Monday, November 26, 2007

It Takes Two

“Two are better than one. . . If one falls down, his friend can help him up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)

Anyone who has read my column knows that I am not someone who believes that you should stay in a marriage at all costs, because sometimes the price is just too high. For instance, if your spouse has been unfaithful, or is abusing you or your children emotionally, mentally, verbally or physically, then you need to protect yourself and your family. That’s not to say that people can’t change, because I know they can, by the grace of God. But research shows that oftentimes the abuser will simply say whatever they have to say to get their partner to take them back. Then once they do, the cycle of abuse starts all over again.

Denise Jackson, the wife of country singer Alan Jackson, recently wrote a book titled, “It’s All About Him.” Denise was recently interviewed on a morning news show, and she explained that Alan had an extramarital affair several years ago. Devastated and alone, Denise cried out to God. Through this experience, she came to the realization that no single human being can possibly meet every one of your needs. We must rely on God, our Heavenly Father, for He will never disappoint. Any time you make a person your god, then you will definitely come up short. Denise and Alan’s story had a happy ending, but she states in the book that not every marriage can be saved. But the bottom line is this: whether you are blessed with a loving spouse, or you are single, widowed or divorced, God must be your Source. He has promised to never leave you or forsake you. He has also promised to meet all of our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. If your faith, confidence or security is derived from any source other than Him, it is misplaced.

"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

~ II Samuel 22:2b-4 (NKJV)

Having said all that, this week I would like to share two very sad poems that I have written over the past year for a very dear friend of mine whose husband is divorcing her after twenty-four years of marriage. This is one of those cases where there is no legitimate reason for the divorce. No adultery; no abuse. Just a marriage that lacked the communication needed to work through their problems – and every marriage has problems to resolve. The solution to dissatisfaction in a marriage is to bring those grievances to the table openly and honestly so that you can work toward a resolution. When you keep your differences inside for too long, eventually a wall is built between you, making communication and compromise almost impossible to achieve.

“And this you do with double guilt; you cover the alter of the Lord with tears [shed by your unoffending wives, divorced by you that you might take heathen wives]….Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth.”

~ Malachi 2:13, 15b (Amp)

Love's Last Hope
By Eileen Umbehr

He dropped a bomb -
Right in the middle of your life
The life you began with him
Twenty-four years ago

The promises you made
You meant
The promises he made
Were just words

They've been broken now
Along with your heart
Can there be any greater sorrow
Than to lose the one you love
Not to death
But to someone or something

Your heart cries out for answers
But receives only silence
After twenty-four years, you wonder –
Don't I at least deserve that much?

No words. No eye contact.
Just emptiness.
Grief like none other.

You cry out to God,
And in the stillness of your broken heart
You hear Him say
"I am still here. I will always be here."

By faith, you take that first step.
Then another.

Only God could part these waters of grief.
Only by His strength will you escape
And cross safely to the other side.

“Even to your old age I am He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you.” ~ Isaiah 46:4

“Blessed be the Lord who bears our burdens and carries us day by day.” ~ Psalm 68:19

And so, although I do believe in divorce, I believe even more in the sanctity of marriage and the value of keeping a family together. When there is something good worth saving, then simple differences should not destroy a marriage. But as the title of this next poem suggests, reconciliation can only happen when there are two people willing to do the work.

“How can two walk together except they be agreed?”
~ Amos 3:3

It Takes Two

By Eileen Umbehr

The day is fast approaching
And with it many tears
The end of a marriage that lasted
Nearly twenty-five years

What became of the vows recited
Before their friends and God
What about the promises they made
Was that all just one big facade?

What about all of the memories
The two of them have shared
What about the deaths in the family
When they needed each other they were there

What about their three precious children
Will they all continue to thrive
Now that their security is shaken
Because their parents’ love didn’t survive

But the fact of the matter is simple
There are some things that we can’t control
For even though one person wants to try
It takes two halves to make a whole

Yes, it takes two to make a marriage
And try as one person might
If the other is determined to seek a divorce
Then that wrong just can’t be made right

At that point you have no choice
But to grant your spouse’s request
Then trust in the good Lord to lead you
By still waters to true happiness

Because it takes two to walk in harmony
It takes two to help wounds mend
It takes two to make a marriage work
But only one to make it end.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

~ Jeremiah 29:11