First off let me say that my views do not reflect the views of where I work, the church I go to nor most people I know. So, it only make sense that my view of marriage and what makes or breaks it, would be different also.
This post will be kinda random brain squirts pertaining to marriage, and possibly wont make sense...just warning you ;-)
See, I'm almost 43. I have been married 16 years to the absolute love of my life and I know without a doubt that this blessing I have has nothing to do with anything that I nor he did "right". This isn't the typical church love story. I'm sorry, I can't lie, it is what it is. Dean was not a Christian, I was in the midst of a pendulum swing in my faith coming off the heals of extreme legalism at Swaggart's ministry and we did everything the church tells you not to do. And most things that I would tell my daughter not to do.
But God's grace. I don't know why but I don't doubt it either. Gods grace redeems even the things we do wrong, we know that, but it also pertains to who we choose to marry. He makes it part of His plan when we ask His grace to cover it. I believe.
I hear girls say "well, he hasn't been a Christian that long..I want a guy more spiritual then me..etc..etc."
Can I just say, none of that matters? really. I know, I know, there are people that say it does and they think it does but it really doesn't. This is of course, just my opinion but here are the facts that lead me to that conclusion;
-OVER 50% of all Christian marriages end in divorce, equal to that of the secular world.
-80% of surveyed church staff in the US has admitted to viewing online pornography regularly.
-I have lots of friends who are divorced. All of them are Christian women. They did everything right when deciding who to marry. But after 18 - 20 years of marriage, they just couldn't do it anymore. Out of my friends, ALL of them thought for sure they were marrying a man that was more spiritual. They married guys that had been saved longer or the same amount of time as they were. They married men that were well respected, and thought of as Godly men. They all went to premarital counseling, got the blessing and excitement from their pastors, and everyone just knew "this is God". But these guys were failures at the commandment that God gives to husbands, "Love your wife as Christ loves the church" and their wives became dead flowers.
So we Christians OBVIOUSLY don't have a formula that works. We are broken people in a fallen world.
I have heard a lot of people re quote this "I want my daughter's heart to be so lost in God that any guy who wants it has to go through God to get to her" or something like that. I would say a guy needs to seek God to seek God and NOT to find my daughter. There is something very wrong to me in the notion that you go "through" God to get to a person or to find anything. God is what fills us up. He's it. Period. We don't go through Him or seek Him to find someone else.
And I hear young couples say "we fight and then have sex and everything is ok" Ha! I'm telling you that sex is the last thing I want to do when I'm mad at Dean. I think he wouldn't mind it but I'm so not the "just have sex" and everything will be fine person. How does that solve anything? Sex is the glue for sure, but it's not what solves problems or fixes real life issues. I do believe that a marriage without it will die, absolutely but don't put all your eggs in that basket (wow, pun intended..wait, maybe not..anyways..) I believe that a lot of these young wives may sing a different song when they get older...Just my opinion.
So what do I believe is the Key you ask? (or maybe you don't ask but be sure I will tell ;-) Well it's grace. Only grace. Sure, we can have standards, ideas, goals, but to discount someone just because they don't meet them is US not God. I have seen way to many people that laid perfect track only to watch the train still derail. I believe it is only by the grace of God that ANY marriages works.
I just honestly believe that when we think our expectations, our rule following, our actions are what saves or damns a situation, we remove grace from it. I believe the church is supremely guilty of this with marriage.
I believe, and again, all this is just my opinion, that the keys to a happy marriage are these; seek God, live for Him, pray, extend grace, walk in grace, argue, and never hold on to unforgivness. This is for YOU not your spouse. God is the only one that gets to fix or not fix them.
I believe no matter the outcome, these are the only keys.
I dare ask, what do you think?