Unlike the other Notes from Behind the Library Desk stories, this one has real-world junk. May we all try to ground our marriages in the security that comes from an active relationship with God.

At the Reference Desk, we provide legal paperwork for people to purchase. These include child custody forms, expunging criminal offenses from personal records, and divorce forms.

We sell a lot of divorce forms.

One day, I was approached by an angry woman who demanded to know where the divorce papers were kept. My desk is U-shaped, so I took her to one end and listened to her vent as she rifled through forms. I heard all about her husband’s shortcomings. He was a liar. He was a cheat. He had failed her. She was done trying.

Leaving her to manhandle the forms in peace, I rolled to the other side of my U to help an equally angry man. He too, wanted divorce forms. His wife was impossible. Their marriage was a joke. He wouldn’t be caught in her company one minute longer.

Wow, I thought, tough day on the home front. 

The woman looked up to ask me a question at the same time the man was asking me another. Their eyes met, and like a Twilight-Zone Hallmark movie, I realized this was about to get complicated.

“YOU!” she screamed.

YOU!” he screamed back, adding some words I won’t add here.

Yes. I was visited by both halves of an angry divorcing couple. At exactly the same time.

An argument ensued that incorporated an impressive range of obscenities and decibels. Apparently (I’m not a lawyer, so don’t hold me accountable if I’m wrong), there is a difference between filing paperwork for divorce and filing paperwork to respond to a claim for divorce.

Naturally, neither was in a compromising mood, so they both grabbed a set of divorce forms and fought to reach the checkout counter first. There were lots of thrown elbows and shoving. They made it out the door without bringing the roof down. I can only assume they ran over each other on the sidewalk to reach domestic relations court first.

There are many broken paths that lead to divorce. On some, the responsibility of what happened hangs on one party more heavily than the other. But watching these two push and shove, I wasn’t thinking about who was wrong. I was thinking how terrible sin is.

God never intended for our relationships to be full of broken hearts and hurtful words. We brought this pain upon ourselves at the beginning when the first man, Adam, defied God’s command and sinned. Now, we’re in such a state that two people who swore to honor and cherish for the rest of their lives are shoving each other to be first in their declaration of intent to break that promise.

How terribly, terribly sad. God’s heart surely grieved harder than mine.

In a world where people just assume you live together before you’re married…

In a world where people expect to divorce when things get too hard…

I pray God will use my marriage to be a light in all that darkness.

I am richly blessed with parents, in-laws, and grandparents who have passed the test of time. Josiah and I are committed to passing that legacy on to our kids, who, if they have the opportunity to also be married, I pray will pass on to theirs.

To the other young couples who know Christ and see the brokenness around us, stay strong. Our society desperately needs the healing and peace we have found in God. Be the light.