One of the most repeated pieces of advice people told me before my wedding day was to take mental snapshots throughout the day. Let’s just say I’m glad our photographer was taking actual snapshots, because the entire day seemed like one giant blur.
I know there was a pastor, because he was necessary to make us husband and wife. I know there was a beautiful dress, because it’s currently in a box in our attic. There was a man waiting for me at the end of the aisle, and he’s still by my side today.
And I know there were vows, because, honestly, some days the choice to stay true to those words of commitment is the only reason we’re still married. Marriage is tough.
In today’s culture, you don’t have to look far to find people who are breaking their vows. We all have divorced family and friends. Not to mention newspapers, magazines, and social media alike splash all kinds of breakup stories on their front pages. People love drama, and breakups are very gossip-worthy.
I must admit, when naptime rolls around and my two young sons are finally asleep, I like to unwind by scrolling through my social media pages. I love to see what my friends, family, and all their children are up to.
But I also enjoy keeping up with celebrities. Usually, I smile at the pictures of famous people playing with their dogs, walking fashionably down the street, or spending time with their loved ones. However, during my scrolling last week, I was saddened to come across not one, not two, but three different Hollywood couples who all announced their separation in the span of a few minutes.
First, I saw Pitch Perfect co-stars, Skylar Astin and Anna Camp, were divorcing after two years. Then I read Michelle Williams and her husband, Phil Elverum, were divorcing after less than a year. Then I came across the announcement that Adele and her philanthropic husband, Simon Konecki, were separating. The last of which made me especially sad, as Adele and Simon share a young son.
Obviously, you cannot put your hope for the sanctity of marriage into the hands of celebrities. But it’s still disappointing when something sacred and wonderful breaks apart. Divorce is like dominoes. It doesn’t just affect the two people splitting up. It affects many, many more people including children, friends, family, and even complete strangers.
But even in the midst of climbing divorce rates, something continues to draw people into marriage.
Like recently engaged Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez. This will be J. Lo’s fourth marriage and A-Rod’s second. After multiple marriage failures and loss, in a world where cohabiting is totally culturally acceptable–what is it that makes them think this will be the one that sticks? Is it even worth trying again?
We all love a good love story
Whether you believe God ordained marriage as an earthly example of Christ’s relationship with His church (Ephesians 5:31-32), or whether you’re simply longing for a companion to spend your life with, there’s something special about marriage. Instinctively, marriage attracts us.
Marriage is the beginning of a family. It’s the combining of two individual people. The creating of one unit. It’s a shared bank account, a shared address, a shared bed. You can have all those things without saying, “I do,” but time and time again, people chose to commit their lives to each other through marriage.
Statistics show that about half of all marriages end in divorce. The percentage increases for each subsequent marriage. As a single girl dreaming of marriage someday, I was scared when I first saw those statistics.
And then I got engaged. Our pastor warned us about the high rates of divorce in our premarriage counseling. He wasn’t trying to scare us. He just wanted to make sure we were aware of the reality and depth of the commitment we were entering into.
The percentage of divorce is even higher for anyone whose parents are divorced. I fall into that category. So with the odds stacked against me, I could’ve easily given up right then and there. Thrown in the towel, thinking the statistics don’t give me much of a chance for a forever marriage.
But I chose to try. I chose to say, “I do.” I chose marriage. With God on our side, we could beat the odds (even though I was scared). I wanted to show others who were in the same boat that marriage could last forever. Whether or not they had divorced parents or were just cynical regarding the reality of a lifelong marriage.
I wanted to love and be loved with a commitment I could trust. And I wanted a family. I wanted to experience the closest earthly example of the love Jesus has for me.
There are days I don’t particularly like my husband. And I’m sure there are days he doesn’t particularly like me. But God created marriage to be a lifelong commitment. There is an innate value in the kind of relationship that promises such a lasting commitment. In turn, that makes the hope of a future together outweigh the risk of it crashing down.
I would guess many celebrities believe that too, even if they don’t know where that hope comes from. They have hope that though their previous marriages didn’t work out, this could be the one that does.
I will always champion marriage. I hope J. Lo and A-Rod’s marriage is the one that sticks.
I know the statistics project differently, but I believe God can do anything no matter the odds against it. I’ve seen it in my own life. And that includes beating the odds of divorce for all of us rooting not only for our own marriage, but the marriages of those around us.
Copyright © 2019 Jenn Grandlienard. All rights reserved.
Jenn Grandlienard grew up an East Coast Philly girl, but now loves calling the Midwest her home. She lives in Xenia, Ohio with her husband, Stuart, two sons, Knox and Zeke, and pup, Stella. Jenn and her husband work with Athletes in Action, a ministry of Cru that teaches college athletes what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. She loves to read, work out, laugh really hard with friends, and spend time with her husband and boys. You can check out her blog about all these things and more at OurGrandLife.com. Find her on Instagram at @mrsjenngrand and on Facebook.