All I can think of when it came to our marriage is a maze. We were caught in a maze. And we couldn’t find our way through—at least that’s the way it was for me. We set the date for a wedding, and so there were definite things to do to get ready. For my part, I had to find a place to live. Where I lived just wasn’t big enough for the two of us, and for the baby coming. Eventually, I found a rental townhouse that we both liked, and I moved in early to get things ready.
For her part, there was the wedding. I can’t remember being into it that much, but she was, and so was her mother. So, I guess I just agreed to everything.
To get off on the right foot, I thought a surprise honeymoon would be good. So, I went and talked to a travel agent and planned the whole thing—to the Bahamas for a week.
Let’s see, what next? Oh yea, the wedding. It went off without a hitch. No problems—that I remember. I helped move the bride in with me, and then we left for the Bahamas. She loved the whole experience, but not me so much. I was sick the whole time. It was like the flu, but different. I just think my system wasn’t use to being married; and I wasn’t adjusting well to my new bride. She was so different that me—younger and more extraverted. Yet I was confident that things would be fine—just fine.
After we got back from the Bahamas, I was anxious to get back to a normal life—my life. (Interestingly, just after she announced that she wanted me out, she said that the honeymoon was wonderful, but everything after that was terrible. She couldn’t think of one thing about our marriage that she liked.) So, I gave myself to my work, house painting. And I found that the harder I worked the better I felt—about myself and about life. But my regular job wasn’t enough. I also took up woodworking. With the baby coming soon, I would make a few things for the baby. I made a changing table, a little desk and chair, and a few other things. I felt I could do anything, and the extra work was making me feel good.
Oh, there were so many things I was involved in. In the evening I took a class at Bethel Seminary. I intended to finish my Seminary degree, but it didn’t work out. Oh well. I also decided to teach a first grade Sunday School class at church. We both did that for a long time—about five years.
What else? Oh, the kids. Yea, the kids were great. Four kids came to us: a girl, then a boy, then another boy, then another girl. I loved (love) all our kids, but she was tired of having them. And, as it turned out, she was tired of me. Out of the blue, even before the fourth baby came, she asked me for a divorce. What happened?
To this day, 39 years later, she still hasn’t told me why she wanted a divorce. She kept insisting that I knew and that she shouldn’t have to tell me. But whatever her reasons are, I have my own ideas of why the marriage went sour. Here are seven reasons:
1. I didn’t guard my purity. When I first met her and encountered her sexual advances, I should have been more guarded and backed away. If I would have done that it would have saved me from a bad marriage.
2. Too many differences. Our personalities are very different; our likes and dislikes are different; and I am 11 years older than her. The only thing that was similar was our natural attraction to each other.
3. Our spiritual levels were different. I had been a Christian for about 23 years and she had been saved for only a few months. My quiet times each day were (are) very important to me, but that whole idea was alien to her.
4. She didn’t leave her family. The bible instructs the husband and wife to leave father and mother and be joined to each other. I don’t think she did that.
5. I didn’t give her enough of my time. I didn’t try hard enough to know her and love her. I was too busy with my own stuff. I didn’t make her a high priority. Big mistake.
6. She didn’t know how to communicate. She gave up too soon. She kept too many things inside of her, and then once in a while she would let it out in anger, and I couldn’t deal with that; so I responded back in anger.
7. We didn’t know or understand each other. We didn’t take the time to develop that knowledge.
Okay, so much for the past. Here is what we should have done to get off to a good start. Rather, here is what any couple should do.
1. Wait for a natural attraction. When you set out to find a mate in your church group or wherever you hang out with people, look for someone you are naturally attracted to.
2. Stay away from anyone who is only interested in a sexual relationship.
3. When you find someone you are interested in, ask them out on a date; someplace where you can talk. On the first or second date you should establish an understanding of what a date is, or what you intend to accomplish on a date. Set some ground rules, or guidelines, like, no sex, kissing or necking.
4. In your dating, set out to get to know each other and develop good communication skills.
5. Get to know what each other likes and dislikes.
6. Learn each other’s love language.
7. Learn how to work out your differences.