I was 24 when I met my now wife.
Like most guys my age, I had dated a few women, but none that I really thought I could see myself marrying. To be fair though, that wasn’t really a problem with them, it more had to do with my immature mindset towards marriage in general.
Then…she walked in.
From the moment I met Melina, I knew it was all over. I don’t even remember overthinking it like I do with everything else. I met her, we started dating, and it was just a given that we would end up marrying. We never even really discussed it. We just knew. We followed the Hollywood playbook perfectly.
But I don’t know if that happens to everyone — or even happens to most people. I think a lot of people struggle to find the one for them. And then, when they do, they base it on emotion, which is notoriously fickle.
To make it easier, maybe we should follow Abraham’s lead and have someone else pick our spouse for us?
The Problem With Most Marriages
I was once told that I should preach on marriage before I actually got married because that would be the only time in my life I would “know everything.” Once you walk down the aisle, reality hits you in the face and everything you thought you knew goes out the window.
The problem with most marriages, at least in my experience, is that commitment usually goes out the window too.
From the beginning, marriage was designed to be for life. In Matthew 19:1-9, Jesus speaks for both Himself and Moses when He says that divorce was never part of the design. Only because of the “hardness” of man’s heart was it even allowed (and even then, according to Matthew 19:9, only for adultery).
A lot of people walk into marriages in our world with the thought that if it doesn’t work out, they can always leave. Sure, it’ll be a “failed” marriage, but at least they tried, right?
Not according to God. In order for a marriage to succeed and be what each partner wants, each person has to take divorce completely off the table. Once that happens, once you both take the option of divorce out of the equation, you’re both forced to make it work…no matter what.
And usually, they do. The divorce rate for couples who “married for love” is around 40%, whereas the divorce rate for arranged marriages is much smaller: Just 4% of arranged marriages end in divorce.
I’m not pro-arranged marriages, but that’s a statistic I can get behind.
Isaac’s Arranged Marriage
Right before Abraham died, he charged his servant with finding a wife for Isaac. That servant went out and found Rebekah, who agreed to leave her home and become his wife (a test of faith by itself).
Isaac didn’t really have a choice in the matter (I’m sure he probably couldn’t have found anyone better than Rebekah to begin with, but that’s irrelevant). Their union was decided by their parents; because they had no choice in the matter, Isaac and Rebekah had to make it work.
I think those of us who are not in arranged marriages can take a huge lesson from that. When you enter into a marriage because of emotions, those emotions can change and your relationship can suffer. Eventually, you may find someone else that drives your emotions like your spouse used to, and the end is near.
When you enter into a marriage because of some other reason — such as the genuine desire to support each other — then that can’t fail because it’s not based on emotion. It’s based on a choice you two made, which isn’t subject to the whims of the time.
If you’re married, ask yourself: What is your marriage founded on? If it has the foundation of an emotional attachment, it’s time to ground it in something more permanent. If it’s based on a decision to commit to each other, it’ll weather the storms of life much more easily.
No matter how long you’ve been married, you can make a choice to take divorce completely off the table. Decide to commit to each other’s growth and watch how your marriage improves as a result.