As we wind down our series this Sunday, "You and Me Forever", we will have explored what God intends for relationships, including the relationship of marriage. It was recently said to me that since I am divorced, how is it for me to discuss marriage? I respond with these points...
1. First, I never intended to be divorced when I took my vows. My particular situation would not allow me to continue to be in the marriage I was in. I do believe that the covenant of marriage is intended to be "until death do us part." But life has taught me that there are circumstances where sometimes those vows cannot stand. I think in today's world that many take light of this commitment and marriages do fail more than they need to but, I also know there are times when they need to.
2. I have journeyed through the divorce process and know the changes, pain, and challenges that divorce brings. I use those experiences as a platform to say that divorce is not something anyone should take lightly. Recovering from divorce is very hard work especially if we are to allow God to be the center of that healing. It takes much time and focus. Divorce does not solve problems. It often just creates more, but I will always emphasize that with the loving guidance of God, if we seek it, we can move through that process.
3. Others will tell you that I pour more time and energy into premarital counseling than most other pastors and that is because I do have a passion for marriages to be long and fulfilling and filled with joy. I know that hurt and challenge when a marriage does not work. So if I can help a couple find a strong foundation for the start of their marriage and help them to know how to continue to strengthen their marriage as their life together unfolds, I am committed. I am committed to help them have a strong beginning with their communication and to understand where to look for help along the way.
It is in my heart and it is my calling to continue preaching what God intends and creates. My angle may not be from having a long and wonderful marriage, which I wish I had. However, I am committed to partner with couples in proper preparation for their vows so that they can see that throughout their marriage they may grow in discipleship as they follow Jesus, which will further provide the guidance and strength they need.
Rev. Patti Napier