The other night, Kevin and I were having a conversation about how many couples we know who are currently going through a divorce. Nine. We personally know of nine couples who are divorcing.
Three of these couples are divorcing because the husband is an alcoholic. Two of these men profess to be Christians.
One couple is divorcing because the husband has left his wife for another woman, a woman he was having an affair with for months before his wife knew. The husband professes to be a Christian – or, at least, he used to.
One couple is divorcing because the wife has left her husband for another man. The wife professes to be a Christian.
That leaves four couples. Four couples who are divorcing because marriage is too hard, and one or both of the partners are no longer “happy.”
Listen, people. If you’re getting married so that your spouse will make you happy, you’re on the wrong track. If you’re expecting the state of being married itself to make you happy, you’re on the wrong track.
Get married because you love someone so much that you want to do anything to make them happy. Get married knowing that the warm, fuzzy feeling you get in your stomach when your person walks into the room, or smiles at you, or kisses you, will come and go. Feelings are precocious. They rise up and they disappear on a whim. Those feelings are not love.
Love is patient. Patient when your spouse has clammed up and gone quiet with worry. Patient when your spouse is prickly and irritable and short-tempered. Patient when your spouse makes a mistake that costs the family money, time, or other resources.
Love is kind. That means that you treat your spouse with the same courtesy you would give a friend or acquaintance. It is so easy to get sloppy and forget the common courtesies because we’re comfortable at home, because our spouse has to love us. That is not acceptable. Kindness is essential.
Love does not envy. Don’t envy your spouse’s successes, talents, friendships, way with people.
The list goes on. Love does not boast, is not proud, rude, self-seeking, or easily-angered.
Love keeps no record of wrongs. That means bringing up past offenses – offenses that have been forgiven – is off-limits.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects. Love protects our spouse’s feelings, reputation, time, and honor.
Love always trust, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
Love isn’t easy. I have failed in each one of those areas, and I have no doubt I will in the future. But I don’t stop striving to meet that standard. That’s what it means to love someone. That’s what it means to be married.