I, _____, take you ______, to be my wedded husband. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ’till death do us part. And hereto I pledge you my faithfulness.
If you are a married woman, you probably recited these words, or something very similar to them. You probably joyfully repeated them after the officiating pastor with giddy and naive joy. On our wedding day, we are not concerned about divorce, although–statistically speaking–it will become a tragic reality for a great many of us.
I am no expert, and in my decade+ marriage experience, I have been blessed with a lot of “better,” “richer,” and “health,” but I also take very seriously the call to honor my marriage and my husband in seasons of “worse” (we’ve all been there), “poorer” (can I get a witness?), and “sickness” (rub some dirt on it, already!).
You see, marriage is not a conditional contract with a perfect person until I get my feelings hurt or find a grass-looks-greener “better deal.” Um, no.
Marriage is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person for life.
So, if you are married or considering marriage, will you do me a favor (actually, do yourself this service): Take the “D” word (divorce) right off the table? When you argue (and you will), develop an “us against the problem” attitude, not an “us against each other” one.
Ruth, the wife of famous evangelist Billy Graham, was once asked if she ever considered divorce: “‘No, I’ve never thought of divorce in all these 35 years of marriage, but,’ she said, ‘I did think of murder a few times.’”
Because for her, “’til death do us part” was a covenant between her and her husband made before God.
And friends (oh, can I just tell you the glorious truth?!), once the “D” word is off the table, you’ve got a lot of liberty to fight the good fight, be yourself, serve one another in humility and joy, and be a lot more likely to live a life–a married one–well. Really well.
The only “D” word in your marriage should be death.
So yes, I threaten my husband with the “D” word: Like [thankfully], most of the time… If you die before you’re about 100 years old, I’ll kill you.
So (‘fess up), you ever threaten the “D” word?
Mayhaps you’d enjoy these other thoughts on how to love well?