Well, so far I have listed three out of four possible reasons for a high divorce rate, even among Christians. To review these were: Unmet expectations, not counting the cost and unequal yoking.
Now I’d like to discuss the last reason, which may actually be the most important and the most tragic: failure to invest in the marriage.
When the word invest is brought up people may think about mutual funds, or retirement accounts. In other words our minds usually turn to something on which we can have a return. The principle is that the more you invest the bigger return you will earn and visa versa. However, investment doesn’t always have to apply to a financial goal. In biblical terms, this can be described as sowing and reaping.
Investment can also apply to relationships, specifically the marriage relationship. The old adage about quality versus quantity would apply here. Investment in this context refers to where and how our time is spent within the relationship. Not only that, where we choose to invest says a lot about what we are passionate about. For instance, if most of my free time is spent playing sports or working instead of nurturing my relationship with my wife, it would be clear that I’m very passionate about sports or work. In the same manner, wherever I choose to apply my time, energy and money, there will my heart be also.
If we consider the sowing and reaping principle again, one could say that what you sow into your marriage, you will reap. If I sow quality time, encouraging words, acts of service and open communication, would it not follow that I would reap love, joy, peace? And fellas: you might actually get playtime with your friends, LOL! In other words, intentional investment can have great returns and make the difference between a successful marriage and one which is fostered by resentment and bitterness.
What does this look like practically?The best way I can explain this is by borrowing three words I saw that a certain company uses to describe their service: Invest, Protect, Extend.
When we invest in those things that are important to us or things that we value, these things also receive our interest focus and passion. Guys, we all did this during courtship. Ladies, your TV shows and/or friends were not as important during dating. Investment does not just involve date night but more importantly involves talking about potential problems, Sharing each other’s days and serving one another.
Protection can involve limiting our time from distractions that can remove us from being able to invest in our relationships. This can be TV, sporting events, social media and yes, even children activities. This can also involve protecting ourselves from engaging in inappropriate communication with the opposite sex.
And finally extend. This refers to reaping and sowing. If we spend time investing in our marriage, we will be much more likely to prolong the life of the marriage relationship.
Please do not get the idea that these things are easy to do. It does take work. And just like any activity, work will take energy. But it is only through intentional investment in that which we care about that we will be able to realize its full potential. The full potential of a marriage relationship should be the true merging of two to “won.”