A home is seldom destroyed ``overnight.'' Its destruction is usually the result of certain fatal steps taken over a lengthy period of time. In these days, when so many homes are crumbling, we would do well to examine our own marital relationships, to see if we have begun to travel the road to inevitable breakup. The following steps lead down that road.
1. Selfishness. This may be the number one enemy of a happy life. Each person is doing his own thing. Neither is willing to give up what he wants to do, that wholesome activities may be enjoyed together. Each is seeking his own satisfaction in material realms, in sexual activities, or in time spent with relatives, with little concern for the partner's satisfaction in these matters. The long road is begun.
2. Intolerance. Faults in one's partner begin to show up that somehow had been hidden during the courtship period. Or, if the faults were evident, they become far more irritating in a day to day, living together, relationship. Gradually those faults are magnified. Nagging begins. Each decides that he has made a terrible mistake in his marriage. Disillusionment sets in.
3. Resignation. Both parties become resigned to their situation. ``We've made our bed; we will just have to lie in it,'' they think. No further effort is made to build a happy home. Communication virtually ceases. Love begins to fade, and in many cases gives way to bitterness.
4. End of sexual relations. The communication barrier soon affects the sexual relationship, and the couple find themselves no longer enjoying and fulfilling this God-given purpose in marriage. They have allowed their marriage to deteriorate into a mere housekeeping relationship. Such people may be easy pushovers for the next step.
5. Adultery. Temptation can arise so unexpectedly, and many a person whose physical needs are not being met at home may yield to the temptation. Rationalization comes easy in such cases: the person feels he has never gotten a ``fair shake'' at home; he deserves this new-found attention; this true love (?); he is sure someone understands him for the first time. How deceptive sin is! Considerable time has passed since our couple took those first steps toward a broken home, but now their journey is completed. Only one other step remains.
6. Separation. The thing that has obviously destroyed this home is sin, but not just the sin of adultery. For selfishness, intolerance, lack of love, bitterness, and failure to satisfy physical needs (whenever possible) all constitute sin. We can come to but one conclusion. Sin is the cause of broken homes. It may be sin on the part of both parties, or on the part of only one, but a home is broken because of sin.
Consider your own marriage. If repentance is needed, repent. ``What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.''
By Bill Hall
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