She’s pushed your buttons by doing the very thing she said she would never do. You are incensed! These actions feel like a violation of trust. Out of aggravation, your response is unkind and loud. For both of you, you’re each seeing a side that you’ve never seen before: yelling, screaming, tears, and restraint as you both try to control yourself. But you’re both spiraling out of control. How will this end?
Relationships start with a connection. In the early stages, that connection can seem seamless. You finish each other’s sentences, look longingly at each other, saying a lot without saying much at all. But over time, relationships are built on communication. As partners begin to think that things are moving towards a lifelong union, progressive conversations will be the basis for the future you hope to build with each other. While it can seem daunting to think about an unknown future with someone you love, this task can be really simple when you boil it down to what matters most to both of you – commitment and trust. But before we get there, first and foremost, be sure that you share the Christian faith; that you have a solid foundation.
Relationships start with a connection.Tweet this!
As your relationship turns the corner and as trust grows, you’ll talk about commitment, which will segue into marriage and your views on divorce. Naturally, your view of commitment will start with the examples in your lives – your parents or grandparents. Did they have long marriages? Did they seem happy? Any outside children? I recently heard a story about a man whose parents were married for 50 years. He always assumed that those were happy years until he discovered that his dad had a separate life, with a separate family and many children. The impact on this young man was damaging, adversely impacting many intimate relationships. So you’ll talk about how the relationships in your life have affected you. Some of these conversations may be hypothetical and anecdotal, but it’s good to hear what the other feels. You’ll begin to see in each other how each handles difficult situations. Do you run away? Sweep it under the rug? Cut your losses? Or do you understand the value of persevering because it’s worth it?
It’s important to hear the other person’s take on divorce – is it ever on the table? When I met my husband, he was so scarred by his parents’ divorce that the pain was palpable. This dismantling of trust wove its way into most of our conversations. He made it clear that he would never want to inflict that pain on himself and those he cared for. I, on the other hand, came from parents who were long married. I had seen all the ups and downs and anticipated this as a reality of marriage. I saw that whatever it took, they were willing to stay together. We were able to merge these two viewpoints with the resolution that we would start our marriage with divorce off of the table. No matter the difficulty, this would not be an option for us. When our resolve was tested, we became creative in resolving our issues.
What does it mean to cleave to each other according to Genesis 2:24? I was surprised to discover that “cleave” has two meanings. It can mean to split apart – an action that is done to wood or meat (think meat cleaver), or it can mean join together – a union of two people. The technical term for this type of word is an auto-antonym – a word that is the opposite of itself. When it comes to starting marriages right, cleaving means we are forever connected to our spouse. We are always near to each other, tied together by loyalty and affection, forming a lifelong bond of commitment and trust.
Divorce is the ultimate breach of trust, so it’s helpful to know that you share the same views on it before getting married. In the heat of the moment, it’s one less thing to worry about. Don’t make your marriage an auto-antonym becoming the reverse of what you committed to when you said your vows. Instead, have conversations enhanced by your commitment to each other so that you forge ahead.
If the situation above seems eerily familiar, remember your commitment and trust to each other. With knowledge of each other, resolve to cleave to each other. Rebuild your trust and strengthen your commitment to each other.
There are other serious conversations that you will have before you tie the knot, but if you can get a sense of what commitment means to each of you, it can provide some peace during the difficult times. When the going gets tough, cleave to each other.