Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Long Suffering in Marriage; How long is too long?

I don’t follow public figures as a “fan.” I understand the concept of being a “fan.” As a teenager, I was enamored with the cover boys of Teen Beat Magazine but I left that behind with my teens. This being said I cannot express my disappointment when I read that Al and Tipper Gore have chosen to separate after 40 years of marriage.

They have chosen a public life along with representation of national and global issues. This has definately brought intense public scrutiny over many years. It is understandable that this alone would be a heavy burden on a marriage but to add the standard day to day issues every marriage goes through it is no surprise that there has been tough times.  Ending a marriage after 40 years begs to ask the question, “why?” Is there nothing worth salvaging? After 40 years, has the weight become so heavy there is no other alternative?

I am disappointed at the message they are sending to so many. I don’t know what the spiritual lives of the Gore’s are but such a public couple undermines marriages across the gamut. My husband is teaching a course entitled “Understanding Christian Marriage”. He asked his class, “What is a Christian marriage? Christ wasn’t married so how could a marriage be Christ-like. Is it two Christians being married?”

I believe a Christian marriage is ourselves being Christ-like in our marriage. It is difficult to find a full example of a ‘good’ marriage in the Bible. Even the example of Christ as the bridegroom and the church as the bride, the bride is adulterous.

The positive example we must take from the Bible on marriage is how long-suffering God is in his relationship with his adulterous bride. We sin and keep sinning and God continues to show mercy and forgiveness, taking us back again and again. At what point in our marriages do we decide we have no more mercy, no more forgiveness. When do we decide that we have suffered enough and we will suffer no more? At what point do we want God to decide he has suffered over us enough?

What the Bible shows is that all relationships are difficult. All relationships require long-suffering. If we are Christ-like in our behavior and work on our relationship perhaps we will not “grow apart" and our lives won’t get “more and more separated”; we won’t reach a “mutual and mutually supportive decision” to break the vows we made to each other. Gary Smalley is the author of the book “Making Love Last Forever.” It is highly recommended for every couple whether your marriage is strong or weak.

When do we want God to decide that He has suffered enough? When do we want God to decide he has no more mercy or forgiveness for us?

Matthew 7:2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (NIV)

Unequal Yoking Equals a Rough Journey


  1. I wanted to come right over here and say thankyou for that link to Helen Steiner Rice's poem. I read about her life and nevere realized what she went through. I could relate to the husband losing his job part and now I have been writing greeting cards too for Blue MT even though I think I stink at it but it might pay some bills eventually:)) Appreciate you much!

  2. Terri, happy to pass along. Thanks for all you do!