I was devastated. They were kids who had been in my youth group. I really cared deeply for both of them.
During their pre-marriage counseling, I told them they shouldn’t get married. I saw huge red flags. I knew them well and they weren’t on the same page in some really critical areas.
But they luuuuved each other. They believed that their love was bigger than any problem they would face. They were convinced God was leading them and that He would bless and protect them.
After a few years and a couple of children, it all ended. They were good people. With good hearts. And lots of love. But those pesky conflicting values, clashing theologies, and different world views did them in.
In my youthful commitment and unrealistic expectations of myself, I carried the burden of their failure for years. I felt responsible. I couldn’t let go of the guilt I felt for not doing more. For not speaking up louder. For not laying in front of the out-of-control bus I was convinced they were driving.
My young messiah complex was in overdrive. For a long time.
And then somewhere along the line, I had an epiphany. Or God opened my eyes. Or I grew up. Or the burden of carrying the messiah cross finally got too heavy. Or I simply stopped being stoopid.
I can never be responsible for someone else’s marriage. That job is completely reserved for them.
I imagine I have performed well over 300 wedding ceremonies in the past 35 years, and I am not responsible for the success, or failure, of any one of them. I will do everything I can to help them make wise decisions and point them in the right direction. I am never afraid to tell couples of my concerns for the long-term health of their marriages, if I have them. I try to pass on wisdom and hopefully, some relationship skills they will use to grow deeper. I try to set the bar high. I even promise to be a continued resource and point of accountability, if they want that.
But I am not responsible for them.
They have to do that for themselves.
You have to do it for yourself.