This will be another post on the Christian movie Fireproof. The last post that I wrote about this movie was in November.
The movie is about a firefighter named Caleb who tries to save his marriage. It’s a daunting task for him, for he and his wife are extremely estranged from each other, such that she is surprised when he calls her while she’s at work just to see how she is doing (this was assigned to him in a book that he was reading on how to save a marriage). And she is quite cold towards him and rebuffs him for some time whenever he reaches out to her. You’d think that saving this marriage would be a hopeless cause. But, as Caleb perseveres in doing good things for his wife and caring for her (even bringing food from the famous Chick-Fil-A franchise!), she eventually sees that he really does care for her, and she finally comes around.
I guess my question is this: Should every marriage be saved? If two people are miserable around each other such that life together is continually an uphill battle, is there any reason for the two of them to stay married? Maybe they can find someone else with whom life is not perfect, mind you, but less of an uphill battle. In the movie, Caleb is at his wits end until he receives Jesus’ love, and then things become easier for him: he’s willing to do good things for his wife (i.e., wash the dishes, leave her roses, etc.), even if his wife is still unappreciative. He’s sustained by Jesus’ love for him, and perhaps also by the realization that Jesus loves her, too.
So you’d think that Jesus’ love can enable a Christian to endure any marriage until death. And there are plenty of evangelicals who believe that. One evangelical woman I know remarked that a godly person should be able to be married to anyone (and I’m sure she meant of the opposite gender), for, even if the spouse is a jerk, the godly person is sustained by God’s love and can treat that spouse with love and kindness.
But then there are evangelicals who actually think that compatibility is important. Granted, they probably have conservative views on divorce, but they still see value in compatibility when it comes to looking for a spouse. They may express desire for a Christian mate, or feel that their previous romantic relationships did not work out because God was trying to lead them to someone better for them. I mean, try going onto a Christian dating site and saying that someone should marry you because he or she should be godly enough to have a decent marriage with anyone! Most won’t take that risk.
But if compatibility is an important issue when it comes to looking for a spouse, why can’t it similarly be a consideration when it comes to deciding whether or not to stay married?
I can see value in both what Fireproof presents and also the notion that some marriages probably should end, for the well-being of both parties involved. I think that, in many cases, marriages should not go without a fight, for marriage should not be in the same category as going steady. And yet, my hunch is that there are many people who have struggled to keep their marriages, yet the marriages still end in divorce.