Friday, September 11, 2009

Love Is...


I've recently heard of yet another marriage being crushed, shattered, torn apart. They are in the legal phase of settling the issues that go with divorce, especially when there are two young children involved, and my heart bleeds for each the husband, wife, son and daughter. What is the world coming to, I often wonder when I hear of these tragedies. And, yes, even though death to the body or fatal illness is not involved, divorce to me is a definite tragedy. It's death to commitment, death the most sacred institution next to faith in God, death to marriage.

Many are asked what they feel is the most important element that binds a marriage until death do they part, and I have to say for me it's commitment. My husband and I have been married nineteen years and if I'm honest, they've not all been joyful happy years. Some, especially when the children were young and sleep was rare, were riddled with disappointment, boredom, and quietness when speaking would have been better. We, like most married couples, have ridden the wave of ups and downs through the years and thank God daily that He's guided us along the way and kept us committed to each other.

So I have to ask, what is it that shreds commitment between husband and wife? If it's not adultery, physical or mental abuse, what could possibly cause the commitment between a married couple to dissolve, to no longer be the thread that keeps them attached through the lulls in their relationship? What could possibly be worth the cost of growing old together and having that one special someone on this earth that absolutely no one knows better than you and vise versa to share life's ups and downs with? I'm not judging here, or at least trying hard not to, but because of the marriage I live in, I have a really hard time understanding how two people's love for one another can just dissolve to the point of no recovery. I know it happens, I just don't like it, especially because it scares me. If it can happen to them, then surely it could happen to us. So how do we fight it off?

I treasure the commitment my husband and I hold fast to. It's that commitment that weathered the storms we've passed through already, and I pray will trustingly guide us through the inevitable tsunami's to come in this huge world we live in. It's the blessing that I hope beyond hope assures us of better tomorrows to be shared with one another. It's the gift of a life-long future together, I pray. And I pray this for both hubby and I, as I'm all to aware that just because I'm committed to weather the storms, doesn't ensure that hubby will always be. Life is far too complex for that.

Divorce happens, and for those who have been thrust in that tragedy, I pray for a new beginning for each of you, and for the strength and courage to accept God's answers to your pleas. May you be restored through the emotional pain, to a joyful, vibrant child of His!

Lord, please don't ever let us lose sight of commitment, no matter how fragile it might seem at times, grant that it be strong enough to bind us together when nothing else seems to work. In Jesus my Saviours Name, I pray this. Amen.

Surrendering to Him,



Diane said...

Good post. Two of my cousins, in one months time have filed for divorce and I am saddened by it all.

Tabitha Bird said...

divorce is indeed very sad. My parents are divorced and even though I know it was the right (only) choice my mother had (the relationship was violent) it is still sad that happily ever after will never be.

Jill Kemerer said...

What an honest post. I love that you don't gloss over the tough periods of marriage. I feel so blessed to be married to my husband.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I think your last paragraphy says it all...constantly turning things over to God is the best protection. I love my man, but we work at this marriage thing.
~ Wendy

Jessica Nelson said...

Awesome post Eileen! I absolutely agree about the commitment part. There's so much to be said, but I have to go now so I just want you to know how well you said this, and how kindly. :-)

Stephanie Faris said...

I think the fact that so many marriages do fall apart makes it even more valuable when two people do make that commitment to each other and stick with it over the long haul.

Wendy Love said...

What a heartfelt cry you have expressed in today's post. I am a christian and was happily married to my first husband for 24 years. The day he announced he was leaving was a complete shock to me. I still have not figured it all out. But I can say this... it only takes one moment, one thought, that 'maybe I could be happier outside of this marriage' and Satan will jump right in and give you all the help you need. It takes very little. Anyone who knew us as a couple and knew my husband was totally shocked that he had an affair. It can happen to anyone. We need to be strong and resist. My husband was not strong.
For anyone out there not totally experienced in this area, as they watch others break up, here are some tips. For many, love did not die...someone just made a bad choice.
When a marriage ends, it is a death, and yet...there is no funeral, and no one comes to visit and say how sorry they are. No one came to see me and remember the good things about my marriage and what a nice guy my husband was.
Now that I know what it is like, I always treat the person going through a divorce as if there has been a death and I tell them how sorry I am.
Usually, especially in the christian world, you get only judgment, not sympathy, as you navigate the dark waters of divorce. The lack of outside support doubles the pain.
BUT God! God is there no matter what we go through and I can testify that he picked me up and put his arms around me and carried me through.
It has been 14 years now and I still think of my first husband frequently, still cry over the loss of what was so precious to me, still grieve. God has given me a new life and a good life, but the pain is still there as well as the regret.
I think that often people on the outside assume that we divorced people 'get over it' and 'move on' and I am sure some do. But there are probably others like me. I moved on, but I did not get over it.
I am not sharing all of this to be morose but to bring understanding. I hope this might shed some light on this subject for those who have not experienced it firsthand.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Wendy, I am sorry for your loss, and thank you for shining your light of wisdom here.

I get the dissolving marriages over faithfulness and abuse, I totally understand that, but what about the ones who give up on marriage when neither faithfulness or abuse is the cause? That's were I really struggle with a lack of commitment in one or both partners. I really feel for them and all that they have lost in just giving up on one another.

Thanks for sharing the needs of those who are dealt this path. Now I know that it's okay to give them a hug and just say "I'm sorry". I often thought that they'd just prefer to brush it aside, but that didn't seem right either.

Susan R. Mills said...

Great post, Eileen! It made me want to go call my husband.

Tana said...

Wendy Love, your story broke my heart! I pray joy over your life to wipe away every pain you have endured. Thankfully we have an awesome God. I've sen my friends marriage's dissolve and it grieves me and scares me. I'd like to think my marriage is rock solid but Wendy is right Satan needs very little help to destroy.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

i love this post. i love your heart behind it. and my heart also pleads for fresh starts and steadfast faithfulness for those who have been through divorce. i'm reading Christina Bery's debut novel The Familiar Stranger. such a great book for struggling marriages. there CAN be a fresh slate.

Where Romance Meets Therapy

Jeanette Levellie said...

Thanks for this poignant post, Eileen. It brought tears to my eyes. My upset with my Honey over when we are going to replace our too-old car seems quite petty now.
Blessings on all our marriages.
Audience of ONE

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for your heartfelt post, Eileen.

I think for many of us there is a danger in thinking marriage will be the stuff of romance novels and movies. However, we who write romances know how much our characters must suffer in order to change and grow into the partner the other needs.

That growth and hard work continue after the vows are said. If anything, the challenges and struggles will become greater as children, health issues, financial struggles, aging parents, etc. come into the mix. Marriage isn't an end. It's a beginning. And it takes commitment and hard work.

Gwynly and I have been married twenty-one years, and some of those were challenging, but our faith in the Lord, our commitment and our unwillingness to entertain thoughts counterproductive to our marriage have seen us through. The result is a friendship and a love deeper than anything I ever dreamed of.

Jody Hedlund said...

I think you summarized the ups and downs of marriage well. We live in a throw away society. And so when things get tough or "broken" we throw it away, even marriages. Instead of sticking with it and weathering the hard times. Just like with writing too, right? We stick with it during the hard times because we're committed!

Warren Baldwin said...

I spent an hour today talking to a man whose wife just took him to court. They are not divorced, just separated so far, but his payments to her will leave him so broke he won't have money to live on himself. Literally. Where there should be love there is greed on the one hand and now intense anger on the other. I am grieving now for them and the kids.

You touched on several vitally important topics. Commitment is so key. I stress that in wedding ceremonies. Why do we have a vow? I believe that is what hold us together when the emotions struggly. Problem is, vows don't mean today what they once did.

I really appreciate Wendy's comments, too.

Outstanding post!

Carmen said...

I hear what Wendy is saying. My cousin's husband left and she still hasn't totally gotten over it. She has remarried, but she still grieves the 'what if' part. She hated the divorce, but he would not stay. It is a death, only they still live. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. My heart goes out to anyone who goes through it. No one goes unscathed. Now we can understand why God hates divorce.

Georgiana Daniels said...

It's terribly sad. I praise God for carrying us through the hard times, as I know everyone has them. Especially when kids are involved, it's heartbreaking. Thanks for the post and the reminder about commitment!