Marriage and divorce and public school

Today’s journal topic in class was about divorce, citing a study that suggests that children of divorce often have trouble establishing intimacy as they grow into adulthood.  Of course, real trusting intimacy is hard for anyone, especially those who have been wounded.  It was very emotional for me mostly because of what I could not say.  I gave some wisdom I have learned about marriage and divorce.  I talked a little about my own marriage and what I have learned through it.  And in one class I even pointed out that dating doesn’t prepare you for marriage, it prepares you for divorce, because it teaches people to make decisions based upon emotions rather than commitment.  In dating, you can always have one foot out the door.  And when the sparks grow dim, the other foot joins it.  What we learn is that marriage must be when the sparks finally stay.  But married folks will tell you that the sparks come and go, and if it’s just about the sparks, you are in trouble.  Committed intimacy in marriage is so much deeper and yet more real than sparks.

So when I said that, a student asked me, “So how do you prepare for marriage?”  I managed a lame, “grow your character and learn how people work.”  Oh how I wish I could have said:

“Pour yourself into Jesus!  Learn to let Him romance you and teach you what intimacy is supposed to be!  Surrender to him your choices and attitudes, learning to submit to His authority.  And let Him love you in a way that a spouse never can.  Once you have been loved by the Father through Christ, you will know better how to love someone else, putting their needs before your own.  Practice loving your family and friends like this.  Then in marriage you will also not be overly dependent upon a spouse’s love, as they are only human and cannot meet all your needs.  Then you are both free!  Free to become who God wants you to be without fear of rejection and loss.  Put the Father at the center of your life now, so he can be the center of your marriage later.”   Father, may I pursue this myself!  Knowing and doing are often so different!

But alas, I am a public school teacher.

Jeremiah 20:9:

But if I say, “I will not mention him
or speak any more in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.

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