The other day I met with a couple whose marriage is totally on the edge. In their case, the passion is gone, and they’ve both grown distant. They believe it’s unlikely that their relationship will survive. I care about this couple deeply and have known them for a long time. My heart breaks over their situation.
My heart breaks partly because I believe in redemption, and I have witnessed its surprising grace in marriage. That grace comes in many different ways, sometimes through fighting and staying and rediscovering intimacy, and other times through trying every resource and ultimately leaving (possibly for reasons of personal safety – physical, emotional, mental, &/or spiritual).
But I worry about the prevalence of people who seem to shortcut the potential for redemption in marriage. Many are turning away from each other because they no longer experience pleasure, delight, or intimacy together anymore. Certainly, these are painful developments, and they demand attention and care in marriage, but I grieve over the flippancy with which our culture offers marital breakup as a good solution. I asked my friends who are contemplating divorce a question that I have asked a hundred times before, “Have you been to counseling?” and their response, like a hundred others I’ve heard before was, “We looked into that, but it’s too expensive, and we are so busy.”
In that moment, I wanted to say to them, “Seriously? Too expensive? Too time consuming? I don’t mean to lose my cool here, but think this through. You are considering divorce… Do you know how expensive that is? Do you realize how time consuming that will be?! Please, please, please do not enter that path lightly. I know that sometimes divorce is the only option left, and there are solid reasons for people to split up. But I implore you to try every other good resource first. Give redemption a fighting chance!”
There is no price too high to pay and no investment of time too great to try and save a marriage before calling it quits.
During our 3rd year of marriage, Tim and I hit an extremely rough patch. It was scary for both of us to experience the intensity of emotions, to see such an ugly side of ourselves and each other. I remember in the midst of that painful season, I called a friend and told her we were really struggling. We talked, she listened and held space, and then offered me one of the most generous gifts in that season. She simply said that she had an amazing counselor who was difficult to get in to see, but she would be willing to give up her upcoming session with him and give it to us if we would be willing to drive the 3 hours to see him. Without skipping a beat, we said yes. We did. We drove 3 hours, both ways, multiple times, and paid money on top of that to see this man. I am so grateful we did, and I can undoubtedly say it was worth every penny and all the time it took.
So, I hope you will forgive me when I get weary of hearing, “It’s too expensive,” or “We just don’t have time.” If this is your situation today, hear my urgency, which comes from love: Make time. Find the money. Because there is no price too high and no time investment too great to do all you can to save your marriage. God is the great Redeemer, but we often get to participate in that process through the choices we make, which can have a forevermore impact.
If you don’t know who to see, email me. If you truly cannot find a way to pay, email me. Just do not let time and money be the reasons you walk away from giving your marriage every chance to succeed.
*If you have experienced a divorce you regret, know that God’s pleasure & delight in you has not changed and He still has unlimited capacity for redemption. Our mistakes never cancel out God’s mercy and the potential for God to still work beauty, goodness, and healing in and through our lives.