We have so many couples connected to our marriage builders, and many more who receive these forwarded by friends like you, so I recognize that simply by the law of large numbers, many couples reading this are struggling with thoughts about “what if” and “options” when troubled times hit in marriage.
Hear my heart, but also take counsel: You’ll never truly have the marriage God desires for you, and you’ll never truly fix things that seem broken, as long as ending it is an option. Stop. Read that again, clear your head, and search your heart.
Is it an option at any level? You’ll never fix your marriage, you’ll never have the kind of marriage God designed for you, if ending it is an option. Don’t fool yourself, either; thoughts of a marriage with someone else won’t ever be what God wants for you if ending this one is an option, so don’t be fooled, misinformed, or ill-advised.
I know that’s not popular advice with this generation, but with my parents, I never heard the word divorce…Ever! I was in my house eighteen years and I never heard it come out of their mouths. It was never an option. As long as that is still an option you’re shutting yourself out from real options to help your marriage. It’s only whenever quitting ceases to be an option that you can get on the road to recovery. Some of you need to step back and remind yourself you made a covenant, for better or for worse, and that wasn’t a cliché; that was a vow to God, and right now as you look at your marriage through that vow, you may be in the “worse” part. In the past, it may have been in the “better” but now it’s bad; that may be the facts, but facts aren’t truth. Fact is, it’s worse. Truth is, you don’t need character when things are “better,” you need character for when things are “worse.” The Bible teaches us that we have this treasure in Earthern vessels. Listen to me: inside of your husband, inside of your wife, there is something valuable that God has placed down inside him/her. You caught glimpses of it, like light hitting the tip of a diamond barely visible under a pile of dirt, in the past. You’ve seen snap shots of it as the lens opened up and you saw pictures of it while you were dating, and it made you fall madly in love.
Now, though, it seems like life has thrown dirt all over that treasure and you feel like all you do all day is sift through dirt, clump after clump, pile after pile.
I’ve shared this principle at our marriage conferences: Talk to a miner, and he’ll tell you that you have to move a ton of dirt to get to one ounce of gold. We don’t go into marriage understanding that, because all we saw up front was easy-to-find pieces of the treasure, handed to us, all pre-polished. We didn’t even have to dig to find it. We go into marriage and it’s all hope, all potential, all gold. However, the fact is marriage is like mining. You’ve gotta wade through a ton of dirt. You gotta get in there with your bulldozer to find the ounces of gold, and oh, how precious that gold is when you find it. Talk to the miner long enough, he’ll also share with you that he never went in there looking for the dirt. He only dealt with the dirt because he knew the dirt was just part of the process in getting to the gold! Some of you thought marriage was gold, and you didn’t know dirt was part of the process, and now that you’re miring through the dirt you don’t know how to respond because you don’t think there’s any gold in sight.
Don’t quit! Keep shoveling that dirt! There is not a person reading this who does not have something precious and valuable in them under the dirt! Don’t let the dream of an uncommon marriage die on the doorstep. You’re closer than you think.
Marriage Builder Action step:
List three treasures you saw in your spouse when you first got married. This week, set a few minutes aside before you go to sleep. Share with each other that failure isn’t an option and that you’re more committed today than ever. Begin sharing with each other the treasures you remember seeing in each other.