Being their pastor, I was asked to officiate at the wedding of Ken and Barbie, except I knew them as Daniel and Rachel. They really were the ideal couple, both very physically attractive and emotionally healthy. Both were solid Christians and highly committed to each other.
In our premarital counseling I gave them a standardized temperament test to assess their compatibility. They tested better than Adam and Eve before the fall.
In the months that followed the wedding, I watched them with great satisfaction as the sage preparation I had provided worked it magic.
I understand that they ended each day in their cozy bedroom, side by side. As Daniel contentedly slipped off to sleep, Rachel would pray for him, “God I can’t stand it anymore, would you just take this man home? I won’t disobey you and divorce him, but you could solve my problem with a car accident or something?” (I am not kidding-here!)
Hmm – Problems in paradise!
So, what happened? I decided to call and ask them. (Yes, they are still married!)
She says she had unrealistic expectations. She thought she was marrying Prince Charming but then married life revealed glimmers of Conan the Barbarian.
He says he was stressed with excessive schoolwork and a fulltime job. He didn’t handle it well plus, she fell near the bottom of his priority list. As long as the clothes were washed, meals were cooked, and house cleaned – he was happy. He described himself as a “jerk.”
They refused to utter the word divorce even though both were desperately unhappy. They understood that marriage is for keeps. It was God’s idea in the beginning, and He takes an active role in bringing two people together. Many ceremonies conclude with the words, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6) KJV (Jesus words by the way)
They exchanged vows – a sacred and unbreakable commitment to each other with God as witness. Yes, the Lord reluctantly allows divorce, but for a very limited number of reasons. (Matthew 19:9)
Daniel and Rachel were stuck. They were bound by their vows.
On the other hand – they pretty much knew what needed to happen with their marriage. They had counseling, read the marriage books, and came from healthy families. They knew! Daniel says that they just finally committed to do it.
They quit pointing the finger at one another and turned it back to themselves.
She realized her own selfishness and self-righteousness, which doesn’t work well in any kind of relationship. She determined to honor and respect Daniel even when he didn’t deserve it.
He told me that Rachel had become a mirror of his own behavior. He saw the ugly impact he had on her and he didn’t like what he saw. He bumped her up, just beneath God, on his priority list and began to practice servant-leadership in his home.
They both came to realize that more was needed in their marriage than what they had the ability to give. They humbled themselves before the Lord and sought His path and His power.
On the MAIN thing, they both agreed. The main thing was that they were committed to work it out – to address the problems head on and trust God to help them through. There was no easy-out through a divorce.
It took two years of hard, difficult, often lonely work, but number three became a honeymoon of a year for them.
They now have 5 kids and are expecting a sixth. And Rachel still prays for Daniel at night. “Lord don’t ever let this guy die, I need his help with the kids – but more than that – I really, deeply love him.”
A PRAYER: Lord help me be steadfast and immovable in the commitments I make, especially the one to my spouse.
PS: I have their permission and their encouragement to share this!