Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: FAMILY (01/21/16)
- TITLE: Is a Failure to Thrive a Failure To Love?
By Catherine Craig
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
The phone slipped from my hands that day back in 1988 as I slumped in shock against the phone booth’s wall. Pregnant and having just left a fifteen-year-old marriage fraught with infidelity and abuse, I shouldn’t have been surprised. My son had just become a pawn in the game called divorce.
Six traumatic months later, while attending a marriage conference intended for wives, I borrowed one of the speakers’ microphones. For five minutes I shared why I felt that “the worst marriage is far better than the best divorce”.
The Lord had convicted me about returning to try and mend my marriage, so I called my soon-to-be-ex who was preparing to remarry. He said something that hit me wrong. I hung up, feeling like he was beyond help. I was afraid, discouraged, and angry.
Twenty years after that divorce, and after my children had suffered the residual and often inevitable post-divorce heartbreaks, traumas, and damage, I saw that man I’d once spent fifteen years with, again, for the first time.
He asked, “Do you remember that day you called – and hung up – in 1988? Well, my current wife had just told me she was willing to step aside if there was any chance of our reuniting our family.”
I was dumbfounded. Separating wasn’t a decision I’d made lightly, nor was divorcing him. At that point, I had no idea of divorce’s effects on my children.
I needed to end the pain. It was a long-term strategy to end the irresolvable short-term problems that plagued that first marriage.
Nonetheless, God says, “I HATE divorce.”
Today, after having placed the enduring faith, effort, and strength into my current marriage that I might have continued investing into my first, I believe that over the gravestone of each failed marriage should hang a sign saying, “Failure to Thrive due to Failure to Love.”
I'm not beating myself up though realizations gleaned since my first marriage are a result of my gaining 20/20 hindsight. Lessons that I’ve learned since do have a particular value from which I can both learn, apply, and write. So, I want to explore some of these with you the reader.
First, there seems to be tension divinely built into every marriage. Larry Christiansen, in his 1970’s classic book titled, “The Christian Family”, gives one possible explanation when he states, “Our families are the school ground of the Christian life.”
I think that friction is inevitable. It comes from placing “Mars” and “Venus” – a man and a woman – together. Love is the oil that greases the squeaky and at times grinding wheels of these unions.
In John 13:34,35, Jesus commands me to love and says that loving others is evidence that I am His disciple. So, if I love others “out there” but fail to love my husband at home, what does that say about me?
I’ve also come to believe that God equips us as Jesus’ followers to victoriously endure an unhappy marriage. Unlike non-Christians, who are “searching” for love, we as Christians ought to be “expressing” the love that we’ve found in Christ. Not only are we infinitely loved but also, we are equipped to love due to the Holy Spirit, Who daily, both offers His love to us, and through us to others.
Another observation I’ve made about marriage’s tumultuous journey is this. God reveals truths, both to us and through us to others. To illustrate this, I’ll share a personal story.
While at the kitchen sink washing dishes one day, I ruminated over my husband rarely expressing his love to me. At that exact moment, he approached from behind to wrap his arms around me and whisper in my ear, “I love you!”
I then grumbled inwardly; he never sings to or with me anymore. Of course, God with His sense of humor called me on that stray thought also. My husband sauntered into the living room, picked up his guitar, and began to sing.
Now, might my first marriage have succeeded had I stuck with it – gone back to resurrect it and not hung up in anger? I don’t know.
However, in Philippians 3:13, the Apostle Paul, once a murderer of Christians but forgiven by God, warns me to forget what is behind, and to strain toward what is ahead. So, I will.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.