Family Blog Post #2 Permanency
My Mom just turned 85 years old last week. Last June, my parents celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. That is not a typo. Sixty-five years.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the average divorce in the U.S. happens after 8 years. Eight years.
It’s about permanency.
The Christian Bible says that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), but it also states that God permitted divorce (Matthew 19:8 where Jesus says that it is not what was from the beginning. It is not ideal. But it was permitted, and it certainly happens a ton.
In the U.S., there are, on average, 2400 divorces every single day. Two thousand four hundred. I am just speculating here, but my guess is that the majority… if not the totality… of those marriages, were begun by two people planning on, hoping for, and trusting in the other person that the marriage would be for their lifetime. It was their ideal also.
But life happens… and divorce happens.
I hate divorce. I daily see the wreckage it leaves behind in the moms and that dads and the children’s lives. In many of these cases, I see that one person was “naughtier” than the other. In none of these cases have I seen where only one party played a part, whether they admit it to themselves or their family members.
Life throws at us many challenges. As I saw in Facebook this morning, “If could sum up my life in one sentence, it would be, ‘Well, that didn’t go as planned.’” Life rarely goes as planned because if we were in charge, no one would get hurt, no one would die, no one would fight, and all of us would have the necessities of life – for our lifetimes. But as they say, that aint a gonna happen.
Marriages fail for many reasons… but they remain for just a few. Some people stay for the safety and security even though there is no longer any emotional satisfaction. Some stay to keep their pension hopes alive. Many stay because they believe that raising their children in an intact home with both parents together is the “ideal” and the best for their children. Some stay because they made a sacred vow that they will never break.
But two thousand four hundred times a day, somebody chooses not to stay. Their marriage is not permanent… though it was intellectually and emotionally intended to be.
When intended permanency does not happen, many feel that they have failed. You can imagine the expressions of failure I see in my office every week. Heart wrenching, soul-baring expressions of personal failure. I assure you, it is not something most of you would want to listen to on a regular basis. It hurts my heart. It rips my soul. I do it however, because the cold hard fact is that it is happening two thousand four hundred times a day, and we love human beings that are hurting and children that are struggling and believe that we can help them through this often unbelievably horrible time.
But I am blunt with my clients. I often tell them that they should be ready for a sharp slap in the face from reality because life on the other side may be a whole lot worse than life on this side of the divorce. I am not trying to talk them out of it. I simply want them to have the wisdom of a bigger picture and a viewpoint that it not narrowed too tightly by their pain that they cannot see clearly.
My parents, in their 65 years, had innumerable struggles. Gut wrenching pain, disappointments, and failures. But their marriage is still strong.
If you are struggling in your marriage, please talk to people who will be honest and blunt with you. Please do not surround yourself with people who just want to bad mouth your spouse and make you feel justified. Seek wisdom first. Seek wise counsel above all else.
If you are already in the divorce process, please be starkly aware that Divorce is an industry. What if you opened a business that had 2400 new clients a day? There is a lot of money to be made in divorce and there are a lot of people in the industry who want nothing more than to make as much money off of vulnerable, emotional clients as they can and they care not a whit about who gets hurt and how much.
Remember, divorce is permanent, too. Divorce is the death of hope and no one walks through that dark valley without being permanently affected.
Seek wisdom. Move slowly and cautiously and check your heart. If there is so much pain that you want to strike out, to hurt, to punish, YOU are at risk and your children are at a HUGE risk… and sometimes the pain and wreckage for your children is permanent.
It’s about permanency.
God hates divorce, because of the wreckage… but God permitted it because He knows the human heart. How much wreckage that comes is at least partially in your hands. Move carefully and conscientiously.
If you would like some wisdom, talk to my Mom and Dad. They are not perfect, but they have learned a lot through their struggles… and their victories. If they are busy and you would like the JV team J , contact us at the Sarpy Family Conflict Center (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our hearts are with you.