Marriage is a mystery. Figure this: how can two people, entirely different from one another (in status, education, physical make-up, culture, race, etc.) decide to live together and love each other for life, with a love that is incomparable with one’s love to parents, relatives or friends. The finding of a mate is also a mystery. A song by David Pomeranz puts it this way: “Got to believe in magic, tell me how two people find each other… in a world that’s full of strangers”. Marriage just like he said is magic.
Choosing a marriage partner is the most important decision a person can make. A life of bliss or misery largely depends on the kind of life partner we chose. Yet a blissful union can’t just be attributed to luck or “swerte”. It is a product of mutual love and respect and the commitment to keep the covenant of marriage.
God is the author of marriage and He intends marriage to be permanent. Sadly, a great proportion of married couples are not enjoying a blissful union. When problems persistently rock the marriage boat, the tendency is to look for a way of escape rather than address the cause of the problem. Oftentimes conflicts arise due to the couple’s respective faults and weaknesses. Many resort to divorce as a way of escape. Since the root of the problem is not addressed, the same difficulty will persist in marrying another. This is validated by a study by Jennifer Baker of Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri. Her data revealed that 50% percent of first marriages in the US end in divorce. But the second and third marriages have greater chances of ending in divorce at 67% and 74% respectively. In the Philippines, divorce is not allowed yet we accept annulment which is in essence, the same as divorce.
One of the reasons why divorce, annulment or separation have become an option when marriage is on the rocks is the erroneous thinking that love sustains marriage. If love is not there anymore, why stay together? According to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in John Piper’s book Momentary Marriage: A parable of Permanence, “It is not love that sustains marriage but marriage that sustains love”. Married couples who are committed to their marriage vows will resolve to stick with each other for better or for worse, through thick or thin, knowing that God has put them together. If love is getting cold, they will strive to keep it alive and glowing. They will seek to settle their differences and strive to live in harmony with each other because God has meant them to be together forever.
The biblical mandate is clear. “And He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:11-12). In deviating from biblical pattern, we pierce ourselves with many thorns. Divorce results to many kinds of emotional ills for the family which also affects our society. Most often than not, the children we treasure most are the ones directly hit by broken marriages.
But if God is the foundation of our marriage, marriage bliss will flow naturally. It will bloom and flourish, and made more beautiful with time.