It is a very sad statistic that marriages in churches now have the same statistic for divorce as those who are not in church. In this marriage conference we learned about complacency and how most couples fight and come to no resolution then coast along never resolving the deeper issues.
Steve and Debbie Wilson led the conference and here is a link to their website. They counsel couples when they are not on the road presenting their conference. They say they have had an increase in couples with "empty nest syndrome" and also a lot more elderly couples coming in thinking of ending their marriage. Can you imagine being married to someone for 50 years then divorcing?? It's a crazy notion, but it does happen.
I can understand the parents with an empty nest. A lot of times parents invest their lives in their children without nurturing their marriage. When the kids are gone they find they have nothing in common and no common bond that ties them together any longer. It doesn't surprise me to hear of couples divorcing after 20-30 years of marriage.
So why don't Christian couples work harder at keeping their marriages together?? Why don't we nurture them when they are good to make them even better? As difficult as it is to plow through hurts and miscommunication, the reward is overwhelmingly worth the pain, risk and heartache to work through it all.
I am thankful for a church that not only supports counseling (since I am a counselor) but also has ministries in place and are creating ministries to minister to families with the sole purpose of keeping them together. Just last month our church hosted their very first marriage intensive for couples whose marriages were at rock bottom. I have seen firsthand the difference that the marriage intensive has made in their lives.
If you have read anything I have written in the past you know I am passionate about couples keeping their love strong. You can't expect something to grow and flourish if you never tend to it and nurture it. Yet couples come up with so many excuses not to go on a date night. Money being the primary reason. But there are solutions to any obstacle keeping couples from investing time in their marriage.
Here are a few:
- Get with another couple with kids similar in age to yours and share babysitting responsibilities. One weekend they keep your kids while you go out, the next you keep theirs...FREE.
- Find cheap or free things to do on a date. Yes, it would be nice to go to a nice dinner and a movie, but there is nothing wrong with heading to Taco Bell, then sitting in a book store or coffee shop the rest of the date just talking and sharing about each other's week.
- Take advantage of church's parent's night out. Even if you don't go to church there, you can still use their program. That's why they are doing it, for outreach.
- Last but not least. If you absolutely cannot leave the house, after you put the kids to bed have a romantic dinner at home or have a picnic on the living room floor. Set mood music and candles to change the environment.
I guess my point to this post is, we can't be great a mom or dad if our marriages are in shambles. It will affect our parenting. It will add stress and a sense of loneliness and despair. Instead of having a partner to help you raise your children and deal with the stressors of life, you have added stress because you chose not to invest in your marriage.
Not every marriage is perfect and you certainly can't control every aspect of your marriage or things that come up in marriage. However, everyone can nurture their marriage...if they just take the time!!