When I heard him say it, I immediately knew this was a different perspective than what many people hold and if I’m honest, different than the current perspective I had on the subject.  Parenting can be an all consuming task and therefore put significant strain on the all-important relationship with our spouse.  There are many days and nights where my wife and I have plans to spend time together or share a significant conversation when the kids go down, only to get to that point and throw in the towel.

“You want to talk about something significant or just watch The Voice?”  “I’ve got nothing left in the tank, let’s see what Blake Shelton’s up to.”

It’s not hard to see how we can drift apart or forget what it takes to make a relationship work.  That’s why I really appreciated what this guy had to say.  He was sharing how he and his wife were at the point where divorce was feeling like a very possible outcome.  They decided that wasn’t the route they were going to go and then he said this…

“We decided divorce wasn’t an option and we needed to walk in obedience.  Eventually our love caught up to our obedience.”

Our love caught up to our obedience.

I didn’t hear anything else he said that morning.  I just kept thinking about the implications of that kind of perspective.

Don’t Throw in the Towel

In, The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller shares that the perspective around the purpose of marriage has significantly shifted in our culture.  There is a growing pessimism around marriage and a quick survey of culture shows that not many feel like “walking in obedience” is worth it.

Keller shares that,  “Marriage  used to be a public institution for the common good, and now it is a private arrangement for the satisfaction of the individuals.  Marriage used to be about us, but now it is about me.

If it’s about my satisfaction, then why would I make the sacrifices it takes to walk in obedience and give time to allow my love to catch up to my obedient actions?  The current, and again, often pessimistic, perspective around marriage doesn’t make much of the institution.

However, longitudinal studies show that our current mood around marriage is not empirically supported.

“Most striking of all, longitudinal studies demonstrate that two-thirds of those unhappy marriages out there will become happy within five years if people stay married and do not get divorced.  This led University of Chicago sociologist Linda J. Waite to say, ‘the benefits of divorce have been oversold.'”

During the last two decades, the great preponderance of research evidence shows that people who are married consistently show much higher degrees of satisfaction with their lives…it also reveals that most people are happy in their marriages, and most of those who are not and who don’t get divorced will eventually become happy.  Also, children who grow up in married, two-parent families have two to three times more positive life outcomes than those who do not.”  The overwhelming verdict, then, is that being married and growing up with parents who are married are enormous boosts to our well-being.”

If you are struggling with your marriage, don’t throw in the towel.  Don’t listen to the many voices out there who would encourage you to seek your own personal satisfaction – we all know that is not lasting happiness.

Walk in obedience, seek professional help, or do what you need to do because it’s worth it.  Eventually, your love will catch up to your obedience.  I’m incredibly thankful for the perspective changing statement.