Cheesy, yes. Necessary, I think so.
I want to bring this series to a close with a “Call to Arms”, a rallying of the troops, a call to action so to speak. With marriage ending in divorce 40-50% of the time¹, I think it’s warranted. We can all sit around and talk about love and relationships and being nice, but we need to take action and make changes in our lives. I want to keep this short and to point so the effect doesn’t get lost in the words.
For the married: Congrats! You’ve made a big decision to spend the rest of your life with your spouse. So be FAITHFUL. But not just in the traditional sense. Just because you don’t sneak around with someone else doesn’t mean you’re fulfilling your call. We must be faithful through our eyes and our thoughts which can so easily wander. We must be faithful with our attention as well, which is being pulled in a million different directions through social media, entertainment, our own desires and passions, etc. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but priorities matter. Do you give your spouse enough of your attention? Are you honest and open? Do you make their happiness a priority? We need to be honest with ourselves and look at how we use our time, what we bring into our marriage, and how we can increase our faithfulness.
For the soon-to-be married: Congrats to you as well! You’ve also made a big decision. You’ll probably hear many sarcastic and joking “good luck”s and “don’t do it”s from all the hilarious people in your life. I’d wish you a sincere “good luck”, but it’s not luck. It’s a decision. So be PERSEVERANT. If you approach marriage as a life-long commitment, you’ll already have a firm base to build upon; if you approach marriage as something that miiiight workout but we’ll see how it goes, you set yourself up for failure. When you’re dating and it’s not going well, you can breakup and move on. When it’s in marriage, you have to keep trying and persevering.* There is so much joy and beauty in marriage, but there are also hardships and trials. Remember that you are a team and you have God on your side. Decide, together, that you will weather the storms, no matter how fierce, and persevere. Oh, and be faithful.
For the singles : You know what, you get congrats too. People too often feel pressured to “quick find a spouse”. Their parents are pushing them, their uncles are teasing them, they see “all their friends” getting married and having babies. So to you I say, be PATIENT. This can be an extremely valuable and enjoyable period of your life. Take the time to grow in self-awareness, to hone your strengths and attack your weaknesses. Develop strong friendships, improve your relationships, go on some dates. Just don’t rush. Everyone is different, and everyone’s timing is and SHOULD be different. And, if marriage is in the cards for you, and you find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, don’t be afraid to make the jump. And then you get to add perseverance and faithfulness to the list as well.
There is obviously so much more to a successful marriage than faithfulness, perseverance, and patience, but at the same time, these virtues are so powerful yet they are neglected. Marriage and family are the building blocks of society. If we can encourage a healthy family life in our culture, we will see so much positive change. But we have to fight – and that fight is mainly against ourselves, our weaknesses, and our shortcomings. Instead of looking outward and trying to blame everyone else for failing marriages, we must look inward. How are YOU promoting healthy marriages? What are YOU doing to strengthen your family dynamics? And what are YOU doing to improve?
I know I certainly need to reflect on these questions and strengthen my resolve to do better and I only hope that you will join me.
Let us know what you thought of this series and what we should write about next!
*Be advised, certain relationships (alcoholic, abusive, etc.) require different courses of action in order to ensure safety.