I feel that divorce is such a common practice in our society today. Alan J. Hawkins has said, “Researchers have estimated that 40 to 50 percent of first marriages– and about 60 percent of remarriages– are ending in divorce in the United States.” That’s a lot! However, it is understandable. Divorce is portrayed in the media and seen as a good solution to any problem that arises in a marriage. I don’t mean to speak lightly of this topic, but really sometimes I feel that it’s “You didn’t take the garbage out? Divorce. You hurt my feelings? Divorce. You don’t want to work? Divorce.” And so on. I don’t mean to diminish or put down anyone who has been through a divorce because I do believe that there are good reasons for divorce, but I feel that divorce is seen as ok no matter what the reason behind it is and I disagree with that. I personally feel that there are only a handful of reasons for a divorce to happen (abuse- emotional and physical, constant cheating and unfaithfulness, or other harmful and toxic situations). Marriage is a big deal! So I would say that 98% of the time when the question “Should I keep trying to work it out?” is asked the answer should always be YES!! Now I’m not saying that divorce should never happen, but I am saying that marriages should be worked on so before you turn your nose up at what I have to say please just keep reading and hear me out.
Spiritual Counsel on Divorce.
Later on in his article Hawkins says, “In the celestial law of marriage, God has commanded us to remain together and keep our marriages strong, even when that means we must partake of some of the bitter fruits of life together.” When Eve came to Adam asking him to partake of the fruit he didn’t look at her and say “Sorry not gonna happen. Looks like you’re on your own.” Instead he partook of the fruit and joined Eve, even though he knew what the consequences would be. He was faithful to her and was willing to work through their struggles. This is something we should all stop to think about. I mean really it would have been pretty easy for Adam to say no and just walk away, but was eating the fruit really something that should break up the marriage? Absolutely not and Adam knew that.
We should take our individual circumstances and think about what is really worth fighting or bickering about or even leaving our spouse for. While this is said often and probably overused I don’t think people really understand it, but PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES. Yup it’s true none of us are perfect and sin is unavoidable. We all have our own issues and problems, but should we look at our spouse’s issues and leave because of them? Most of the time no. President James E. Faust said this about divorce:
In my opinion, “just cause” should be nothing less serious than a prolonged and apparently irredeemable relationship which is destructive of a person’s dignity as a human being. At the same time, I have strong feelings about what is not provocation for breaking the sacred covenants of marriage. Surely it is not simply “mental distress,” nor “personality differences,” nor “having grown apart,” nor “having fallen out of love.” This is especially so where there are children.
When going through hard times this is especially important to sit down and think about. Is what you’re going through bad enough for a divorce or can it be worked out over time? I believe time is the key to most problems in marriage, especially bigger issues.
My husband and I have recently gone through a difficult rough patch. My husband came to me a little while ago and told me about some things that he had done and had happened while we were married. In the beginning I really didn’t know how to get through it. Some days I still don’t. Hearing what had happened made my heart sink and tears filled my eyes, but to be honest the very first thought that popped into my mind after he had told me everything was, “You can do this. Time will heal and your marriage will work out. DO NOT GIVE UP!” I was filled with complete peace and assurance knowing that while what we were going through was incredibly painful and at times numbing for me, everything would work out in the end. Now I’m not saying that we haven’t had to work at our marriage because we have. It’s been exhausting some days while other days it has been smooth sailing. However, to us it is worth working out. Divorce hasn’t come up because we want to work it out and we want to make our marriage ever stronger than it was before. Hard days will continue to come, but it’s the good days that keep us going. Eventually we know that the good days will take over all the hard days and we will be able to look back on what we have experienced and know that we have come closer and grown stronger because of it. I personally know that time heals because for me it already has. In a short amount of time my pain has become less and I know that over a longer period of time my pain has the potential to be completely gone.
Continuing on in his article Hawkins says, “Apparently, then, many who divorce are married for a relatively short period of time. In our own professional work, we have learned that unfortunately many people divorce after a short period of problems and make their decisions quickly, based almost solely on emotion.” It can be easy to base decisions off emotion, but when it comes to divorce this should not happen. Too often couples get a divorce and later regret their decision because they knew they were being too emotional and not thinking straight at the time. Hawkins gives an account of a divorced woman who said:
Now that I’m older and more mature, I look back and think, “Oh my goodness, the issues were really not as big as we made them out to be.” And truly, I wish I would have done things differently to maybe work on that relationship further.
Do not let this be you. Be willing to sit and really think before jumping into a divorce. If you are struggling with your marriage think about going to counseling because it really could save your marriage. Also, patience is key. Problems will not be fixed from one counseling session or even a handful of them, but it is possible to fix them over time. From a study Hawkins says, “This study suggests that long-lasting marital unhappiness is uncommon; unhappy marriages often improve significantly over time for those who are patient and keep trying to work things out. Thus, we think there should be a presumption that current unhappiness in a marriage will diminish, problems will be resolved and happiness will return. Patience and perseverance can make a real difference.” Believe in your marriage and have patience through the difficult times because over time things can and will work out.
I would like to finish my thoughts with a quote from Elder Dallin H. Oaks. He said:
Now I speak to married members, especially to any who may be considering divorce.
I strongly urge you and those who advise you to face up to the reality that for most marriage problems, the remedy is not divorce but repentance. Often the cause is not incompatibility but selfishness. The first step is not separation but reformation… Under the law of the Lord, a marriage, like a human life, is a precious living thing. If our bodies are sick, we seek to heal them. We do not give up. While there is any prospect of life, we seek healing again and again. The same should be true of our marriages, and if we seek Him, the Lord will help us and heal us.
Let us work to preserve our marriages. Remembering that through trials we can be made stronger and with time and patience we can be healed.
Click here to for 10 tips to help a marriage.