Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? Amos 3:3, NIV
Writing the story of “us” with a happy ending to a marriage seems to be a greater challenge every decade. It is little wonder that a large percentage of people are unwilling to “tie the knot” at a marriage altar. The fact is that the number of broken hearts and homes is absolutely out of control, and it isn’t an isolated phenomenon. It’s all over the world. Marriage has fallen upon hard times with as many or more marriages failing as those that succeed, and even for those who remain married, a large percentage of men and women relate to each other like roommates instead of couples who dearly love each other. Intimacy has gone out the window, being replaced by stress, schedules that take each other different directions, compounded by bone-tiredness.
Couples enter into marriage with different expectations. Some brides expect their husbands to be the knight in shining armor who sweeps her off her feet and provides for her like the daughter of a king. From day one on, there are two problems: She is not Cinderella and he is not Prince Charming. The problem with your marriage, sir, is that you married a sinner, and the fact is that your mate married one, too.
Marriage, at its best, is not without challenges. Saying, “I do” does not transform a dysfunctional individual into a caring, compassionate one. In fact, marriage can bring out both the best and the worst of any two people.
How do you write the story of “us” with a happy ending? In our next three commentaries, I’ll share with you ten ingredients that will result in a “happy ending” to your marriage. You can find them on our website at www.guidelines.org. Let’s get started.
The first ingredient that goes into a marriage with a happy ending is a steadfast, unwavering commitment to each other.
Divorce or annulment is not a problem-solving technique, but understanding that marriage is two flawed individuals who can accept the unique differences of the other with the realization that each completes the other. Never was it God’s purpose for two to compete—to strive to dominate the other—but to become one flesh, one in spirit, and one in spiritual union. The statistics are that there is one broken home in 300 marriages when a couple go to church regularly, read God’s Word and pray together every day. The secret of this kind of marriage is that each lives for the other and both live for the Lord.
There is time for me to simply give you the second ingredient: To write the story of “us” with a happy ending, you need to understand God’s plan and purpose for marriage.
Remember the Bible uses the term one flesh five times to describe God’s purpose for marriage. This means the mindset of our culture and world stands in dire contrast to what God wants. Our culture says, “If you aren’t near the one you love, love the one you are near.” It’s selfish, independent, and individualistic, but God’s plan is togetherness, love, mutual dependence, and corporate unity. God’s intention was for marriage to be a relationship of equals—not that of a master and a slave—with each fulfilling their obligation to the other. Remember, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples in the Upper Room and said, “Happy are you, if you do these things!” Each living for the other and both for the Lord produces “happy endings” to the story of “us” and our marriage.”