They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 10:4-9
The time I squeezed smelly work boots onto his feet because his back was too messed up to bend over. Or the time we laid in bed cry-laughing about all that we were going through. Or even the times we ride bikes and he teases me by not letting me pass. And that time we had pizza and wine in Palo Duro Canyon. These are the times I treasure in marriage. There’s nothing fancy about them. Nothing over the top special. Nothing that can be bought or sold. Just simple times, sweet smiles, and the warmth of knowing we love each other even when we are at our very worst. These are the times that make marriage worth fighting for.
Celebrating our 14 year anniversary may not be a huge mile marker for anyone else, but it certainly is for us. 7 years ago I doubted we would make it another year, much less another 7 years. What held us together? What brought us through? A promise we made to God.
I know in the times we live, marriage isn’t always seen as something involving God or designed by God. But rest assured, it is. Only God can bring two people together in the ways that Kevin and I love each other, and only God can hold two people together in the ways that Kevin and I began to loathe each other. It wasn’t because of our goodness, our determination, or our anything that our marriage survived some really rough patches – it was because what God brings together – truly no human has authority to break apart. And because we chose to rest in and center ourselves under God’s authority, forgive each other, and love unconditionally – God brought redemption.
Over the past few years, this is what I have learned about marriage. There is a unique mesh that develops. From the moment we say I do, and even before that, knots are tied. Every time we share a laugh, a tear, a smile, a story…every time we have sex, parent our children, hold each other, care for each other…and the list could go on and on…we tie soul knots. The intimacy strengthens.
But then there are scissors, rips, tears, and breaks. Like the time we went to a party and flirted with a co-worker, we spent money on something we agreed not to, we call our spouse something offensive under our breath or in our mind, we get angry and resentful over a mistake they made, or we choose to ignore each other rather than help each other through a time of pain…and the list goes on…we rip, tear, and cut.
Ties are made and ties are broken. But there is one tie that always remains. The promise you and your spouse made to honor each other, and love each other, until death do you part – the soul connection that happens when two people become one flesh and the emotional attachment – this cannot be undone.
This is why I hate divorce. Not because I judge people. Not because I do not believe there is a time and a place for it – because there definitely is. I hate divorce because it rips people to shreds. I hate divorce because of the lie it feeds that it’s freedom when really it’s bondage. We can free ourselves from a marriage on paper, but a soul tie often – if not always – remains.
And I know the grass looks greener down the street and in the movies. And maybe everyone around you seems to have it all together (which they probably don’t) and you wonder why life has to be so complicated for you (which it probably is). But that is not, and cannot be a reason to let go. If you and your spouse can choose to fight for your marriage, even if you have to pray like crazy and fight on your own at first, if you can make it through the rough spots, it’s worth it. Over and over and over again…it’s so very much worth it.
It’s not an easy fix. And it’s certainly not an overnight fix. Knots weren’t undone in a moment. If you look back and investigate, they were untied piece by piece. And that’s how they will be re-tied. That is how your marriage will experience redemption – small knot by small knot – at first tied out what seems like obligation – but eventually the feelings will and do return.
You didn’t marry the wrong person. You didn’t fall out of love. But you do need to make concerted and conscious effort to pick back up the rope and start connecting. Have hope in your marriage not because of what you can see, or what you can know…have hope in your marriage because of WHO you know. What God has joined together, let no one break apart.