The divorce rate in the Western world is still on the rise. It's past the one third rate and heading toward 50% of marriages. The social consequences are quite large. Not only is there great pain for the marriage partners, but if there are children involved, they end up being dragged apart by their parents. When their parents remarry the children then have to handle the emotional tugs associated with blended families. Increasingly children are being affected by the disruption of divorce. It affects their schooling and their emotional development.
It's hard to define any one element that will hold a marriage together. The Bible identifies "love" as the crucial element, although the word is so overworked today that it has all but lost its meaning. The King James version of the Bible translates the word as "charity", and this certainly comes closer to its core meaning. The word "acceptance" may be more to the point today. Relationships are all about accepting one another, accepting our weaknesses, faults and failings. It's all about give and take, adjusting, forgiving, adapting.
Two people find they have a real bond with each other and so they unite and head into life together. As the Bible puts it, they leave their parents, cleave to (unite with) each other and become one flesh, Gen.2:24. Staying together, rather than drifting apart, involves acceptance, particularly during times of change. We are constantly changing, and change is not always easily accepted. Communication is the crucial factor. Keeping the channels of communication open, talking, discussing, ironing out the differences, is the way through change.
The signs of impending divorce are:
i] Contempt. This is where you see rolling eyes, grimacing or sneering, when the partner says something. It's one of those not-so-good signs.
ii] Criticism. This is where a partner attacks the character of the other partner. This is not just a complaint, but an attack on the person.
iii] Defensiveness. Here there is a constant whining about things, answering complaint with complaint.
iv] Stonewalling. This involves withdrawing from conversation, communication, with a partner.
The above four signs of impending disaster can serve as a timely warning to seek reconciliation through conflict resolution, rather than end up facing the horror of divorce.