When Happily Ever After Isn’t…
Wyoming typically has a divorce rate that lands within the top five highest states in the United States. Also 7.9% of married partners are working on their third plus marriage1, which is the 6th highest in the country as well. On a national level, your first marriage has about a 50% chance of success, a second plummets to about 33%, with a third marriage dropping potential success to 28%2.
Even though you have to love the fact that Wyoming hasn’t given up on marriage, as many states appear to have done, we can’t help but think that we could do a better job.
“Happily Ever After” is not a roll of the Dice.
If you look at the divorce statistics from Pew Research or the CDC you could quickly come to conclude that your future marriage success is in the hands of a series of factors beyond your control. Divorced parents, financial situation, age, region of the country and a host of other factors have been shown to increase your chances of failure in marriage. If we adopt a victim mentality, then a successful marriage can seem like an impossible dream. Even then, most will still give it a try just because we so desperately want and need our “happily ever after”. But, marriage never has been nor will it ever be about LUCK.
“Happily Ever After” is not a more reasonable set of expectations.
Psychology Today suggests that as many as 6 out of 10 couples are “unhappily” married3. Unrealistic expectations, lack of communication, boredom, infrequent sex, and many other reasons are cited by those discontented with their marriages. So, is the answer simply to lower your expectations and find ways to get your needs met outside of marriage?
Many who study marriage tend to research its broken consequences in our modern society without much consideration of truly healthy marriages. It is rarely acknowledged that a healthy marriage also has a way of being so much more than can be expected. It can meet needs we are unaware we possessed. It can fulfill us in places that we did not know we were empty. But, healthy marriages do not happen by accident or fortune.
“Happily Ever After” is a series of habits.
Consistent communication, conflict resolution, considerate sexual intimacy and lots of time together are a few habits that can quickly move a marriage in a better direction. But, how could we learn these skills? And better yet, where should we turn to find them?
Who is the expert on “Happily Ever After”?
We don’t often admit it, but we daily decide who will inform and counsel our marriage. Typically our choice is ourselves. We decide that we are personally the best source for our marriage success. But… It’s not working for us. Most of our marriages aren’t improving. Most are not getting what they need from their marriages. We need to admit that we do need something from our marriage. After all, God gave us marriage to meet certain needs that He created within us. And that is the rub…
If God gave us marriage, and He did.
Genesis 2:22-24 (NLT) Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. 23 “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’” 24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
Then we should concede that He knows how to make it work. He knows how to invest in a marriage. He knows how our needs are to be satisfied in a marriage. He knows the deep and profound treasures available to us in a relationship that He designed to give us unconditional love, complete acceptance and unbelievable value.