Wow. The first blog I visited yesterday was To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. And what’s it about? How Christians can help prevent divorce. Talk about a sobering read on my anniversary! But no less a valuable read.

I have a few thoughts on divorce that Sheila didn’t touch on or that I take in a slightly different way.

First, I firmly believe that like anything else in our lives, marriage is a personal decision. We choose to marry this person independent of any other factors. Well, at least in my culture we choose. Why we choose this one person may, and should, include faith, but it doesn’t have to. It’s a choice. Therefore, ultimately the onus is not at all on other Christians nor on the “church” (where church is defined as a building built by man in which people choose to worship God together). Therefore, divorce is also a choice as much as the marriage was a choice and if divorce happens both parties are responsible as much as they were when they met at the alter “for better or worse.”

I do agree wholeheartedly that churches should embrace family. Society at large constantly undermines the family unit, making it less significant than the individual (which leads to that desire for happiness which Sheila discusses). Churches, including at least one church which I have attended, do that as well. The men have a Sunday School class, the woman have a class, the children have a class. The men have a club, the women have a club. All these things meet weekly or monthly, yet “Family Night Suppers” are maybe three or four times a year. And often those Family Night Suppers were (“were” because I wised up, too late) rarely for families. There were speakers about domestic violence and a speaker that talks because she likes to talk and has a newspaper column and speakers about hospice care. What kid wants to sit through any of that? And what is appropriate about a child sitting through that? And what family with kids wants to wrestle the kids not wanting to sit through that?

I am not saying, nor is Sheila, that churches should not separate for appropriate activities, but my experience as a homeschooler has taught me that my family learns best in a multi-generational environment. Give me some of that ol’ time religion where we all sit together and hear about fire and damnation and we all sit together and hear about the trumpets and angels and where we all sit together and laugh at one another doing silly skits, having pie eating contests, listening to the two year olds sing, “Jesus Loves Me.”  That’s family time. That will help a family stay and seek to be together.

Generally speaking, I am opposed to marriage counseling. Well, any counseling. Generally. Not because I don’t think it’s helpful but because it seems to me that sometimes folks who are leading the session are imposing their own beliefs on a situation rather than facilitating a discussion between the people who are in need of conversation more than anything. Isn’t that the hardest part of marriage? Conversation. At least it is for my marriage. And my husband will talk.
When I think about the friends I have whose marriages are in question or who have divorced, it seems the common thread is communication. And since I know it is this way with my marriage, I can understand that. And I am not perfect with it. I can talk a blue streak, but I can also go stealth. The older I get it seems the better I can go stealth. It’s easier to not talk at all than to cause more distress, isn’t it?

It’s also easier to avoid intimacy than to be disappointed by or falsely encouraged to be intimate. And this I believe is fiercely tied to conversation. The more time I am away from Mike or simply not in healthy, personal conversation with him, the more I want to eat him up. Yes, I do. And you can “WHAT!?!” all you want. It’s true. But when we go days without a complete conversation about something other than who tore what up or bills to paid or how to get who where when…I physically crave him, yet don’t have the desire to act on it. And I *know* this. So why don’t I change it?
And that brings us full circle. It’s a decision. It’s a choice. If I know that I need to talk with my husband, if I know I need to be intimate with my husband, then why don’t I? I should. And more than not, now, I do. And our marriage is stronger in those times. No, it isn’t all about talking and sex. But those things are tightly connected and they do help handle all the pressures from the world outside. Because, when it all comes down to it here on earth, it’s him and me. No other human. Not even the kids. It’s up to us to make the choice to love and nurture one another. Otherwise nothing else can happen. It’s him and me.