The other day my friend told me he was going to climb Mount Rainier. I took one look at him and said, "Are you serious?" He is easily 100 pounds overweight, I never see him exercise, and he struggles with climbing the stairs, much less the tallest mountain in the Washington. What should I say? "Hey that's great! Congratulations! I'm so excited for you." Or should I tell him the truth? "Hey man, I think you should think about that. Climbing Mount Rainier is serious business and you don't want to just rush into it."
Actually, the other day my friend told me he was going to get married, not climb Mt. Rainier. And he's not overweight at all. In fact, he's totally fit, but I'm not sure he's fit for marriage. Now what do I say? "Hey, that's great! Congratulations! I'm so excited for you." Or should I tell him the truth?
Interestingly, the likelihood of successfully summitting Mt. Rainier is roughly the same as the likelihood of staying married: 50%. So why do we always say, "Congratulations!" when someone announces their wedding plans? When I was in my 20's, everybody was getting married, then in my 30's, everybody was having kids, now in my 40's it seems like I'm surrounded by divorce. I'm sick of it and I think there's a lot more that I and my church can be doing to address this problem at the divorce end of the equation, but we should start by addressing it at the wedding end.
At the risk of being the party pooper, the next time someone tells you they are getting married or better yet, they are thinking about proposing, take the time to give them some honest insight and feedback. Marriage is like climbing a mountain: possibly the most difficult and rewarding thing you'll ever do in your life. If you are prepared, and go about it in the right way, it will be tremendously rewarding, but if you approach it cavalierly it will go terribly wrong and could very well kill you or at least your soul.
I think one of the best things we can do to reduce divorce is to help people be more realistic about marriage upfront. It's going to be tough and you may not be up for the challenge. Look before you leap!
Photo courtesy of Jason Shipley of Uniquely Northwest Photography. https://www.facebook.com/uniquelynorthwestphotography/