The Divorce Escalator
To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:10-11
In the disastrous consequences of my drug addiction, my marriage was a mess. In the wreckage, I remember thinking, This wasn’t how I saw my marriage turning out. How did I get here? If I wanted to save my relationship with my wife, I desperately needed to answer that question.
The problem for my marriage and my life, is that I’ve got a persistent desire to simply follow my way. Until drug addiction came along, my way wasn’t so obviously destructive. Through my addiction, I’ve learned that I daily must work at abandoning my way to follow God’s way. I don’t do it perfectly, but if I don’t work at it, I just naturally return to Scott’s way of doing things. I don’t struggle with drugs today, but that’s because God has miraculously changed my appetite through my daily effort of pointing my life at him. If I stopped following God, I’d soon return to the old life and to drugs.
There’s a Biblical explanation behind this. As Christians, though we have a new life in Christ (1 Corinthians 5:17), we carry that treasure in a flawed vessel (2 Corinthians 4:7). While we’re saved, we still have this self-destructive flesh nature that wars against our spirit life (Galatians 5:17). Daily, if we want to know authentic life, we must continually put to death the old life (Romans 8:13).
As Christians, we’re on an escalator that is perpetually moving down, towards our way and the old life. To experience the new life we’re meant to for, we must continually take steps upwards, abandoning the old life, to pursue the new life in Christ at the top of the escalator. If we become apathetic, doing nothing, the escalator will naturally just take us down towards the old life.
Unfortunately, we carry our personal flaws into our marriages. When we’re first married, most of us are riding high, filled with feelings of love. Passionate emotions alone though, don’t make a great marriage last for decades. If we want a great marriage, like the Christian life, we must daily work at it. For those of us who are married, we’re on a marriage escalator. At the bottom is two people living selfishly in a bad marriage, perhaps destined for divorce. At the top is the marriage most of us want – two people living in a loving, healthy relationship. If we want the life and marriage for which we were made, then daily, we must pursue those things.