The One Holiday You Cannot Celebrate This Season – Your Marriage Depends on It Thursday, December 1st, 2016
I need to say something. I’m a little nervous about how to say it. I’ve started and restarted over and over, trying to find just the right string of words to make plain the message of my heart. We’re talking about marriage, specifically about saving our marriages. We’re talking about making it past Divorce Day. Yes. That’s a real day. Let me explain.
Sometime back, I read an article about how divorce rates spike after the holidays. It makes sense, I suppose. A person might think, “Perhaps we can make it. Perhaps we can work this out. We could try harder. I don’t want to be alone this Christmas. And even though I don’t want to be with them, I don’t want to do put our kids through a divorce at Christmas time. We’ll just wait until January.
So, the first Monday of the New Year, lawyers prepare for the massive surge of clients filing for divorce. As a matter of fact, it is such a common thing, some lawyers have a name for it, “Divorce Monday.”
1 in 5 couples consider divorce at some point over the holiday season. 1 in 5. I think it’s because the holidays are amplifiers of every preexisting condition. The stresses of family, finances, communication and lack of intentional love are brought to the front of the relationship and magnified. Marriages are often forced to face every issue head on during the holiday season. So what do we do?
Look, I planned on sitting down and writing a fun survival guide to get through the holiday season with your spouse. I was going to include practical steps and funny one-liners about how hard marriage really can be, and I was going to include ways to reconnect in the middle of the mad rush. I still might post that later. I don’t know. I haven’t decided.
But as I sat down to really share my heart, something changed. See, sometimes, we read articles hoping for a strategy. We hope a few tips or tricks can rekindle the passion or lead us toward healing. We look for ways to gain peace in our homes and find joy in our marriages. But what we really need is Jesus. We need the only answer that will actually transform our families. We need His perfect love to see us right where we are… either in the middle of a marriage struggling to hang on or a marriage that seems to be steadily marching on. We need Him to show us how to love each other like He loves us. (No matter how impossible that seems.) And we need to let His love and the hope found in Him anchor us through everything that would rip us and our families apart… every argument, every unspoken offense, every forgotten unforgiveness, and every wall that is slowly built by the lack of communication or intentional love.
There are some things I know for certain about marriage. Marriage is hard and wonderful and trying and overwhelming. It requires sacrifice and intentionality and lots and lots of forgiveness. It is a gift, and it requires grace. Marriage is the heartbeat of our homes, and it needs our attention to remain healthy. But rarely do we share where our marriage really is with the world around us. Rarely do we say, “We need help.” Rarely do we talk about the places that need healing. And that’s because rarely do we remember that the purpose of salvation has always been reconciliation, and we serve a God who has been in the business of bringing hearts back together since the beginning of time. I think if we remembered that restoration was in God’s nature, we would look to Him sooner for the hope that we need in every area of our life.
Last year, I sat on the edge of my dad’s couch and asked him how to walk my marriage back from the edge. I asked him how I could rediscover what it meant to be a wife when I was so caught up with being a mom. His answer literally changed my life, and is already changing marriages around the world.
I wrote a book called, Love Unending: Rediscovering Your Marriage in the Midst of Motherhood. Based on my dad’s advice, Love Unending is a 21 day journey to fall back in love with your spouse… and do you know when it releases? The publishing house set its release for Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017…the day after Divorce Day. (Before we knew the significance of that date.)
But now that I know the date… now that I know there will be this surge of people who rush to the lawyer’s office right after Christmas, I have this urgency in my heart. If the full book won’t be available until after the day notoriously known for the highest divorce filings of year, how do I get this information to the marriages that need it most right now?! How do I share the life-changing truths found in that book with those who are making decisions right now whether or not to keep trying?
Thousands of women have already preordered the book and have received the first five days as a special gift. Now their testimonies are pouring in. Their homes and marriages are changing by simple steps full of intentional love. The climate of their homes is changing dramatically. I have never felt more determined to get the hope contained in this book into the hands of women.
I don’t know where your marriages is this holiday season. I don’t know if you are the 1 in 5 or if you have secretly been planning your trip to the lawyer’s office on Monday, January 2nd. I don’t know if you feel like everything is okay or will somehow mend itself before the New Year. I don’t know you, and I don’t know your marriage. But I do know this.
I know there’s hope. I know that God’s love can change everything. And I know that the advice my dad shared late one night might be the strategy you didn’t even know you needed.
Let’s get through the holidays together. Let’s get to the New Year with a renewed hope. Let’s give ourselves and our spouse and our children something that will ripple through every generation that follows us. Let’s find the Truth and Hope of Love Unending.
If you are curious, or want the first five days of Love Unending, click here for more information. If you want to strengthen your already healthy marriage, this is for you too. And if you want to help the marriage of every person you know, please consider sharing this article.
What if you were able to save one marriage that you didn’t even know was in trouble?