What God Has Joined Together
In September 2007, German politician Gabriele Pauli shocked her conservative party at home and sent waves through news outlets worldwide when she proposed that marriage should only last seven years. The 50-year-old, twice-divorced, motorcycle-riding Pauli campaigned to be the chair of her party with the hopes of institutionalizing “the seven-year itch.” Her plan was that marriages would automatically dissolve after seven years. Spouses could renew their union or each go their own merry ways. Thankfully, Pauli did not win her bid for party leadership.
The “seven-year itch” is a psychological term suggesting the seven-year mark is a common time when spouses sense they have drifted away from each other and desire to explore other romantic interests. It’s also the title of an iconic 1955 motion picture, which popularized the phrase in relation to marriage.
The original script would be rated “G” by today’s standards but it was considered scandalous some 60 years ago. It was about a married man who, after sending his wife and son away to Maine for the summer, discovers an attractive single lady, played by Marilyn Monroe, had moved into his building. At first he resists his desires to flirt, but eventually he gives in and the pursuit is on.
Following the movie’s success, the idea of a “seven-year itch” caught traction in a culture of no-fault divorce and became a convenient excuse for boredom with monogamy. Post movie research confirmed the reality of a seven year itch, but research showed there was (is) also an itch at three years, four years, twelve years and you get the point. There is no magic number where marriages are in danger or over the hump so to speak.
January 6, 1979 Dallas and I stood before our pastor, our family, our friends, and most importantly, before our God and vowed to be husband and wife.
In plenty and in want,
In joy and in sorrow,
In sickness and in health,
To love and to cherish,
As long as we both shall live.
“As long as we both shall live.” No exceptions. No out-clauses. Not just in plenty, joy, and health, but also in want, sorrow, and sickness. No allowances for any three, four, seven or twelve year itches or any other excuse. We left father and mother, covenanted to become one flesh (Genesis 2:24), and have taken Jesus’s words with utter seriousness, “What God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:6).
Neither of us would say our marriage has been easy. There has been want, sorrow, sickness and a whole bunch unspeakable more. But on January 6, 2016, by the grace of God, truckloads of forgiveness given and received and lots of hard work, we will have been married 37 years. We are glad God’s design is for marriage to have no outs but death.
Marriage, divorce, redemption, remarriage and singleness are sensitive and often painful subjects but relevant to us all. We are going to begin 2016 examining the scriptures, listening and looking for a clear Word from God regarding our most important relationships. We are going to learn from and encourage each other so we can all move through the “itch” years of marriage “till death we do part” and if single learn how to be complete without a spouse.
Spread the word, invite your family and friends and show up yourself beginning January 2-3. I am eager to share what God has been teaching me.
I am praying for you. Please pray for me.
“What God has Joined Together”