Several years ago, I was involved with a Toastmaster’s Club. It was a wonderful way to meet some fascinating people and hone my speaking skills at the same time. One of the members was a divorce lawyer, and I remember he told me, “Valentine’s Day is the beginning of divorce season.” I was a little shocked and asked him to explain. “No one wants to get divorced over Christmas or start the New Year with a filing. But Valentine’s Day, that just reminds people of what their marriage used to be, and now they are ready to move on.”
I often see articles about “How to Divorce-Proof your marriage.” I don’t believe them. They may contain useful advice, but any marriage can fall apart. It happens to couples that you think it could never happen to. Marriage requires work, and prayer, and a commitment unlike any other. However, a well-informed relationship does make a difference.
Here are some observations that have come from my own experience and over forty years of ministry. First, a surprising observation. “What brought you together can drive you apart.” When a couple comes to me for help, I ask them to fill-out two pages in our first session. On the first page, I ask them to write down all the reasons they married their mate. Then, on the second page, I ask them to write down all the reasons they don’t want to be married anymore. The results are surprising.
What attracted you to your spouse? She was such a great conversationalist!
Why do you want to leave her? She never shuts up!
What attracted you to your spouse? He always had money.
Why do you want to leave him? He is so stingy!
What attracted you to your spouse? She was such a great lover.
Why do you want to leave her? All she thinks about is sex!
And so, the lists go on. Perhaps what we need to do is turn back the hands of time. In that first counseling session, I also ask the couple to bring their wedding album. We go through the pictures together. We laugh and cry and remember the way things were. When young couples come to me to plan their weddings, we talk about their budget. How much are you spending on the venue? How much are you spending on the cake, the dress, the tuxedoes, and hair? I don’t care how much you are planning on spending on the photographer. Whatever it is, double it. Someday those pictures may save your marriage!