I was recently taking a couple through the premarital workbook “Creating Possibilities in Marriage.” As the couple worked through their family history and began doing the exercise on their family tree, it immediately dawned on the wife that 70 percent of her relatives were divorced. Then the husband remarked, with an astonished look on his face, “Every one of my people, except one, has been divorced.” I asked them what they thought that meant for them. Humorously, they looked at one another and simultaneously said, “We are in trouble…”
They came to counseling, knowing they were in love; they were leaving their first session knowing they were in trouble. A study by the Center for Disease Prevention & Control reported that 50 percent of American marriages end in divorce. That same statistic is as high as 70 percent among African Americans, by some sources. The reality is that regardless of how much you care or how hard you love, here are some other things you have to do if you really want to make it.
1. Place God at the heart of your marriage
Everyone will need to lean on God at some point or another. When you place God at the head of something, you give him leadership to rule and guide it. When He is at the head of your marriage, He gives you the road map to your end. You may or may not follow that map, just as you may or may not follow the speed limit signs. When you place God at the heart of your marriage, you become His desire for your life and you live as a reflection of Him and not just in response to Him. In marriage there will be times you just simply don’t want to do what you know God wants you to do. The more heart-centered your relationship with God is, the more you, yourself will desire to do what He wants to do.
2. Have a reason to be faithful
I’ve always believed that if you don’t have anything to live for then you will die for nothing. If life is going to have any meaning, you have to have a practical reason to do something. Just getting married because you love a person is not enough to keep you together or keep you faithful. You have to have a reason or a deep internal conviction as to why you need to be faithful. Often, these types of convictions come from people not wanting to repeat patterns in their life. For example, many fathers are committed to being good fathers because they never had a father themselves. So, find a reason why you need to be faithful and not cheat or you may find yourself in trouble.
3. Realize that you are capable of cheating
Don’t ever think that you are so in love or so morally strong that you would never cheat on your spouse. Because as soon as you think you’ve got it all together, you’ll find yourself in a situation you don’t know how to get out of. So, be cautious while being careful: Not having lunch with a friend frequently, not sharing your marriage problems with other people, not traveling for long periods of time without your spouse, not engaging in social activity where your spouse is not present, not engaging in social media conversations you couldn’t share with your spouse, and not being alone with people that may tempt you or that are “your type.”
4. Let the cat kill curiosity for a change
Get rid of curious desires to find out things about other people that really are none of your business. Kill your curiosity and be satisfied with what you know about yourself and your spouse. If anything, you should spend more time getting “in the know” with your partner. Talk to them about the details of their day and plans. Remember, your business is to be in your spouse’s lane, not examining the engine of the other driver.