A few years ago a family friend got divorced. They were younger than my parents and I was about kindergarten age when they got married. Their children were almost out of the nest when they got divorced. I don't know how long they were married, but probably about 20 years. It troubled me to read a Christmas card with the news of their divorce.
Both my bridesmaids (thankfully not my sister-the maid of honor), had their parents get divorced after they had graduated from high school and their siblings were out of the nest or almost out of the nest.
In the past few years a pastor we are friends with has become separated and may get divorced. The children are upper elementary-middle school age. That is a tricky situation when the children are old enough to choose who to live with but not out of the nest yet.
Recently I heard of someone else that was married over 20 years with all the children out of the nest that is separated.
Out of these 5 couples- 3 are Lutheran, 1 is Mormon, and 1 is Christian. Except for 1 couple, they all separated or got divorced when the children were all out of the nest or nearly out of the nest. Even that one couple had children that were older-not toddlers. I don't know all the details of their dating and early marriage, but it makes me wonder, did they marry their high school sweetheart? Did they date very long before they got married? etc. It seems as if they were so focused on their children that when they grew up and moved out, they had nothing left of their marriage. Maybe they tried to hold the marriage together for the sake of the children but after they moved out there wasn't any reason to work at holding the marriage together. In my opinion this is even worse for their children because they got divorced right at the time their children were near getting married themselves. Their children wonder if it is worth getting married if their own parents got divorced after several years of marriage.
I have been thinking about this post for awhile. Ram and I will celebrate our 8th anniversary in two weeks. I have many friends that got married while I was in college or right after college that have been married 13, 14, or 15 years. I was going to post that thankfully all of those friends are still married. I was going to write that all of my high school and college friends that got married are still married. But I didn't get around to posting that statement in time. One thing about reading Christmas cards is you hear both the good and the bad news of families. Yesterday I heard that one of my high school friends is getting divorced after 4 children and 14 years of marriage. She was one of my first friends to get married. Even though it was quite a drive, I went to her wedding. She happened to be home at Christmas so she was able to come to my wedding. I even remember what I gave her and she gave me as wedding presents. I don't know any details and I hope that she can work things out, but I'm afraid that she won't.
I know that there are two sides to each divorce and that some times there are very good reasons for divorce. But sometimes it seems as if people get divorced just because they don't want to work at marriage any more. My parents celebrated their 40th anniversary this year and they can tell you they have been through a lot in their marriage. Marriage is hard work. Sometimes people get divorced because the "grass is greener" at another place. I can't imagine it really is greener when you have to start over completely. I've only been married 8 years and I definitely do not want to start over completely at this point!
Since Ram and I both come from families with our parents still married, I can't even imagine what the holidays are like when your parents are divorced. This time of year has to be so difficult to work out who gets the kids for which holiday etc. And it has to be difficult if the kids are grown up-where do they go home? Ram and I are very blessed to have parents that are still married and the Lambs are very blessed to have grandparents that are still married.
I don't have all the answers, but I know that Christians are not immune to divorce. Sometimes I think the devil makes it so we Christians have to work even harder on our marriages than non-Christians. All this bad news about our friends getting divorced recently has been a good reminder to pray for all my friends and families that are married. And I need to pray for my single friends-both the ones that never married and the ones that are divorced now. It is also a good reminder to not let your marriage go while you have kids. Yes, there are seasons in your life and the kids take a lot of time and attention, especially when they are little. But that doesn't mean that you can ignore your spouse until the children are grown. May God help all of us so we can be with our spouse until death parts us.