I feel like I need to apologize for this post ahead of time. First of all, because I'm extremely blunt, and second of all, because it's going to hit some of you right in the gut as you read it.
Yesterday I was driving home and passed a billboard advertising "cheap divorces starting at $199!"
I was totally baffled. Is this real?! I was in such an emotional rage over a sign on the side of the road that I had to come home and vent about it.
In a country where the divorce rate has toppled over 50%, and websites specifically designed for cheating on your spouse actually exist, it's easy to look at divorce as something that "just happens" when two people can't figure it out. I'm 23 years old and i've never been married (cue the "you don't know what you're talking about" comments), but I have been in love to the point that I feel like I could spend the rest of my life with someone.
So my question is, what happens to that? What changes so much in a marriage to where two people completely lose that longing for each other that they once had before (and after, to a point) they spoke those meaningful vows? Is it really that easy to just give up? I understand that certain situations are nearly impossible to overcome, because everyone copes with infidelity in their own way, but what about the other situations I hear about that are so ridiculous I almost laugh?
In a relationship, I was always one of those people who had to be entertained for me to stay interested. I always have been. If we got too comfortable, you know, if we got to know each other to the point that I felt like we had learned everything there is to know about each other, and someone else happened to pay more attention to me, I was ready to run. If I got bored, I would start looking elsewhere for something more intriguing, more fun, or more.. "new". One day I woke up and thought to myself, "there is always, always something else to learn about the person you're in love with." I realized that so many people end relationships and marriages simply because it has become boring or monotonous. Because your husband stopped hugging you at the sink while you did the dishes and you noticed. Because he hasn't brought home flowers in years. Because your wife occasionally skips a day or two of cooking dinner. Because she "let herself go" (God forbid the woman can't snap back to a size 0 after having three kids but okay). Because you had kids together and suddenly you weren't the center of his/her attention. Because you didn't have a long enough engagement (because hmm.. you should probably get to know each other VERY well first) and they are "different now." Because you haven't had a date night in over a month and neither of you have really cared to mention it. Because one of you noticed this attractive woman or man at work who gives you so much more attention than the one who "loves" you back at home, and you're thinking maybe, just maybe you married the wrong person. Because this other woman or man really catches your eye on social media, and seems so much better than your current significant other.
What's old and comfortable isn't broken.. and I think the divorce rate would drastically decrease if others realized the same thing.
In this day and time, relationships and marriage truly are a challenge. I honestly applaud everyone who can make it work. We're constantly having Christian Greys and playboy models and that hot person on our Facebook friends list thrown in our faces. The temptation is always there, just waiting for your one moment of weakness when you start to believe someone else could be more fun, more loving, more caring, or more intriguing than the person you have at home.
But you're wrong.. and eventually you're going to realize it's a never ending cycle. Being too comfortable with your significant other is not plausible for a breakup, infidelity, or divorce.
I'm constantly hearing the reason for (insert name here)'s divorce being "We just grew separate ways and we're two totally different people now." Suck it up, and find a way to integrate your paths again. At some point, you signed up to be with this person for the rest of your life. Of course you're going to have different paths, different hobbies, and different aspirations. HELLO?! You are two totally different individuals. If you wanted to marry someone identical to yourself, being alone sounds like a better option for you.
Stop marrying people with the thought that if it doesn't work out, the divorce option is always a fall back. Stop treating a marriage like something disposable. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:31) Go home. Hug and kiss the other part to your one flesh, and remember why you chose them in the first place. Marriage is a unification of two sinners. Don't forget that. Neither of you are perfect. There will be times that you'll fail each other, mess up, or do something hurtful. During these times, remember God's definition of love, and remember that loving one another deeply will give you the ability to overcome and forgive those sins.
Here are a few more verses for you. Start turning to God (and your spouse, of course) during rough times in your marriage, rather than ranting on your Facebook status or to your family and friends (they don't know and love your spouse like you do, and won't forgive them as easily!). Give those of us who aren't married something to look forward to.
"Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." Mark 10:9
"Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:2-3
and my favorite, from 1 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. Love never fails."