“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
Can marriage be made easy? Is it even reasonable to think such a thing? Divorce rates are around 50% for first marriages and they are much higher for 2nd and 3rd marriages, if it was so easy wouldn't the divorce rate be lower? Wow, good questions. One would think that if marriage could be made easy everyone would do it and divorce rates would be much lower. I have to confess, my own marriage has not always been easy. My wife and I have had to work through a few tough spots along the way. Could it be that instead of making marriage easy, a lot of people make it hard? Maybe, what would an easy marriage look like?
First, an easy marriage would start with picking the right kind of person to marry. With eharmony around, this should be easy right! Well, maybe not. Perhaps we should have our parents pick our spouse like Abraham did for Isaac...that might not be the best idea, but it might not be the worst either. Parents often have a lot of wisdom to offer their kids in this regard, but they can be a little overzealous too. Perhaps the bottom line is this, start by doing the best you can to make sure you marry someone with similar beliefs in the area of faith. Don't equivocate on this one, it is essential!! If you do this, your marriage will be much easier than if you don't.
Second, don't be selfish. We all know that is pretty easy right! Just because we have been selfish all our life leading up to marriage doesn't mean we have to continue in that way. Most of our life prior to marriage we don't have to be selfless. As a baby someone gets our food, changes our diapers, etc. Even later in life when we have all of that mastered, we are able to spend money on the things we want without having to think of others, go where we want when we want, and do pretty much whatever we want. So, when you get married, just change all of that and your marriage will be easier, at least easier than it will if you don't.
Third, realize that you and the person you married sin sometimes, and be forgiving. No one's perfect, and if we would all just realize that, it would go a long ways. Of course most of the time when we say people aren't perfect we mean they might not pick up after themselves all the time or maybe they will tell a little "white lie" from time to time. That isn't what we see in Scripture, we see people really messing up: adultery, murder, denying Jesus, etc. Further, Romans 3 doesn't describe "other people", it describes you and your spouse. What if your spouse really messes up? Are you willing to forgive? What if they spend money and get you in debt? What if they look at porn? What if they hit you (this could be either spouse by the way)? What if they ridicule you? I know, we usually don't go into marriage thinking these things will happen, but they do. If you expected that none of these things would ever happen in your marriage, you were probably wrong. If you can remember that neither you nor your spouse are without sin, and you can learn to forgive, your marriage will be easier, at least easier than it will if you don't.
So, you want a blissfully easy marriage? Do these three things and you will be well on your way.
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.