Every couple walks down the aisle dreaming of love, romance, and a life of happiness together. In fact, our marriage team here at Focus reports that 93 percent of Americans say a happy marriage is one of their chief objectives in life.
And, yet, the statistics also show that a significant percentage of relationships will end in divorce, and about half of those will occur within the first seven years of marriage.
Why? How does the beauty and promise symbolized in a wedding ceremony deteriorate into a failed marriage and the ugly reality of divorce?
Maybe it has something to do with how couples pursue marriage in the first place.
Some people believe the secret to a lasting marriage is finding their “soul mate.” Not only is that not biblical, it’s not even a healthy concept to entertain. The Hollywood-fueled notion that there’s one person out there just for you is a myth. It may make for an entertaining movie, but it doesn’t work in real life.
Why? Because when a couple experiences conflict, doubt will creep into the relationship. “Maybe this isn’t my soul mate after all,” they wonder. The truth is soul mates aren’t found, they’re formed over time through hard work, selflessness, and a commitment to love your spouse through the good andthe bad.
Other couples enter into marriage from an opposite extreme. They believe the way to ensure a successful marriage is to take the relationship for a trial run by living together before making a lifelong commitment.
But without a commitment to hold the relationship together, the couple is essentially saying to one another, “I’ll hang out with you as long as you make me happy.” That’s a shaky foundation to build a life upon. It’ll infuse doubt and mistrust into the very DNA of your relationship from the get-go.
Cohabitation can sabotage your marriage before you even walk down the aisle. Research bears this out. Studies show that divorce rates for those who live together before marriage are significantly higher than for those who don’t.
These misconceptions, and others, lead us to a central question: How can engaged couples learn how to build a marriage that will last a lifetime?
We’ll be discussing answers to that question on our Focus on the Family Broadcast with our guests Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley. Greg is the vice president of Family Ministries here at Focus and, together, he and Erin do a great job in helping lead our Marriage outreach.
If you’re single, or if you’re a mom or dad with an adult child headed toward the altar, you’ll want to hear “Practical Advice for Those Getting Ready to Wed” on your local radio stationor find the program online via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.It’ll put tools in your hands to have a good discussion about marriage.
This broadcast highlights why Focus on the Family exists. Every month, our counseling team fields over 4,000 calls, of which about 1,500 are related to marriages in conflict. If you can, support our ministry and help us be a cup of cold water to these couples.
Consider participating in our “Friends of Focus on the Family”program by becoming a monthly partner.When you do, I’ll send you a copy of Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley’s book Ready to Wed: 12 Ways to Start a Marriage You’ll Loveas a way of saying thank you. To make your pledge, or for more information, visit our websiteor call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).