Seven Reasons It’s Worth Sticking Out Your Marriage
On Saturday, Miriam and I will celebrate the 50th anniversary of our wedding.
We were married the year of Woodstock and Apollo 11. There were no smartphones or personal computers and no internet. We’ve been married longer than many of you have been alive. And more than twice as long as we were alive as single people.
I’m not going to bore you with how we’ve made it so long. Instead, let me give you seven reasons why it’s worth sticking it out.
But before we get to those, I want to apologize to those of you who are divorced or remarried. I don’t know your story. I realize that sometimes it’s out of your control. And when there’s abuse involved, there’s a different set of rules. I’m not trying to be hurtful or cavalier. When I talk about keeping at it, I mean right now, real-time with your present spouse.
I write this to the man (or woman) who’s just tired of the fight. Who’s thinking there’s got to be something (or someone) better than this! My encouragement is to hang in there. Don’t give up. Love is a choice you make. And here are seven reasons why you should make that choice . . .
- You’ll be happier – When we’re younger, we think, “I married the wrong woman!” and we use that perception to justify replacing our mates. Soon after, we realize she wasn’t the problem, and you’ve undone something sacred that could have been salvaged. The things you expect and demand early on pale in comparison to what matters most later on.
- You’ll become a better person – Gary Thomas talks about marriage as the full-length mirror where we can see our selfishness. When we were at the brink of breaking up, I realized just how much of it was me and my selfishness . . . demanding my wife change to become someone she wasn’t. God showed me my selfishness, and thankfully, Miriam gave me another chance and time to work on it.
- Your priorities will change over time – We got married on new love, which is fleeting and fragile. What fulfills and lasts is mature love built on acceptance, mutual respect, mutual sacrifice, and friendship. What you think matters most when you’re young moves further down the list as you get old. It’s not too late to develop mature love for each other.
- You’ll have fewer regrets – Everyone has regrets. Most fade in the rearview mirror over time. But divorce never moves to the rearview mirror. It’s bolted to the hood, dead-center of the windshield. Ask anyone who’s been through it.
- You’ll raise the odds that your kids will stick it out – If you get divorced, you give your kids tacit permission to do the same. You can’t tell them not to do something you did. Studies have shown that daughters of divorced parents have a 60 percent higher divorce rate than children of non-divorced parents, while sons have a 35 percent higher rate.
- You’ll find the grass isn’t always greener – Life is more complicated on the other side of divorce. It’s time-consuming and expensive. Your kids’ weddings certainly don’t get any easier. Not to mention the “single-again” dating scene. I can’t speak to it firsthand, but the divorced people I’ve talked find dating difficult and exhausting.
- Your shared history gets more valuable over time – My wife is the only one who remembers my parents and siblings. Those early memories of our courtship and our kids and the context of our earlier life are single-threaded through the two of us. Easy to undervalue and toss aside when things are tough.
We’re glad we chose each other and even more glad we kept at it.
Thank you, Miriam, for spending your life with me!
Scripture: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
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We have also just celebrated 50 years of marriage. It has been a blessing to my life. The only other role models for us in our family were my father’s parents. These special grandparents helped me in my faith journey and were married more than 60 years. Regi offers great insight for any year in your relationship. Make it stronger and make it better. Blessings, JJ
Good points… even point 6. However, if a couple sticks out a marriage, they technically can’t “find that the grass isn’t always greener.” Even your comments indicate you learned this second hand, not through experience.
Unfortunately, most of the time, when people find out that the grass is not greener, it is too late.
I watched the last twenty five of the fifty years from a distance. Sometimes it was pretty and sometimes it wasn’t. What I admired most is you were both always all in. No doubting…you trusted God put you together, he gave you kids, and he meant for you to be together.
And I look at you and Miriam and those kids, their spouses and your grandchildren and smile. What a beautiful marriage and family. This is the work of God.
Regi, I know you didn’t post this so I could congratulate you on 50 years of marriage, but I’m going to do it anyway. My hearty congratulations on the lasting marriage, and these very insightful points on the subject. You are 12 years ahead of me (even though I’m older) so I know a lot of what you’re talking about. And I love the Scripture verse! Thank you Regi for giving US so much of your life.
How have you furthered/strengthened and advanced the Kingdom of God in Jesus name through your marriage?
Congratulations Regi & Miriam on 50 years together. Thank you so much for your example, for staying with each other and for this post. Couldn’t agree more. Love the additional insights you’ve given me in your book: What Radical Husbands Do.
Regi and Miriam – congratulations on 50 years!!! Thanks for your example, for staying together and for the insight in this post. I’ll share it with others. I appreciate this and the added insight you’ve given me in your book What Radical Husbands Do.
Divorce does move into the rearview mirrow. Just because parents divorce, does not mean kids will. My life was far less complicated after divorce. Not all divorces are disasters. Hang in there if you can but when it gets bad, get out of it and start a new life.
Congratulations, you two! Continued blessings on your marriage!
Thank you Regi for sharing these truths and congratulations to you and your wife Miriam on your 50th anniversary. I am 20 years in marriage and I can say that the truths you have talked about are real. Through them I have seen some of the mistakes I have made and I am encouraged to stick in there God helping me not only for us but for our kids sake.
We wish you God’s blessings so that you can continue mentoring the generations.
Regi – your observations could not be more spot on. To have the joy of looking back on a 50 year journey together far, far outweighs any of the obstacles faced along the way. You have more smiles as you remember the good and even the difficult, and no regrets as you remember how you both “broke the code” on compatibility along the way. Your kids are thankful and God is pleased as they watch you continue the journey. Many blessings to you both on this monumental day. Just continue to remind her that you know that you “married up!” Love you both!
I would love to have a strong Christian point for my mom who wants to divorce my Dad bc he doesn’t give her enough attention. My parents are 80 and 82 and my mom recently told me she wants a divorce. No cheating no physical abuse, my Dad would do anything she asks but that is not enough. Do you think my Mom may have some strange dementia. I don’t see it. All I see is a woman who isn’t willing to let my Dad be the good man he is. I’m actually scared she will divorce him and she claims to have a personal relationship with God. I don’t see it. Help me!