Once upon a time, in a land very much like ours, 10 couples got married. It was wonderful! All 10 were madly in love. The future was bright. Their hopes were high. The world was very good, and they would live happily ever after.
They even lived in one of the finest places in all of God's green earth, the Kenai Peninsula.
But life happened: sunshine and shadow, good times and bad. Picnics and parties were held. Bills became due, kids got sick, and work had its ups and downs.
Little things began to aggravate them, things that were of no consequence when they were dating. Things began to grow in size, frequency and significance. The dreamed of a Ken-and-Barbie life began to look more like that of Hagar the Horrible.
Sometimes these things resulted in strained relations for a while. Then the couples would smooth things out, and life went on.
Sometimes the strain was greater and there would be a fight with anger and angry words. Occasionally, the couples would speak bitter words to each other -- words that stung and hurt. These took a greater toll on the relationship.
"Love can build a bridge" became a phrase that was tested in the crucible of family experience, frequently with positive, but all too often with negative results.
The problem was that while two of our 10 couples maintained a solid, strong, growing relationship, the rest fell below what any of the people had dreamed of. In fact, based on the statistics of recent years, five of the marriages would probably end in divorce, while the remaining three would simply exist in an unhappy state.
There must be more to marriage than suffering through years of putting up with each other.
There is! There is hope for more, and better, and what was the original dream of each couple on their wedding day.
Any couple willing to invest both time and energy may experience an improvement in the marriage. Babies sometimes seem to come accidentally. Good marriages, on the other hand, only become such intentionally.
Is your marriage in trouble? Are you tired of pretending that everything is great? Do you and your mate want to give it one more try?
There are people who understand what you are going through and want to help. If you would like to have someone meet with you to bring objectivity and a listening ear, Marriage Savers might be just what you need. Don't carry your pain alone.
Chuck Thornton is the chair of Kenai Peninsula Marriage Savers, a cooperative ministry of more than 20 churches on the central Kenai Peninsula committed to help make bad marriages good, and good marriages better. For more information about this ministry for the hurting, call 262-6442 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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