As Long As We Both Shall Live

by Jan Silvious

Sometimes I think I don't want to read another book or take another course on marriage, much less teach one. It's too depressing. The sad fact is that, despite all the literature written on helping people achieve happy homes, at least half of all marriages in this country end in divorce. Even Christian marriage is not exempt.

Jan SilviousThis poem by Ruth Harms Calkin summarizes the truth about many marriages in today's world:

Another marriage is shattered, Lord, the divorce will be final next week.
He said it was the breakdown of communication and the subtle infiltration of boredom.
She said it was an accumulation of things.
He said she was unnecessarily preoccupied with home, children and activities.
She said he stifled her dreams and ignored her achievements.
He said he felt in prison, restricted; that night after night he got the old pushaway.
She said he was harsh and brutal and often embarrassed her in public.
He said her critical attitude contributed to his sense of inadequacy.
She said she felt lonely and unappreciated with no claim to personal identity.
He said she wallowed in self-pity and refused to acknowledge her benefits.
She said he was shiftless and irresponsible.
He said she didn't understand.
She said he didn't care.
Lord, how tragic that through all the wasted years neither of them asked what you said.*

Few of us have not been caught up in the old "he said, she said" game. Perhaps it's time to stop the escalation of verbal war and go back to that quiet moment you shared at the altar when you promised, "till death do us part." The simplicity and sincerity of that vow is the stopping place for all your arguments.

Marriage is a lifetime commitment. Your discussions will be fruitful only if they are based on that promise: "No matter what happens, what you say, or how you act, I am committed to you for the rest of my life." Suddenly all other issues fall into perspective: "Somehow we have to work this out."

If you have threatened your mate by saying, "If you say or do that one more time, then I am finished…no more…this marriage is over," ask him or her to forgive you. Tell your husband or wife that you will never, for any reason, break the covenant you have pledged. Then ask God to show you what you need to change and ask Him to give you the grace to change it.

Your promise for a lifetime was made before God. It is His responsibility and great pleasure to empower you to become the husband or wife He intends for you to be.

from The 5-Minute Devotional, Zondervan, © 1991 Jan Silvious

*From Marriage Is so Much More, Tyndale House, 1986.