Preparing for failure: Divorce before marriage?

With Valentine’s Day happening yesterday, relationships are on people’s minds. Here in Toronto, a number of people took the opportunity to tie the night in marriage, in celebration of this special day to celebrate relationships.

Over a candle-lit dinner, my wife and I were discussing the subject of discussion on the news for the day where they asked their viewers “Is marriage important to you?” Viewers called into the newscast giving their opinion on whether marriage is an old tradition and irrelevant for us today, or something to continue to hold on to tightly in celebration of commitment. There were varying views from each side.

One of the comments my wife heard from a viewer on the news reminded me of an article I wrote a few years ago titled Why I hate “The View”. (Since then I’ve been amazed at how many others also share this detestation for The View.)

If you haven’t read my article I wrote that on that particular episode I had happened to watch, their guest on the show was giving marriage advice to the viewers, suggesting that when women are searching for that one man to give their whole lives to and make the sweet covenant of marriage with, they also need to consider, “Would I want to be divorced to this person?”

My, what a logical question! Gosh! I should have thought of that. It makes complete sense! If we intend to get married, along with our wedding planner, we should also be picking out a divorce lawyer! We should be preparing ourselves for the inevitable failure that the marriage will be. Wow…

What a twisted way to view marriage. It’s demoralizing. But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that some people don’t view marriage in the same bright light Tradition may speak to.  With an apparent 50% of marriages ending in divorce (although this statistic is questionable), it makes sense some people would want to avoid the nuptials altogether… which is the only reason why divorce rates are actually declining–fewer people are getting married in the first place–instead choosing co-habitation and the like.

I don’t have much to say to our culture’s silent out cry except that perhaps we have dug our own hole. Failures in marriage from previous generations have dictated the choices we make today.

I must say I am thankful to not be a statistic. While my parents remain happily married, my wife is the child of parents who divorced when she was 4 years old. And divorce is very much common place among the family.

But while this was a great concern for my wife before we committed our lives to each other, rather than allowing this to deter our desire to marry, we’ve used it as motivation to fight for our marriage, to make communication a priority, to push back on all of the things typical to a relationship falling apart, to make our finances a main focus and source of pride in our relationship in the choices we make around them.

We will not be a statistic. Nor will we be victims of a previous generation. Rather, we will form new statistics, setting out to set the example for future generations. Preparing for failure? We’ve prepared for success, and are trusting God to help us through the rough patches we can’t yet see, doing what we can to avoid the ones we can see.

Question:  How has past generations dictated the choices we are making today in our culture? What other ways can we buck this trend and move back to a Biblical view of marriage and commitment?

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