Thursday, June 7, 2012
Marriage is one of the most challenging endeavors most of us will ever undertake. We will be measured. We will be weighed. And we will be found wanting. What we do when we have been pressed will determine the course of our lives and the generations given unto our care.
Sir Knight and I have not walked the perfect, peaceful walk of marital bliss. We have fought, we have been unkind and we have known the desolation of utter aloneness. We have also loved and served and known the joy of complete oneness. There have been times when we have been convinced that our only chance to find happiness would be going our separate ways. But, by the grace of God, we have held our family together and we have learned a thing or two. We have found that we have to love each other more than we love ourselves. We have learned that we have to obey God's direction, even when it doesn't feel good. We have learned that we are responsible for our own behavior, no matter how the other person is acting. We have also learned that the price of ripping apart this family would be far too expensive for us to be willing to pay.
Divorce is the norm for the modern family. People move from one spouse to the next, leaving a wake of destruction in their path, not realizing the real consequences of their decisions.
A number of years ago, a friend of mine divorced her husband of many years. Without a doubt, he was a hard man. He was grumpy, given to a temper and not particularly appreciative of my friend's efforts to be good wife. Their place was not given the attention it deserved and their children knew only a distant, preoccupied father. Oh, there were good times - jam sessions in the living room, filling an entire pew on Sunday morning, pressing cider in the fall and family dinners, but still, my friend was unfulfilled. As time went on, she became more and more dissatisfied with her marriage. The more focused she became on her lousy marriage, the more her husband failed to meet her expectations. Soon, she began making time for a "dear family friend". He was a listening ear, a sympathetic, nonjudgmental sounding board. Lunch dates became more and more frequent and before they knew it, divorce papers where served.
My friend became the poster child for divorce. She was thrilled. Her life couldn't be better. Her new husband was attentive and kind - hanging on her every word. He filled that empty place in her soul and gave her a new lease on life. Her home took on the look of careful attention and her dress and manner reflected her new position. Her life was complete - a new truck in the yard, new furniture in the house and a new man in her bed. Life couldn't have been better.
But little by little, the children began to unravel. Once, her kids had been well-adjusted home schooled kids who were secure in their life. Suddenly, their father had been replaced by a man they didn't know. Homeschooling was replaced with a classroom and their mother was replaced by a woman they hardly knew. Their new "dad" completely remodeled their home, erasing any vestige of their former life and their own father was reduced to a mere shadow of his former self. His life had been stolen. Everything and everyone he held dear was gone and he was crushed with the knowledge that he wasn't man enough to safeguard his own family from invading forces.
While mom thrived, the children paid the price. One child is wracked with a deadly disease wrought from poor lifestyle choices. One child has sought love with any willing person only to be used and discarded. Other children were self-destructing, making choices that would affect their entire lives and the lives of those around them. All those lives - derailed in smoldering carnage. These children represent the unintended consequences of the sins of the parents. They are the bleeding, broken victims of their parents selfishness.
I am quite aware that this will be a less-than-popular post. Truth often is. I do understand how difficult it can be to keep a marriage together. I know it can be painful, unfulfilling and seemingly impossible. But, I know that the rewards for staying, for sacrificing, for loving, are immeasurable. It will be hard. Stay. Do the right thing, even if your spouse doesn't. Love your spouse more than you love yourself. It will hurt. It will cost you something. Do it anyway. Your life is worth it. Your children are worth it. Don't allow the unintended consequences of divorce to ripple through your life or the lives of your children.
Stay. Love. Stand in the gap between your family and the evil of divorce. Don't fall prey to the unintended consequences of ripping the life from those that you love the most. Love truly covers a multitude of sins. Love each other like Christ loves you. Your children will rise up and call you blessed.