Is it possible? I mean, can love really last forever?
Depends on how you define love, I guess.
I've been on furlough for over 3 months now, traveling around the UK and the US with my family, and for some reason the issue of divorce and dissatisfied marriages seemed to slap me in the face. It was all around me...young couples and old, friends and family. No matter the situation, pain was there. The fallout hits far more people than the original two.
I know all about the fallout...I'm a product of divorced parents. I know about that pain; what it feels like to grow up without a dad; the hurtful things kids say on the playground; the feeling that something's missing...and the hardening of the heart because the missing piece cannot be retrieved.
It's a messy thing, divorce.
As I was listening to people's stories and watching my friends in pain, I wondered, "How do we turn this Titanic around? How do we protect our marriages, and fulfill those vows we made before God and man?"
It's not THE answer, but a friend handed me a sheaf of papers one day and said, "Try that on for size." It was the 30 Day Encouragement Challenge for Wives, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. The basic premise is that for 30 days, you're not allowed to say anything negative to your husband, or about your husband to someone else!
Yikes! I wondered if I could make it for even 1 day! On top of that, each day has specific areas in which we find something encouraging to say to our husbands.
"Dear Lord," I prayed before starting the challenge, "You know my tongue, and You know I can't do this without You. So please help me with the words that come out of this mouth, and control this horrible little rudder that so often steers my marriage onto rocky ground!"
Guess what? It was amazing. Yes, it was hard, especially the first few days, but once I got used to it, I started to see things in a whole new light. Once I quit focusing on the negative and being critical about everything, all those annoying little things seemed to lose their annoyingness. They just didn't matter that much anymore. And I started to have a whole new appreciation for my husband that was normally hidden under a cloud of criticism.
Actually verbalizing that appreciation, and actively encouraging him, was harder than it would seem, but it got easier and easier with each passing day until I started encouraging him about all kinds of things that weren't even on the challenge.
After a week or so he found out what was going on. "Ohhh," he said, "so that's what happened to you!"
Kind of embarrassing, but heh...the one thing I've learned from all this stuff is that we have to keep trying to build our marriages stronger. I hate eating that humble pie, but if it means getting closer to my husband, and replacing destructive habits with loving ones, I'm ready to do it. Because I want to make it work.
I know it's not easy, and I'm not judging anyone whose marriages haven't worked, but we have to ask ourselves, "What kind of a legacy are we leaving our children? How committed are we to fulfilling those vows?"
There's a great movie out now that has this same encouragement challenge as it's theme, but it's called the Love Dare and the husband is the one who does it to save his marriage. The movie's called "Fireproof" and I highly recommend it. The website has a couple's quiz and full couple's check-up, if you like those sorts of things.
If you're interested in any of the ideas shared above:
30 day encouragement challenge: www.reviveourhearts.com/pdf/30DayChallenge.pdf