Oct 172019 3 Responses

Why Your Marriage Matters to Strangers

What if I stopped loving Jenny? Obviously, the effects would be devastating for both of us. Our home would be destroyed. Our lives turned upside down. The romantic story we’ve been writing would come to a tragic end.

But would it stop there? Is our love simply about us?

By no means.

Love within a marriage creates a ripple effect. It impacts a husband and wife tremendously, but it doesn’t end there. Children, families, communities, and even nations are impacted by how a husband and wife choose to love each other.

Minimize to Justify

“That’s between me and her/him.” I can’t tell you the number of times those words have been said to me over the phone or in my office. It’s usually in response to a question about their marriage. Not wanting to disclose the state of their relationship, normally the husband (sometimes the wife) will say “that’s between me and her/him.”

Of course they know better. They are aware that if the relationship dissolves, the lives of others will be greatly impacted. Yet in order to justify their actions, they have attempted to minimize the consequences of those choices. (See: Your Spouse Matters, Choose Wisely)

It’s deception. This is what empowers many to choose not to love. They are deceived at the far-reaching effects of their choices. They are attempting to convince themselves and others that it won’t be that big of an issue if they decide to break their vows. They are wrong.

Your Marriage Matters

Your marriage matters far more than you realize. If you stop loving your spouse, it will have a greater impact than just to you and your husband/wife. While there are times in which those vows should be broken, those times are rare. And even if the circumstances to break them are present, they should be broken in light of the full truth that it is a decision which will have far-reaching consequences.

Consider others who are impacted by your love for your spouse.

Parents. Few people consider the pain parents go through as their children divorce. The argument could be fairly made that divorce is harder on parents than on the actual couple divorcing. They love deeply, understand the consequences, and can do nothing about it. That is a difficult place to be.

Children. Sometimes divorce is better for children, but in most cases, it is not. Divorce shatters the foundation upon which a child is building his/her life. In part, it’s more difficult the older a child is because more of their history is impacted when mom and dad no longer love each other.

Families. A broken marriage changes everything and impacts everyone. Aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, cousins, and every other familiar relationship is changed and the very concept of family is threatened when two people stop loving each other.

Friends. When a relationship is fractured, friends feel as though they are thrown into the middle. No one should have to choose sides, but that’s exactly what it feels is happening when friends divorce. It’s difficult to equally support both parties which means the relationship changes.

Churches. A church isn’t a building; it’s a people. As such, the church is greatly impacted by marriages. Since fellowship within a home is such an integral part of strong church life, when the home is in chaos, the church struggles. (See: Why Marriage Matters to the Church)

Communities/Nations. Family forms the foundation of society and family is primarily shaped by marriage. When marriages erode, so does the community. Homelessness, poverty, poor education, drug abuse, loneliness, and a plethora of other conditions are all related to divorce. When marriages thrive, so do nations.

Maximize to Love

Remembering the vast impact which marriage plays on all of life shouldn’t intimidate us. Instead, it should empower us. The far-reaching effect should help us prioritize marriage. Rather than falling for the deception of minimization regarding marriage, we should maximize our viewpoint. Whenever I love Jenny, I’m also loving her mom, our niece, my best friend, our church home group, and my hometown. Every small act can have a cumulative effect on many other things.

Consider if tomorrow I decided to stop loving Jenny. It would hurt her, but what else would happen?

  • What would it do to our children?
  • How much pain would it cause her mom?
  • What would be the impact on our nieces and nephews who are looking to us and learning what marriage is about?
  • How would the end of our story impact those who have read Friends, Partners & Lovers or Happily?
  • What about those who have been encouraged by my website?
  • How would our church be impacted? Would people be tempted to doubt anything I’ve said in the past?
  • What would be the impact on our community?

In every situation, negative consequences would be experienced by others if I chose to stop loving Jenny. While loving her for her sake should be enough, I should always remember that loving her has a far greater ripple effect than just she and I.

By loving each other, we are doing far more than just loving each other.

So love one another. And in the places where you struggle to love each other, get the help necessary to learn the skills of how to love and be loved.

(A note about divorce: Please read this with the right understanding of my heart. I would never want to guilt those who have gone through a divorce. It’s often tragic and I would never want to add to your pain. Also, I would never want to communicate that a couple should never divorce. In some situations, they should. When abuse–physical, verbal, emotional, sexual–takes place, I often agree that couples should end their marriage. Even when those situations are not present, some relationships just don’t make it. The purpose of this article is to encourage married couples to love each other well and not fall for the temptation of believing their relationship is just about them.)

For more, catch my appearance on Focus on the Family:

3 Responses to Why Your Marriage Matters to Strangers
  1. J. Parker Reply

    What I often hear too is couples saying they’ll just want until their kids are grown, as if divorce won’t impact adult children. As someone whose parents divorced in her first year of marriage, yes, it does.

    Now in my parents’ case, it was likely the necessary choice by that point, but they could have fixed their marriage earlier if they’d been willing to speak up, reach out, and get help. I’m 100% sure you’ve seen that too, Kevin.

    I’m saying a prayer now for that couple who thinks hanging on until the kids are grown is better than working at reviving their marriage. If it can be revived, it’s worth doing.

  2. Blue Reply

    I don’t want to divorce my husband, I love him very much. I’ve stayed with him through his infidelity, secrets and lies. I moved with him far away from my family to pursue his career and had to leave a job I worked so hard for. I’ve found new work, but it’s lonely being so far from home and married to someone who’d rather play on his phone after work than be interested in me and how my day went. He constantly talks down to me and tells me I annoy him. The only time he’s nice is when he wants sex, and when I submit to him in that way, it’s usually painful because he doesn’t wait until I’m ready.
    I’ve cried myself to sleep so many nights. I’m not a bad person. I’m highly educated, young and many tell me I’m beautiful. The one person I want to see me that way, just tears me down. He won’t do counseling and always says he doesn’t know how to be good to me anymore. It’s been a long hard two years.
    I’m starting to feel like I’m in an emotionally abusive marriage but I don’t want to accept it. He used to be so good to me but now he seems to hate me (we’ve been married 6yrs now). I hate myself for loving this man and choosing him as my partner. I feel fooled and lost all at the same time. I don’t know what I did to deserve this.
    I just want my husband back who used to cherish me and love me everyday. He’s grown to be angry, selfish, and mean. I pray God heals his heart and brings him back to me. I’m just so broken right now.

  3. Lori Mattioli Reply

    What a painful place to be, Blue. Praying for you.

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