August 12, 2021

Maybe it’s weird to have a blog about marriages ending on a wedding site. But maybe it’s not. Because you know what? Marriages end. So let’s talk about it. Mostly, let’s talk about that “until death do us part” line. Because that’s what we all get hung up on, isn’t it?

Yes, some marriages end. Divorce is real, and marriages unravel for many reasons. Some reasons are obvious, and some are not. Let me be clear – this is not a blog about those reasons, nor weighing in on those reasons. Other people often love to guess and play judge and jury when couples end a marriage, and that generally (but not always) isn’t a good thing. In fact, it’s somewhat presumptuous. 

Today’s blog is more about returning to a previous blog on translation. Translation is important here. That phrase “until death do us part” may not always mean what we think it means.

Convention states that death means the death of one of the individuals in the marriage. And, yes, obviously the marriage covenant ends when one member of that covenant dies. But we also know situations where the surviving member does not move on, does not marry again, and stays in that covenant past the mark of death. After all, some of us subscribe to the “love never ends” mentality. Certainly an option. Certainly a personal decision.

But what happens when it isn’t the death of a person? What happens when it is the marriage itself that dies? Wait. What? (That’s normally the response I get when I make this translation.) 

Look, marriage is not two people. It’s three (and, no, this isn’t a reference to Princess Diana’s interview). Rather, three is the point of marriage. At the moment of the vows, the couple agree to create a third entity – an entity that is neither partner alone, but the partners together, working towards mutuality and shared dreams and goals. And all entities – people and marriages – have life spans. I’m suggesting that, sometimes, a marriage dies before the people in the marriage die. Actually, I am not suggesting it. I know it to be true. I’ve witnessed it countless times. 

Our culture does a really poor job of acknowledging this reality. Thus, divorce or even the option of divorce becomes shameful. And that shame can trap people in places they’d rather not be and shouldn’t be if the goal is to live a full and happy life. 

So, what does it mean when it’s over? Sometimes it means that divorce can be the best option. Acknowledging that fact alone allows those involved in the marriage to grieve the death of a marriage in healthier ways that allow for new life, health, happiness, and even liberation. And for those of us who claim to be Christian, acknowledging that sometimes marriages die not only acknowledges that covenants break (the biblical story over and over again), but that second chances and resurrection are not only possible, they happen.