We got married in a Pentecostal Holiness church. I’ll never forget the marriage counseling we did before the wedding. The preacher said to us that the three things we would argue the most about would be sex, money, and kids. You know what? He was right.
I’m not sure that everything really sinks in when you are in pre-wedding stage. You are often so busy trying to plan all the details that you don’t spend very much time considering what life will be like as a married couple. The color of the flowers, the gifts for your bridesmaids, the wedding favors, the food, and the million other things that have to be done take on a life of their own, leaving you little time to think about how yours is about to change. Think about what it will be like, not just for the first year or two but for forever. That’s what the preacher wanted us to do – stop to think about what marriage really is and to make sure we were ready for it.
You will experience those three hot topics differently throughout your marriage but one thing is for sure, marriage magnifies your own traits, both the ones you are proud of and the ones you are not. Selfishness will easily shine, mismanagement of time or troubles will try to triumph, and you either grow together or you grow apart.
While our preacher summed it up in three categories almost 15 years ago, you can find those three tucked among many of the common reasons cited for divorce right now. In a recent article for The Oprah Magazine, Lacey Johnson mentions a divorce study that says “roughly 40 percent of its participants cited financial issues” and that many divorces occur during “intense periods of adjustment” like having children. Johnson also says, “In a 2019 study published by Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, the most common reason for divorce was found to be a lack of love and intimacy.” So there you have it. The same reasons I was told, before I fully understood what it meant to try to build a life with someone else, are still relevant in 2020. Another interesting part of the article were the findings by Emily Pollock, partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, who said most divorces “are closer to the middle of the spectrum—between 7 and 14 years.”
Whatever stage your marriage is in, or if you are planning to someday tie the knot, the best marriage advice I’ve come across so far, in addition to being aware of the top 3 hot topics above, remains 1 Corinthians 13. It’s hard to read or hear these words without feeling conviction, whether it’s the first time or the hundredth time you have done so.
1 Corinthians 13
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
“1 Corinthians 13.” BibleGateway, www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13&version=NIV. Accessed 21 May 2020.
Johnson, Lacey. “The Most Common Reasons for Divorce, According to Marriage Counselors.” O The Oprah Magazine, Hearst Magazine Media, 2020, www.oprahmag.com/life/relationships-love/a32405167/reasons-for-divorce/.