LILY Letter 148: Was My Failed Marriage a Waste of Time?

February 8, 2024

I met my eternal companion when I was 48 years old and married her when I was 50--as in five decades! Or a half century! How do you suppose I feel about that? At age 56, I am healthier, wealthier, wiser, and more spiritual than I was 30 years ago at age 26 when I married for the first time. And I am a better husband and Cathy is a better wife than we were in previous marriages.

I have often talked to divorced mid-singles and heard several of them lament that they have wasted their lives. Many simply believe that spending 15 or 20 or 30 years with someone, raising a family and building a life together, and then watching that marriage end means they have wasted all those years and that a life of meaning has suddenly become meaningless and seems like a monumental waste of time. I understand these thoughts and feelings. At times, I have partaken of them myself.

But life is not simply about coming to Earth to get a body, participate in ordinances, make covenants, live righteously, and be blessed. We are also here to experience pain, develop compassion, learn to have faith when it is being tested and tried, and to find strength in desperate times.

For many of us, that has included an unwanted divorce. And our sometimes perfection-oriented culture leads us to the conclusion that the gospel is a foolproof way of avoiding the pain and inconvenience of mortal life. When tragedy strikes, we fear that maybe it is because we did something wrong. We often judge the trials of others the same way. Instead, we would be better served to understand that painful situations like divorce can be part of our paths too--as we learn resilience and compassion through putting our trust in Jesus Christ. A lengthy marriage that comes to an end is not a waste of time if it prepares you for the eternal relationship that lies ahead!

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Was My Failed Marriage a Waste of Time?

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