Question: How do you explain the divorce rate in the U.S.?
Rick Warren: We are the most self-centered generation in history. Not just the generation that exists, but the baby boom generation before it was brought up in the “me” generation. And everything in society teaches, “It’s all about me”. Every commercial says, “It’s all about you. We do it all for you. Have it your way. You deserve it. I got to think of me first.” And we are taught selfishness.
And that’s why when I wrote “Purpose Driven Life”, it’s really a counter-cultural book because the very first sentence is the exact opposite of our culture. It says, “It’s not about you.” And that’s almost like a slap in the face. No I’m sorry, it’s not about you. There are a lot of things bigger in the world than simply your own happiness, your own fulfillment, your own little selfish clod of a life, as George Bernard Shaw called it.
And the reason we have high divorce is people haven’t been given good models. Their parents often weren’t a good model of unselfishness.
Second, I think it takes three to make a marriage work. I think it takes you. I think it takes your spouse. And I think it takes God. You can’t have a two-legged stool. It’ll fall over. A one-legged stool will fall over, a two-legged stool. But when you have you yourself, your partner and God in it, it makes a triangle. And as you’re growing closer to God and your spouse is growing closer to God, it automatically brings you together.
My wife and I, as I said, are extremely different from each other in practically every single way. But as we grow closer to God, we grow closer to each other, and it is the glue that has held us together when every bone in my body wanted to give up – or in her body. Now we actually made a commitment when; it was ‘til death do us part. So we said, “We’re going to lock this gate patch, close it, and throw away the key.”
Now in those first two years, when it was hell on earth; I mean really. We started fighting on the honeymoon. And we were going, “Wait a minute. I saved myself for this?” It was like, “What a disappointment!” you know?
And we were fighting from the first day on because we were immature, and we didn’t know how to share and how to learn. But as you grow through life, if you stay with a commitment it really will get better. It’s being willing to learn; being willing to reconcile; don’t fix the blame. Fix the problem.
Recorded on: December 11, 2007