Back in March, 22-year-old Montana newlywed, Jordan Graham, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Jordan and her fiancée, Cody Johnson, got married June 29, 2013. Nine days later on Sunday, July 7, Jordan pushed Cody off a steep cliff in Glacier Park. She shared her account of what happened with the judge and said they were arguing ... about their marriage. She was sharing her doubts with Cody about getting married as they climbed down a treacherous slope in a popular area of the park called The Loop and stood on a narrow ledge, hundreds of feet above a deep ravine. She told her new husband she was unhappy, and at one point he grabbed her arm. She got angry, brushed his hand away and pushed him, forgetting where they were. Her exact words were, “I wasn’t thinking about where we were ... I just pushed.”
What a senseless tragedy.
Even more tragic is what happened two weeks ago near Odell, Texas. This time involving a situation that defies description. It was more tragic because, unlike what Jordan did to her husband, Cody, this was unintentional. Two newlyweds, Nicolas Cruz, age 31, and his wife, Kristina Munoz, 26, were involved in an accident. On County Road 87 near the Texas/Oklahoma border, around 10:00 on Wednesday morning, June 4, Nicholas was heading south in his 1990 Mazda. His new wife, Kristina, was heading north in her 1999 Saturn. They met at the crest of a hill on a very narrow unmarked road and collided head on. The impact was so severe emergency crews had to use special equipment to free them from the mangled automobiles. There were no skid marks indicating either driver applied the brakes, and apparently they weren’t wearing seat belts. The heartbreaking tragedy was further compounded by the fact three children they leave behind are now orphans.
There are a lot of people who get married “for better or for worse,” but not for long. Fortunately the number of newlyweds who end up like the couple in Montana are few and far between. However, there are more than you would imagine who end up like the newlyweds here in Texas. I’m not talking about couples killing each other in car accidents. I’m talking about the head-on collisions that occur off the road in the hearts and homes of husbands and wives. Although they are more often than not completely unintentional, they are no less deadly.
Women marry thinking their men will change. Men marry believing their wives will never change. Both are in for an incredible surprise. But the greatest surprise of all may be discovering marriage is work and that sometimes the things you do are actually working against your marriage.
In the beginning someone said, “opposites attract.” But after a few years of marriage, “opposites attack.” I’m not sure it’s that severe. But if you’ve been married any length of time, you’ll have to admit that often what initially drew you to the person can now drive you crazy and cause conflict in your relationship. Other times it’s the simple fact one mate refuses to improve or even try. Whether you’re talking about finance or romance, staying in shape physically or growing spiritually, it can be very frustrating when one is committed to all those things, and the other is only interested in an occasional contribution.
Like breakfast, for example. If you want bacon from a pig, that calls for total commitment. But an egg from a chicken is a simple contribution. Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition. It demands 100% from both partners or the partnership is bound to sink.
When a marriage improves, it’s always because someone intentionally decides to make it better.
It’ll never happen by accident.
© 2014. Barry L. Cameron
Don’t miss our Pastor’s message next Sunday, June 22, WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT DIVORCE.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.