I heard the news the other day. A young couple in our community is divorced. Because we live in a small town, news like this touches everyone. I remembered only a few years ago when they were planning a wedding, bubbling over with excitement, love for each other evident in their eyes.
This is an all too familiar, but sad story. It happens thousands of times each day across our country and around the world. Way too often.
When I was writing Because I Said Forever, I came across a startling statistic: less than one third of all divorces end angry, high conflict marriages. What is usually the case is that couples "don't love each other anymore," have "irreconcilable differences," or simply give up trying. It is hard, discouraging work to hang in there in a difficult marriage. Those of us who have been there can attest to that.
Laura Munson's amazing essay in The New York Times is well worth reading. Those Aren't Fighting Words, Dear created quite a stir when it was published in August, 2009. This is a woman who wouldn't give up on her marriage--even when her husband wanted out and told her he didn't love her, probably never had loved her. She said she wanted to rage at him, to beg him to change his mind, to cry uncontrollably. But she didn't.
"Instead, a shroud of calm enveloped me, and I repeated those words: 'I don't buy it.'"
Wow! What a story! I would have been a blubbering mess--and was at one point in my life.
Laura Munson wisely took responsibility for her own happiness and allowed her husband time and space to sort things out. Not an easy task, as she candidly points out. But she was willing to wait, to allow events to unfold. Her first action wasn't to call her lawyer.
It's true, we can't make anyone change, or force them to love us when they say they don't. But we can hang onto hope, believing all things are possible with God. We can take responsibility for ourselves, our actions and feelings. And we can refuse to take on responsibility for the feelings or actions of others that are ultimately out of our control.
Things don't always work out. But when we do our part, what is honoring and pleasing to God, we will have peace that knows no bounds.