The things we learn about marriage

English: A male and a female holding hands.

I had a quick opportunity after church today to encourage a guy who recently invited me to his home for lunch and to watch football. I use the word “encourage” not because I sensed he was distraught (he was not), but because what I wanted to say was heart-felt and true.

How many people in the church today are a few dollars in filing fees away from divorce? If statistics are anything, it’s about the same number as those outside of the church. But back to my friend.

At my friend’s home recently a simple mishap with a paper plate sent food and drink crashing to the floor. Fortunately for the guests it wasn’t one of us who spilled our plate of food on the floor. What struck me most about the mishap was the reaction of his wife to his mishap and the overall tone in the room when it happened. Nobody got upset. Nobody sounded even the slightest bit perturbed or angry. The food and drink was cleaned up and my friend went back for another plate of food.

My point to my friend: while some might have reacted harshly to a plate of Mexican food becoming one with the carpet, he and his wife handled in with such honest grace that it serves as an excellent example of how the rest of us should endeavor to react. We all could use more grace and less rage.


Sitting in the same church service today were some other couple friends — married couples I’ve known for some time. One couple in particular never seem to tire of being with each other. I’ve seen them outside of church settings and they hold hands in those situations too, almost as if they’re two love-struck teenagers. There are a very small number of other such couples in my church. I wish there were more.


Who am I to speak, you say? To some I’m the divorced guy who couldn’t keep his marriage together. To others I’m the odd guy at the round table with an even number of chairs. What most who seem to know these two facts don’t seem to know is that I’m the guy who, in response to life and what I’ve learned from it, finds it very easy now to watch couples and try to quietly learn what seems to make their marriages work. For my friends in church who seem to be doing better than others, I see some common denominators that make me want to learn more. It certainly makes me want to question their success.

My point here isn’t to give you the fine points that I’ve learned from my friends because, quite honestly, I’ve not asked any of them point-blank to give me their secrets. For starters, I think there are no tried-and-true “secrets” they can share that aren’t really a matter of common knowledge from the lessons taught in the Bible. Even so, I know they all have something to share, and at the right time, in the right way, and through some honest conversations, I hope to learn from each of them.

For those looking to marry (or remarry) I think there are some shining examples around us who can offer some sage advice if we’re perceptive enough to look, then brave enough to ask. After all, the alternative of going at it without seeking advice, with an attitude of “I’ve got this… leave me alone,” doesn’t have a very good track record.


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