I am a child of divorce. At the age of 7 my naïve world was shattered and my family was destroyed. As a child of divorce I will spend the rest of my life trying to rise above that label and it will follow me wherever I go.
Scars of this tragedy can be seen if you look close enough. I wince every time my father says he loves me, because surely he didn’t love me enough. I cried when I saw Erin Brokovich, wondering how many times my mother ate fruit out of a can just so my sister and I would be provided for. Photo albums display the toothless grin of my sister at age 5 and I fail to grasp how someone could leave this beautiful child behind.
I will spend the rest of my life trying to prove the statistics wrong. Simple math says that if half of all marriages are doomed, and if half of children from broken homes will follow in those footsteps, then my marriage has a 75 percent chance of failure.
But I’m not scared. I decided to take my chances. I got married, even when the world said I shouldn’t. It’s been said when a girl marries, she looks for a man with the same qualities as her father. I didn’t do that. I married a man without the curse of a broken home and without the fear of impending doom. We didn’t ban the word “divorce” form our pre-marital discussions, but instead gave it our own definition – man’s decision to break a covenant with God. On our wedding day, we not only vowed our loyalty and faithfulness to each other, but we made a vow with God. This marriage, this “seal” we voluntarily and purposefully asked for God to give us, we vowed never to break.
This is not to say our marriage is perfect. There will always be a shadow over our household. Holidays will always be awkward and “family” will always be a complicated and loaded word. We fight, we cry and our hearts will almost assuredly be broken, but the Lord’s compassion never fails; it is new every morning and we will wake up with another chance to keep that covenant.
The sins of my father will surely weigh on me, but they won’t break me. I can’t say I’m better, smarter or luckier than my parents were. The key to marriage can’t be boiled down to a clever one-line solution and marriages can’t succeed on sheer determination alone. You can’t just say, “Trust in Jesus,” and everything will be all right. But still that’s what I do. I must daily trust in Jesus, trust that He is in control and trust that we are in His hands. I will not build my marriage on quicksand. I will build it on His firm foundation and I will pray for His grace and mercy. Without that, we will surely fail, and I will do to my child what was done to me.
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