these marriages can be restored.
Once a wedge has developed in our marriages, it becomes easy to focus on the bad rather than the good. To highlight the bad to the other person. To allow everything to become a massive battle even if it’s unimportant. You feel the need to be right regardless of whether it’s worth the damage that need causes. What if, instead of only looking for the negative, you only looked for the positive. You only spoke about the positive. I wonder, if we could start reversing the process. Slowly, of course. You don’t go from an inch away from divorce to a mile away from divorce overnight. But you might be able to be two inches away from divorce overnight. And then six inches. And then a foot. It’s work, but it can be done if you are willing to put in the effort.
I led a bible study one summer from a tiny little book by Lysa Terkeurst, who I quote periodically. It’s called Capture His Heart. I highly recommend this little book. I’ll even mail you a copy – I keep extras around my house. An important thing she points out is that you can only do the work for you. You can’t do the work for both of you. And you can’t keep score. You can’t expect a certain response for some new positive behavior or action you implement. You have to do it because you want your marriage to work. You do not want to be a statistic. You may not like your husband today, but surely you can look back and remember why you fell in love with him. Surely you can respect him. Surely you can raise children that will love and respect their father. And if you don’t think, in this moment, that you can, then God can. God can restore your marriage. And He wants to. If you think you have it bad, I assure you, I have some friends whose stories would stand your hair on end. But they committed to themselves, to God, to their children, that they would try, and God has restored their marriages in a way that I thought would never be possible.
I encourage you today, if your marriage is in a dark spot, focus on one positive thing about your husband. Speak kind words. Move the needle, even if it’s only another inch. Pray for restoration. God wants to intervene.
Matthew 4 – “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Proverbs 31 – A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
I Corinthians 13 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Matthew 7 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Ephesians 5 – For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory…forever.