My husband, Mike, and I taught the pre-marriage class at our church for over 13 years.  We always started the first class by saying, “Marriage is the best of times and the worst of times.  Your marriage will feel like Heaven on earth and as soon as one or both of you operate out of selfishness or self-centeredness (walking in your flesh) it will feel like Hell on earth.  So, get ready for the ups and downs.  Expect them; they are normal.”

If you fail to navigate through the ups and downs appropriately, the down times can take over.  They can quickly get out of hand and turn into a destructive downward spiral.   The current divorce rate of over 50% may seem inevitable.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Seriously, divorce can be averted.

When Mike and I married a little over 33 years ago, it was common for the minister, priest, or officiant to say something like, “Marriage is a serious commitment.  It is more than an agreement, promise, or a contract.  It is a covenant, a sacred vow, a sacrament which is made before God and the attendees.

When the bride and groom understand the seriousness of their vows before God and the witnesses, they can intentionally COMMIT to keeping their COVENANT.

In real life, determining to keep your covenant (which can never be broken) means you choose to not use “divorce” as a threat to make your partner change or some form of leverage.  Instead, you choose to look at yourself (each person) and make the changes God wants you to make to grow up and be less selfish, self-centered, sinful, or malicious.

Marriage is one of God’s chief sanctifying tool in your adult life.