If you are afraid of making the same mistakes that ended your parents’ marriage in divorce, then remember you are not alone.

My dad left my mom for another woman four months before my own wedding. The shock, sadness, and anger felt somewhat stifled by the joy of my own upcoming marriage. But deep inside, fear began to grow.

What if my marriage ends up like my parent’s? What if my husband and I grow apart? What if I’m not enough?

Over the years, I have learned to acknowledge these fears in a healthy way. I think I’ve come away from this devastating period of my life with one comforting conclusion: I am made in God’s image and I am not destined to make the same mistakes as my parents.

Grappling with the pain of parents who divorce, abuse, or ignore you might be one of the most significant barriers to living out a godly marriage. If you have experienced any of these, you are not alone. And there is hope. You have the freedom to live a life free of this burden.

The Weekend to Remember conference reminded me of these truths. At the end of the day, we are all sinners in desperate need of a Savior. None of us are perfect, but neither are we destined to live out the same mistakes as our parents.

During the Weekend to Remember conference, I learned that before we experience oneness with our spouse, we must experience oneness with God. Until we understand the sacrifice Jesus made for our sin, we will not understand that we are a new creation capable of experiencing oneness with the Lord.

I believe a strong marriage is built upon a firm foundation in Christ. With Christ, we are not immune to the temptation of sin, but we have the power and strength to overcome it. We are not bound to the sins of our parents, but instead we are free in Him. We are no longer destined to follow in the footsteps of an abusive father or a cheating mother.

Too often we place our parents’ marriage, whether good or bad, on a pedestal as a shining example of what to do or what not to do. But good or bad, we should not aspire to be our parents. When we place them as the ultimate role model, we place them in the role meant for Jesus Christ. We should only seek to emulate Christ, not our parents.

When we believe in Christ, we are also living for a purpose far greater than our marriage. We are living for an eternal kingdom. And when we turn to him, He makes all things new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Rejoice in this! Understanding that you are a new creation brings a sense of freedom that your spouse certainly can’t provide.

My parents were married for over 25 years, but their marriage still failed. I’ve barely been married for four. In my flesh, I know that any man can commit the same sins that my father did. My husband is even capable of such a betrayal. However, I choose to hold fast to the truth of our identities in Christ. In Him, we are a new creation. We no longer live our lives believing in our own strength. Instead, my husband and I live each day acknowledging that we are weak, but in Him we are strong.

If you are afraid of making the same mistakes that ended your parents’ marriage, then remember you are not alone. I think most of us who have grown up in broken families fear the same thing. But I hope you take heart in the fact that you are a new creation and that through Christ, and hopefully with the help of a strong church community, you can have a strong, thriving marriage. I also hope you remember that we can’t go through this alone. We need the strength of a God far greater than ourselves.

Every marriage thrives in oneness. But that oneness must first be found in God.

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