I’m guilty of believing that I wouldn’t make the same mistakes others have. As a result, I have learned from [painful] experience much more often than necessary in my life. Marriage is a learning experience. There is a lot we can learn from one another, so I talked to some divorced women who shared what they wish they had done differently in marriage. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
So many people have gone before us. While we need to be discerning for quality advice, we are foolish to believe that we need none. Relationships are important and learning how to do them well is not only beneficial to us, but also for the glory of God in our lives.
With all that in mind (sometime last year) I decided to ask my Grace and Moxie Life IG and FB friends the question, “If you have been divorced, what do you wish you had done differently in your marriage?” I appreciate so much the amount of feedback I got from this question. I also loved how honest and self-reflective the responses were. We have all seen people place blame and hold onto bitterness after a failed marriage. It can have a permanent effect on families, trickling down through generations.
What ten divorced people say they wish they had done differently in their marriages
“Started lines of communication the minute I felt things were starting to go wrong…maybe I’d still be married. Maybe not, but I’d know I tried to fix it.”
“Ignored early signs that my husband was not telling the truth”
“I wish I hadn’t thought I needed to be just like him for him to love me because I ended up resenting him for me not being able to be myself.”
“Talked more honestly with my husband about my feelings.”
“I wish I wouldn’t have let him think it was okay not to communicate with me.”
“My regret is not taking my role as a wife more seriously. I had a responsibility to put my husband before others in my life and I didn’t see it that way until it was too late.”
“The biggest mistake I made was always pointing my finger at him and never looking in the mirror. I should have forgiven him for things that I insisted on holding onto that didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.”
“Our marriage was doomed before it started because we thought that the big things we disagreed on wouldn’t cause issues later and they did.”
“Wish I would have paid more attention to his actions than I did his words.”
“I regret not taking marriage more seriously from the beginning. I wouldn’t have gotten married when I did if I had believed it was as important as I later found out it is.”
What are they saying overall?
Overall, there are some common threads between these statements and the marriage advice out there from others who have been there. Communication, honesty, authenticity, self-reflection, humility, forgiveness, and awareness are imperative to our marriages.
A God Centered Marriage
Relationships don’t exist inside a vacuum. All of those attributes of a healthy relationship I mentioned above come from the individuals bringing them into the relationship, not from the relationship itself. The truth is, we all have a lot of growing and maturing to do that marriage will boldly highlight for us.
That’s where God comes in. He created marriage. He said two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) and he uses a God centered marriage for His glory. A God centered marriage is exemplary of the union of Christ and His bride, the church. For a Christian, it doesn’t make sense to leave God out of your marriage.
Like anything else in our lives, God uses marriage to accomplish something in and through us if we put Him at the center of it. It has nothing to do with the wedding, the house, the cars, or anything else we “accomplish” together. He will change us through marriage if we stick it out. Marriage is one of the biggest platforms for us to display the character of Christ. It’s is an opportunity to glorify God unlike any other opportunity we have.
All of those characteristics of a good marriage are characteristics we grow into through a relationship with Jesus. People who have been there before us can teach us so much because they have the benefit of hindsight. We should learn from others when we can, and always press into the Holy Spirit for guidance and growth.
Related post: https: 14 Habits for a Healthy Marriage