100% of marriages are imperfect. 50% of them end in divorce.
There is no marriage that exists on this planet that hasn't failed to live up to expectations, disappointed both husband and wife and proven to be more difficult than anticipated. Every marriage is tough. Maybe it isn't tough everyday. But no matter who you are, what age you were when you married or how right you played the dating "game" marriage will not be a walk in the park from "I do" till "death do us part."
There have been countless books, magazine articles and self-help guides geared to the marriage in distress. Counselors have lined their pockets with well over $100.00 an hour giving advice to couples who are at their wits ends, confused and uncertain of how to fix their problems. There are retreats to "save the marriage" that feature nautical adventures that build teamwork and communication. Some dissatisfied husbands and wives have started blogs to complain to the world about their sub-par spouse. Women take "girls" weekends to escape home and men take "guys" golf trips to get away from nagging wives.
All of these dissatisfied married couples are looking for some magic wand to change their circumstances so that they can be happy. They blame their lack of contentment on the problems in their marriage and the problems their spouse. That person, their habits and their actions are the cause of the unhappy life.
Or are they?
We often want to look at other people as the root cause of our unhappiness. We want to blame someone and point the finger in a direction other than our own heart. But often the problem of a bad marriage won't be solved by escaping the person with whom you signed your name next to on the dotted line of a marriage certificate. The root cause of the real problem may not have anything to do with any person or a particular set of circumstances. The problem may be you and your spiritual health.
Marriage does matter. It is vitally important and the most sacred of earthly unions. But our marriage with God trumps our earthly marriage every time. There simply is no comparison.
We must first set out to work on our marriage with God. He is our bridegroom. He has asked for our hand and, if you are a born again believer, you accepted his offer. Now, with that commitment made, your relationship to him becomes your utmost concern, your first priority. An earthly marriage will need work, too, but the work will be far less demanding if both husband and wife are putting it second to their union with God.
The beauty of putting effort into a thriving marriage with God is that it takes away the stress, anxiety and confusion of working on an earthly marriage. God does double duty. He comes to you as a bridegroom, showing you the most amazing love that can ever be imagined and he works in your earthly marriage, strengthening it and supporting it in ways humans simply can't manage.
This miraculous matrimony is only found when the first marriage is put in its rightful place. Your name is signed next to Christ's, committing yourself to his care, accepting his free gift of forgiveness and agreeing to live in sold out obedience to his word and will. This is your first marriage. This is the most important marriage. When you set your eyes on this union, whether you have a husband or wife or just a dog, your earthly relationships will be brought into a new light. Confusion will flee. Frustrations will be eased. Love will be restored.
But circumstances may not change. Annoying habits may still remain. Finances may still be tight. Kids may still be going through their stages of rebellion. Yet God can transform your heart toward your circumstances and your earthly relationships. He can lift you up to be a different person in spite of your difficulties and troubles.
This beauty can only be found when you go to work on your marriage - your marriage with your bridegroom in heaven. He wants to show you love and give you a life full of joy. There is no man or woman who could ever compare to the love he will show you; no one could ever fulfill you like he will. So, set aside the time to work on your marriage and give it the care it deserves.