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What Happened to “Till Death Do us Part”?

By: Bethany Baird

The bride and groom were beaming with joy as they rushed down the aisle of cheering guests. The cheers grew louder as they stopped mid-line and the groom leaned in for a picture perfect kiss.

Within moments their “just married” getaway car zoomed out of the church parking lot leaving the sound of dragging clickety cans to the cheering guests.

Fast forward 3 years.

The words “for better or for worse” and “till death do us part” have faded into the background. The reality of a tight budget, a screaming one-year-old, and schedules that are packed, began to take a serious toll.

The bride and groom had long forgotten their feelings of commitment and had slowly begun to bury their dreams of growing old together. Over the next year, the arguing escalated, their distance grew, and divorce papers were filed.

Smiling faces were nowhere to be found the day the bride and groom said “goodbye” to their marriage.

And just like that, they joined the 50%.

Sadly, this example isn’t a unique or rare circumstance. This is becoming the norm. Divorce is literally running rampant in our culture and it only seems to be getting worse.

Like a beast that grows with every bite it takes, divorce grows in popularity and becomes more “normal” every time a couple signs the divorce papers. Without even realizing it, many young Christians are viewing divorce as “a viable option” just because they know so many people who have taken the plunge.

I’m guessing you can quickly add up the many couples you know that have split and you may even be very closely connected with a divorce yourself.

This reality deeply saddens me.

Watching people’s lives being ripped apart, turned upside, and thrown into shambles is heartbreaking. I pray with all of my heart that the people closest to me (myself included) never go down that road and I pray none of you ever have to go down that road either.

With roughly 50% of marriages ending in divorce, I’m sure many of you know someone who’s been divorced. Possibly you parents, grandparents, a sibling, family member or maybe even  you yourself. I don’t know the details of your situation and in no way am I trying to bring up a sensitive and difficult subject.

My prayer is simply that we can take a step back, evaluate our current convictions, rethink the direction we are heading, and strive to think, live and act in a way that best glorifies God and represents the gospel.  

How can we as girls set ourselves up for a divorce-free future? How can we best prepare now for a God honoring, Christ glorifying, gospel representing marriage? How can we avoid the 50%?

Here are a three truths that I believe would make “till death do us part” a reality in all marriages if we applied them.

1. Believe that God is the creator of marriage.

Marriage wasn’t and isn’t a man made idea. We didn’t create it, God did (Genesis 2:22-24). Because God created marriage, He is the only One with the authority to define it. We, as Christian girls, need to stop looking to Cosmo, People, The Knot, or the current bestsellers for advice about marriage.

We need to throw away the magazines and instead turn to the Author of marriage for our instructions. This must be our very absolute first step. God’s Word must be our manual. It must be our guide. If God’s Word is not the ultimate authority and foundation in our life, then we are building upon shifting sand.

Think of the Bible as a road map. If you are traveling to a new place 10 hours away, what would you need? A map (or a GPS with directions). You need a map to show you how to get from A to B in the fastest most efficient way possible. Without a map, you won’t make it to your destination very successfully. In the same way that we need a map to drive, we need a map for life. We need God’s Word to guide and to show us how to live. Without proper directions, we won’t make it successfully.

2. Understand that marriage isn’t based on feelings.

We live in a day and age where “feelings” rule our lives. We follow our heart, follow our feelings and do whatever feels good. When it comes to relationships, we confuse true love with feelings. We think that true love is a “spark.” When the spark fades, love must have faded as well. Right? Wrong! Although feelings are fabulous, they are not love.

Love is a choice. It’s an action. It’s a commitment to someone that is completely unconditional. It’s a choice to give 100% in marriage with no strings attached.

Can you imagine if we treated our jobs the way we treat modern marriage? “Hey Boss, I know I’m supposed to be at work this week, but, I don’t feel like it. Not in the mood. I don’t want to deal with that big audit we have coming up, soooo I’m just gonna take the week off.”

Haha, like yeah, right. No! We don’t do that. We know that we’d get fired on the spot if we gave up on our job when it got hard. We take responsibility for our work, we push through the hard times, we deal with crazy people and we persevere.

Honestly, we need a little bit more of that in our marriages today. Instead of running when times get hard, we need to preserve. Instead of quitting when our spouse drives us nuts, we need to have patience and a willingness to work through it. Instead of giving up when times are hard, we need to push through. We need to take responsibility for our marriages and choose to love unconditionally, work hard, push through, and continue on despite how we feel.

3. Realize that marriage requires a Christ-like love.

Christ is our ultimate example of true love. He came down to earth and gave up His life for us. He loves us with a perfect, sacrificial, unconditional love. He doesn’t give up on us when we sin. He doesn’t give up on us when we struggle. His love isn’t based upon anything we do for Him, but on everything He’s done for us.

We don’t work to earn His love. We just accept His perfect gift and accept His perfect love.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Titus 3:5-6 says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”

Can you imagine what would happen if we loved our spouses (future spouses) with this kind of unconditional love. A love that says, “I will love you because I choose to love you. Nothing you have done or can do will ever change that. I will choose to love you no matter what.” Wow! Divorce lawyers would go out of business in a hurry. There would no longer be a need.

Let’s make “till death do us part” a reality.

If you want “until death do us part” to be true for your marriage or future marriage, you have to think differently. You can’t think like the rest of the culture. If you do, you will most likely end up with the 50% of marriages that end in divorce.

You need to take on a Christ-like love and you need to make the Bible your marriage guide. Don’t take advice from our culture and don’t view divorce as an option. Don’t live by your feelings and don’t make your love conditional. Choose to love like Christ loves you.

How will you make it to, “until death do us part”?

What will you do in your future marriage to make sure you are set up for “until death do us part”?

How will you work to avoid the 50% divorce statistic in marriage?

PHOTO CREDIT

Wedding Couple

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  • Rachel M.

    Hey Bethany! Great article. I just wanted to point out really quick that you have a typo in this article. I believe you meant to type “your” in two places in this sentence –“Possibly you parents, grandparents, a sibling, family member or maybe even you yourself.”

    Thanks for encouraging so many girls daily. Love y’all!

    • SteppingHeavenward

      Rachel M.,

      Hi! I have been perusing a number of the comments you have made on various blog posts, and I am impressed by your character. Your knowledge of the Scriptures, your writing skills, and your similarities to myself all struck me. I don’t do this very often with strangers over the internet, but I would like to get to know you as a friend. Is there a way I could contact you?

      In Christ,
      A fellow Christian young woman

  • Rebekah Teravskis

    Wow, great article. I want to thank you and Kristen for being such a godly influence in my life. You have totally encouraged me and helped me keep my eyes on the right path. Thank you for being faithful to God’s leading and guiding. I pray for you all the time. I pray that God would bring you, Bethany, a godly husband; and that God would give you, Kristen, children of your own that you can love and raise up in the things of the Lord. Blessings on you.

  • Iiris

    Great, great post! I like to prepare for the future by committing to different things now as a single person. Marriage isn’t the only thing that needs commitment! I try to be as committed as possible with my responsibilities now, like relationships, work and ministry. If I feel that something feels difficult in either one I try to identify why that is. I want to work through my own thoughts, emotions or concerns and then practically try to do things differently or think differently. And also if something feels boring I try to make things differently to increase my enthusiasm. 🙂

  • Wonderful article! Thank you for posting this! It reminded me of something I heard that John Piper and his wife told each other all the time, “Divorce is not an option.” He said that was how they made it through the darkest and hardest times of their marriage and that was what gave them hope–knowing that no matter what happened, both were completely committed to staying together.

    Thanks again! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Divorce is sad. But when people follow your rules that you tout as “God’s rules” for relationships, you end up marrying someone without knowing them. I’ve seen it time and time again. The happy Christian couple has a long courtship, get to know each other’s theology instead of the actual person, and then get married to find they didn’t know each other. You can’t leave it to God to make sure it’s a right decision. Not everyone with similar theology is compatible. You preach against divorce but you’re setting up thousands of young people for failure. If you marry someone because they “love God” and line up with all of your biblical terms, it’s going to be a nightmare even if you don’t get divorced. Shame on you for setting this false example. Live a long, happy, successful life, and then you can preach about it.

    • Val

      I think that several things need to be taken into account when choosing a spouse, I dont believe in courtship, I believe in dating (generally speaking) and it looks to me that while sometime courtship emphasizes too much marriage and common values (in some cases overlooking if the two really like to be in each other’s company), sometimes dating is only about love and feelings. Love and feelings are wonderful but it is very hard to build a life together with someone who sees life in a completely opposite way: it can be done, it has been done, but it is hard and some marriages aren’t able to survive like this, and this needs to be talken into account.

      • Anonymous

        Val, I agree with you about courting being too focused on marriage, and about dating (with marriage in mind) often overlooking important topics. The heart of the problem with this article, and with Bethany’s mantra (not to mention that she has zero experience with marriage) is that she’s going after divorce as the problem. Jesus called the Pharisees whitewashed tombs. That’s what Bethany is making troubled marriages into. Sure, you can successfully stay married, but there are still dead bodies on the inside. My parents have stayed married through a rocky relationship, but there’s no real relationship. In my mind, that’s essentially divorce without legal standing. It is very easy for Bethany to write an article that says “don’t get divorced, divorce is bad”. I’d like to see her married to a perfect Christian who ends up being a pedophile, homosexual, or something else she can’t live with, and see how she responds.

        • Val

          I don’t know Bethany personally but I believe that in this case she is talking about “normal” marriages, where there is no abuse or crime involved.
          That said, I believe that in order to give the advice that such important and complicated topics (marriage and divorce) require, a blog should focus mostly or exclusively on them (like Sheila from “to love honor and vacuum” does, for example), but I don’t believe that this is the purpose of this blog, because most of the readers are unmarried or recently married ladies.
          We see a lot of marriages that end in divorce, even among christians, and it is natural to question where the problem lies, what are the causes, if there is something that can be done.
          I think that what you say is very interesting and would require further discussion 🙂

          • Anonymous

            “it is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick”. Why would Bethany be writing to “normal” marriages? Why does she feel qualified to speak on marriage? I’m not just speaking of crime, I’m speaking of marriage problems in general which this type of Christian community denies the existence of until a breaking point. My point is that by simply not getting divorced, you are simply taking care of the outside of the house. She offers no real help for relationships. She can’t offer help besides quoting bible verses, and anyone can do that. I just did. If you marry someone you can’t actually be friends with, God isn’t going to magically “fix that problem”. That’s why humans have brains.

            My references are:
            I have had 10 times more experience in relationships than the writer
            I grew up in this type of world
            I know Bethany personally

          • Cilia

            So you know Bethany personally, I guess that’s why you choose to be anonymous!!

          • Anonymous

            Incorrect. I’m actually going anonymous out of respect for my parents’ privacy.

          • Rachel M.

            Exactly what I was thinking!

    • Rachel M.

      Hi Anonymous! Sorry for jumping in on y’alls conversation, but I have a couple points to add.

      1: Sure, Christians really do focus on getting to know the other’s theology and beliefs before marriage. However, in courtship, there is a time known as the pre-courtship phase. You don’t just jump from having a crush on someone straight to courtship. In the pre-courtship phase you spend time together with a chaperone and see if you are compatible with that person. Theology is also discussed in this time. What are their beliefs? Are any of their beliefs salvation issues, or are they personal beliefs? (I personally will want me and my husband to have the same personal convictions and views on aspects of the Bible.) Do you enjoy being around them? Do they have the same goals in life? What do they think about kids? What is their personality like? etc.

      2: After the pre-courtship phase, if the couple decided to move forward in the relationship, they enter courtship. This aspect of courtship is just further getting to know each other, along with some deeper subjects. Theology is one of these. You’ll see that sometimes all courtships do not end in marriage. Josiah Duggar announced his courtship to a young lady last year and a couple months later said that they were parting ways for reasons unknown to the public. I think it is important to discover reasons to part in the pre-courtship phase, but sometimes that doesn’t always happen.

      Hope that this clears some things up.
      God Bless You! Numbers 6:24-26
      -Rachel M.

      • Anonymous

        If you read my comments, you’ll notice the discussion was about divorce, not about dating and courtship.

        • Rachel M.

          I would like to tell you that I did very carefully read your comments. I wouldn’t have commented if I didn’t. Thanks!

          I understand that you were talking about divorce, however if I may remind you of your own quote: “I’ve seen it time and time again. The happy Christian couple has a long courtship, get to know each other’s theology instead of the actual person, and then get married to find they didn’t know each other. You can’t leave it to God to make sure it’s a right decision. Not everyone with similar theology is compatible.” So, you were basically generalizing all Christians who court saying that they don’t get to know one another on a personal level. They just study the other’s theology. I wanted to make sure you understand that courtship is not how you just presented it. However, I still disagree with most of your opinions, so I will just leave it at what I commented. If you want to have a discussion, I will be glad to respectfully give you Biblical support for my opinions and show how the Bible discredits yours.

          Sorry for the misunderstanding. Hope I cleared it up a bit for you! (Again! : ) )

          God Bless!!!

          • Anonymous

            In order to dissect my words, you’ll have to do better than a key word search. Yes, I did talk about courtship, but that was not the point. Also, in order to understand the bible, you have to use your brain. It is not enough to just read it and quote it. So far, I’ve been the only one quoting and mentioning scripture, each in their proper and intended context.

            When I do choose to start a stupid discussion online, my bottom line low standard is that I at least use my own logic and reason. You should try the same. Then, maybe, you can read the bible and it might make better sense to you. I do not wish to discuss further with you.

          • Rachel M.

            I am sorry if you think that I did a key word search. I did not. I am most definitely not disagreeing that the topic of your comment was divorce; however, I was correcting a mistake that happened to be about courtship.

            As for quoting and mentioning Scripture in it’s proper context, I invite you to look at some of my other comments on different posts and blogs. I use Scripture countless times and use it correctly. I even used a few verses in my first comment to you. Numbers 6:24-26 says, ” The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Now please explain to me how this is used incorrectly. Also, I do not see any Scripture references in any of your comments here. So how are you “the only one quoting and mentioning scripture, each in their proper and intended context”?

            “When I do choose to start a stupid discussion online, my bottom line low standard is that I at least use my own logic and reason. You should try the same.” This is a quote from your previous comment. I would like you to explain how I am not using logic and reason. I very respectfully informed you of your error in your explanation of courtship. I provided you with examples that are very true. This is very logical and reasonable.

            As for understanding the Bible better, I understand it very well. You can never stop learning from the Bible. There will always be something new that God reveals to you. I understand the reason that Jesus came down on earth in human form and died for our sins. I understand the Old Testament concerning the creation, the fall, the flood, slavery of the Israelites, freedom of the Israelites, captivity of the Israelites, prophecies from major and minor prophets, and much more. I do not have infinite wisdom on these subjects, only God does. I understand the story and learn from it daily.

            I am fine if you do not respond to this comment. I am assuming that you have no argument to give me as to why I am wrong. You know that I am right. Please pay attention to my last two comments saying that I understand what the topic of your comment was and why I corrected you.

            God Bless You!!
            I would like to remind you also of this wonderful verse. I would recommend memorizing it, for it is such a great reminder to have. 2 Peter 3:10-11

          • Anonymous

            “You know that I am right” is not an acceptable way to have a discussion. Next time you try to talk with people who have a different perspective and likely more experience than you, don’t say that! It turns people off!

          • Rachel M.

            You kept presenting the same argument for the past few comments with no reference to my explanations of why I corrected you. I don’t believe that the whole, “You need to use your brain/logic/reason etc.” is an acceptable way to have a discussion either.

            I was trying to have a respectful discussion with you. My intention was just to make that correction, you say something along the lines of, “Oh, thanks!”, and we move on. Instead, you decided to turn it into an argument in which you weren’t really making any points.

            My last comment was in an effort to get you to open your eyes. You have not referenced the fact that I corrected one aspect of your comment. I agree that the topic of your comment was divorce. Please get that through your thick skull.

            I am not trying to be rude. Please just understand my intentions. God Bless!!

            P.S. More experience? You don’t even know my background! Don’t make assumptions!

          • Anonymous

            I’ve returned to beat a dead horse. Just found out you’re not even 15. That makes me laugh! Shouldn’t have argued with you in the first place (because the argument went nowhere, not because I was wrong), but it still amuses me. Please learn all you can from all the people you can meet. Keep your mind open but trust few. And please: for the sake of the future of the human race, wait until you’re older to feel so sure of yourself. I’m older and I don’t even feel sure of mysel!. That’s healthy. It means I’m able to LEARN.

            All the best,
            Your friend Anonymous

          • Rachel M.

            I’m sorry if you assume that age is a deciding factor in the amount of wisdom one has. You do realize that Charles Spurgeon, one of the most influential preachers of all time, was only around 15 when he wrote out an amazing testimony of God’s love and power? I have consulted so many adults on this issue, including my parents, teachers, and pastor. I can feel sure in my beliefs no matter my age because God has given me that peace. I can still learn everyday, and yet still be sure of my stance on things.

            I would like to question why you believe that the human race is at stake here. So many teenagers have changed the world for the better, because they did not wait until they were older to act for God. I feel God pulling me towards ministry, so I can start now in witnessing to others. I have consulted my pastor on this as I have previously mentioned, and he believes that I have dealt with this situation very maturely and wisely. So why do you think that waiting until you are older to stand firm on your beliefs is correct? Thank you for your time.

  • Val

    I agree with this article, but I believe that something needs to be said to single people: choose wisely. Choosing a good life partner will make marriage a lot easier 🙂

  • Tiana

    I know a lot of family and friends who’s parents have divorced. I’m only 13, so i’m not a marriage professional or anything, but I think in order to prevent divorce, God and God alone needs to be the center of your relationship. You should also pray God’s guidance before you get married. And when tough times arise (because they will) and you need advice on how to fix the problem, the first person or thing you turn to should always be God. Not friends, family, google, and especially not divorce. If you decide to talk things over with your spouse and God, then your marriage will last a lot longer.

  • Morgan P

    Many of my relatives are divorced and I’ve seen the pain that causes. I don’t ever want to get divorced. Divorce causes consequences that last for years.

    -Morgan


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