Experts differ on the rate of divorce in the United States. Fifty percent is the much-quoted statistic, although the actual rate may be a bit lower. But no matter how you slice it, divorce is a HUGE problem in our society, even among professing evangelical Christians.
My wife and I regularly hang out with a lovely Christian couple who I have mentioned a few times in the past. A couple of months ago, my wife informed me that there was going to be a marriage seminar at this couple’s evangelical church and they had invited us to attend. Argh, I thought to myself. Our marriage is doing just fine, so leave us alone. But what kind of husband would I be if I said no to a marriage seminar, so I reluctantly agreed to attend. Double argh!
My wife and I have been married for 44 years if you don’t count the one year we were divorced back in 2001. I had walked away from the Lord ten years previous to that and my wife wasn’t walking closely with the Lord at the time, either. As a result, our marriage became pretty messed up. The Lord brought us back together in 2002 (Praise God!) but it would be another 12 years before I came back to Him. What a dummy! Our marriage still has some challenges at times (what marriage doesn’t?) so I resolved a seminar would do us both some good.
A couple of months seemed like one hundred years away when I first heard about the seminar, but the event quickly crept up on us last weekend. Right on cue, my wife and I had a little squabble right before the 6:30-8:30 Friday evening opening session. My timing is sometimes superb! The information – mostly via video – was very helpful and inspiring. Most importantly, it was God-focused.
The second session was an all-day affair, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and again, right on cue, my wife and I had a nice tiff prior to leaving home. Argh! It was almost as if the Lord allowed those two timely squabbles so that we would have a humble attitude rather than showing up with an “I don’t need this” pridefulness. Again, the information that was presented was very helpful, inspiring, and centered on the Lord.
The videos used in the seminar were put together by FamilyLife, a ministry of CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). I’m definitely not a big fan of CRU because of founder Bill Bright’s ecumenical tendencies, but the material was Biblically solid. I’m currently reading through 10 pages of the 140-page workbook (photo below) each night as a follow-up. The workbook wasn’t used much during the sessions.
Divorce statistics confirm that marriage relationships need constant, intentional work, but we can easily fall into a selfish rut and take our spouses for granted. This seminar was a real blessing to me and an inspiration to be the husband the Lord wants me to be. If your church sponsors a marriage seminar, I would encourage you to check it out.
“But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Mark 10:6-9