I recently read Barbara Rainey’s blog post “If Their Marriage Couldn’t Survive, What about Mine?” about how worried we get when we hear about other people’s failed marriages. That was how I felt even though I wasn’t married yet! I let that fear keep me from wanting a marriage of my own.
Now that I’ve given marriage a chance, I see what a blessing it can be and how I almost let fear rob me of so much love and goodness. I’ve started asking myself, what if it isn’t just my life that will benefit from my marriage?
I’ve turned my fear around. I’ve started looking at all the marriages that have succeeded, and I ask myself why that couldn’t happen to me. It can!
When people say half of all marriages fail, that means that half of them don’t. Instead of seeing heartache as a reason to not even try to have a marriage, I’ve begun to see it as a reason to be diligent and put more effort into my relationship. It motivates me to seek out and learn from strong couples.
Just as I can list plenty of people whose marriages I wouldn’t want, I can see plenty who have great marriages I’d like to emulate. I looked around in my church one day and noticed tons of cute couples and marriages I respect. It’s like I’d never noticed how many there were until I really focused on it.
And I know these couples. I know everything in their lives hasn’t been a piece of cake. I know they’ve had financial struggles or that they’ve faced fear on the mission field together. I know couples who have suffered the pain of miscarriage. I know some who have experienced infidelity yet overcame it. I know couples who faced serious illness or job losses.
One of the best things I did before I even got engaged was to ask my sister (married for 17 years) to tell me one good thing about marriage each time we talked. This not only helped me see marriage in a more positive light, but it also helped her remember how valuable her marriage is and how much it has improved her life even though the day to day can get her frustrated.
So that’s my challenge to you. Find someone to discuss the positive aspects of marriage with you. So often we hear people talk about the negative in their relationships. If you don’t ask, sometimes people won’t tell you the good parts of marriage because they don’t want to seem like they’re bragging or making you feel bad. But if you ask, then it can be a great experience for you both.
If you’ve lived in fear about the state of your marriage because you’ve seen so many marriages collapse, turn that fear into hope and courage. Make your marriage one that inspires others to see that they can make it through whatever they face as a couple.
I’m so glad I made an effort to do this early on so that I’m not constantly tearing down my marriage with worry. Being fearful can cause the very damage I’m afraid of, but I’ve instead been able to bring joy and life to my relationship because I’ve replaced the fear with faith.
Lots of marriages survive. Why not mine? Why not yours?