When people ask me about the causes of divorce, one of the things I always mention is ignorance—otherwise known as a lack of pre-marriage preparation. Ignorance doesn’t just lead to divorce, it increases your chances of failure in anything you do. Karen and I discovered this pretty quickly after we got married.
We were only nineteen years old at the time, and neither of us had any pre-marriage counseling. The only counseling I got was from my friends, and their counsel wasn’t exactly helpful. All they were telling me was that I was making a big mistake!
We didn’t meet the preacher who married us until the morning of the ceremony. Our first conversation with him was right before we got married. Needless to say, neither of us was very prepared.
That’s not the best way to begin a lifetime commitment.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel / but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). As Proverbs makes it clear, getting good advice and being diligent about preparation are keys to building a strong foundation for your marriage. But what if it’s too late? What if you’re in the position we were in, already married but ignorant and unprepared?
If that’s you, then my suggestion is to make a personal commitment to searching out and receiving counsel. Always be learning. Listen to experts. Sit under godly teachers. Read marriage-related books or magazine articles. One challenge I always give participants in our seminars is for married couples to try to read at least one book a year…together.
I’m sure you’ve heard this cliché: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In the same way, marriages become stronger when both partners focus on their weaknesses with a teachable spirit, then work to overcome those weaknesses. Are you the weakest in the area of understanding each other? Are you weak when it comes to communication, or in the area of finances? If so, seek godly counsel. Listen to marriage-related teaching. Read books on the subject.
In business or sports — in fact, in most of life — the most successful people are the most teachable people. The most successful marriages aren’t necessarily the ones which started out with intense pre-marital preparation (though certainly that’s a great start). The most successful marriages are the ones made up of two teachable individuals, working together to strengthen their weak spots.
If you want to divorce-proof your marriage, making a commitment to growth through godly counsel is a great start. With “many advisers,” and with a teachable spirit, your marriage can succeed.