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With divorce on a rampage both in Hollywood and in the real world, a single gal like me can become jaded. I don’t want to—but this stuff really brings out the Jersey in me. I really want to believe in true love, but it’s tough to remain hopeful when the institution seems to be falling apart!

We’ve all heard of the “seven-year itch”—the supposed point in a marriage or relationship when partners lose interest in one another. But a recent study claims that romance flees even faster, with wedded bliss capping out at a depressing three years.

The study, commissioned by Warner Brothers to promote the release of its comedy film Hall Pass, surveyed 2,000 British adults in marriages and long-term relationships. It found what it calls “passion killers,” or the specific things partners blame for their romance’s demise.

Get ready for this, folks. It ain’t pretty.

The top passion killers were:

  1. Partner’s weight gain
  2. Lack of money
  3. Anti-social working times
  4. Lack of personal hygiene
  5. Snoring
  6. Lapsed fashion
  7. Too much exposure to in-laws

Those surveyed even cited such specifics as strayed nail clippings and lack of sexy underwear as deal breakers! Seriously! A whopping 67 percent said these small irritations—seemingly harmless and often endearing during the first flushes of love—often expand into major irritations around the 36-month mark.

I know this is a relatively small study bent to promote a Hollywood film, but it still got me riled up like Mike the Situation in a 2 a.m. drunken bar fight. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor several times, and consciously work to relax the “ugly face” I get when I read or witness something disgusting. Because, really… What has happened to us?

Matthew 19:6 says of husband and wife: “They are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

In today’s world, though, the translation seems to read: “Therefore what we’ve sort of decided to join together, let any little thing separate.”

The bottom line: Love is a choice and a life commitment; it’s not about feelings. If we go by our feelings, we will allow insignificant, everyday things to ruin what God intended to bring him glory.

How does this translate into our marriages and relationships? Listen closely. It means, if I gain 50 pounds, you choose to love me. If I snore like a freight train, you choose to love me. If we are flat broke and facing bankruptcy, you choose to love me. If my parents annoy you to no end, you choose to love me. If I prefer cotton granny panties over unnatural, uncomfortable, unconstitutional silky thongs, you choose to get the heck over it and love me!

And, yes, it goes both ways, of course. I choose to love you the same, no matter how many nail clippings you scatter around the living room carpet.

Are we men and women of our word? And more importantly, are we men and women of God’s Word?

I pray we’ll find the strength to get through the truly hard times, and the wisdom to rise above the little things. If we can’t do that, I might as well just stay single. After all, I’m not really grossed out by my own nail clippings.

I may be naïve, but I choose to believe that marriage can last. Longer than 72 days. Longer than three years. And even longer than seven years.

Call me crazy, but I believe it can last forever.

~Ruth

[Photo No. 2 Courtesy M.I.L.K. New Zealand]