In the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States, one sentiment—spoken in many forms—resounds: "This really puts it all into perspective," "This really shuffles our priorities," and, "This shows how insignificant everything else is." This embrace of "Don't sweat the small stuff" is already paying off for marriages.
The Houston Chronicle reports that since September 11, dismissals of family-law cases, most of which are divorces, are occurring at three times the volume as in the days before the attack. The Chronicle reports that family-law attorneys claim that even those in the midst of divorce are now suddenly willing to patch things up. One judge summed it up this way: "Our lives have changed forever, and the things we worried about before look like small potatoes."
Great news for the families of Houston!
Indeed, watching towers crumble with thousands of people trapped inside humbled this staff's efforts to put together a magazine of worth. Articles we had been so excited about suddenly paled in importance compared to the horrors that had occurred. But that is mostly to the good. As a people blessed with things beyond most of the world's comprehension, Americans tend to be a people obsessed with frivolity and the banal.
But a problem remains. It was those "small potatoes" that brought those Houston couples to the courthouse in the first place. As Annette LaPlaca writes in this issue's Viewpoint (page 88), "It turns out that everyday marital stresses—communicating over roles or money, handling the balance of work versus home, in-law issues—push [many] couples to that feeling of hopelessness." Just because we don't focus on the small stuff doesn't mean it goes away.
In C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, the master demon Uncle Screwtape explains to his novice nephew the difference between small sins and grandiose acts of evil: "It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light. … Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick."
In marriage cards do the trick all too well.
So maybe not everything in this issue has all the importance it seemed to have on September 10, but everything is still geared toward making you work hard at and cherish your relationship—from the big things to the little. Because it all matters.
May God bless your marriage and God bless America.
Caryn D. Rivadeneira, Managing Editor
Copyright © 2001 by the author or Christianity Today/Marriage Partnership magazine. Click here for reprint information on Marriage Partnership.