My husband and I were backpacking in beautiful Twillyame Meadows in Yosemite when we looked across the water to a beautiful luscious green hill with wildflowers blooming in rich colors of gold and purple. The whispering of the warm wind blowing through the leaves and God’s still voice were beckoning us to lie down and be still. We came away from crowds to relax and breathe in all of God’s amazing work of extraordinary things almost forgotten. We were longing to experience the deep kind of peace in our souls that were rarely found in our hectic lives.
From where we stood, the grass across the stream looked succulent and enchanting. We made the treacherous climb (a hike much more difficult than we expected) to the grass just beyond the water, expecting to find a magical and lush setting, but instead we found patches of dirt and water soaked ground. When we laid down, we found weeds with stickers. I was reminded how “pulling a geographic” never resolves our inner restlessness and emptiness.
Once our desire for an object that appears more satisfying deceives us, the lust of the eyes and flesh can arise and take root in our heart and mind, leaving us vulnerable to infidelity. The temptation is to satisfy a legitimate need at the wrong time, wrong place, and in the wrong way, but we must challenge this temptation with the truth.
What was once labeled “adultery” is now “an affair.” This inviting word is glamorized, wrapped in mystery and fascination. Infidelity temporarily soothes symptoms of low self- worth and discontentment. However, it is merely a camouflage that only delays the pain. We have been seduced by the ideology of Hollywood and world culture. “We have just fallen out of love.” We rationalize this by convincing ourselves that everyone will recover with time.
The reality of divorce is many lonely nights living on a meager income, single parenting, picking up and dropping off our kids with the other parent in parking lots, desolate holidays and feelings of grief, failure and shame. We reap what we sow and soon realize the grass is NOT greener across the stream.
The current divorce rate of Christian marriages is as high as non-Christian marriages. Our notion of faithfulness in marriage, even for those in God’s Kingdom, is often too shallow.
The US Attorney legal services states that the US divorce rate is 53.7% for first marriages. California’s divorce rate is even higher with Southern CA divorce rate being 60-75% for first time marriages. Sadly, the divorce rate is even higher for those who remarry. This is a secret that the enemy likes to keep hidden. The truth about second marriages is they are 75% are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages. Once again, in CA the rate is higher at 80%.
We take ourselves, our history, sins and weaknesses with us where ever we go. Many couples divorce and remarry, without knowing the root cause of their difficulties in their first marriage. The next relationship may look different, however it will just be an altered counterpart with the same collection of weaknesses in the new partner.
If one does not take responsibility for their part in the first break-up, causing them to grow and mature, often unhealthy behaviors will repeat again in the next relationship, which will likely end in another failed marriage.
The Institute for American Values research study found that almost 8 out of 10 couples who avoided divorce were happily married five years later. Feelings of love will come and go through the seasons and stages of marriage. The honeymoon feelings will wear off and reality does set in with bills, children, stressors and the actuality of each other’s flaws. Do not rely on feelings alone to be indicators of love in your marriage.
We are living in an age of a fractured marriage and family system and we need to have compassion for those who are going through divorce. Many feel alone, and hopeless about finding love again. Many divorced parents do a wonderful job raising healthy, bright, well-adjusted children. Many second marriages do work. However, avoiding the pain and grief of divorce is always the preferred path.
The grass is not greener and the experience of a dependable family bond with long term attachment is invaluable. We encourage you to strengthen, repair and heal your marriage with the power of the Holy Spirit and support of others. As the song says, “Love The One You’re With” and enjoy the grass where you’re lying!