City With No Divorce

city with no divorce

City With No Divorce

In this broken world where more than half of marriages end in divorce, there remains a city that has zero divorce.

Not one divorce!  That small town is Siroki Brijeg.  It is located in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Siroki Brijeg

Siroki Brijeg is a rural town of 30,000 inhabitants (and about 13,000 Catholics).

The city has suffered centuries of war and famine, cultural and political strife.

Yet, not one single divorce has been recorded.

What is the secret to marriage?

So when people often ask me, a divorce turned marriage lawyer, what the secret is to marriage,  I direct them to this small town.

Take Up Your Cross

The answer is found in Luke 9:23,

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Foundation of Marriage

When young people marry, the priests don’t give them silly world advice (every single piece of world advice is dead wrong – trust me, I was a divorce lawyer for 25+ years).

They aren’t told, “Marry because you’re in love”.  “You have found the perfect match!”  “First marriage is only practice!” “You be you!”  “You only live once!” “Just keep him until you find someone better!”

Silly, useless world advice that drive couples to divorce lawyers’ offices shortly after marriage!

“You Do You” is the Stupidest Thing You Can Say to Someone

This is almost as dumb as “speak your truth”.   Not quite as dumb, but up there.

You Have Found Your Cross

Instead, they priest says this:

“You have found your cross. And it is a cross to love, a cross to bear, a cross that should not be rejected but cherished.”

The cross is the symbol of God’s love for us.  Thus, while preparing for marriage, the couple chooses a cross together.

During premarital counseling, the priest tells the couple this cross (each other) is to be loved, to be carried, not to be thrown away, but to be cherished.

Vows Before the Cross

The cross is carried during the processional to the church.

As the couple exchanges vows, the bride and groom place their right hands upon the cross, pledging to always be faithful.

When the time traditionally comes for the groom to kiss his bride, the priest instead invites the couple to kiss the crucifix, the source of love.

Marriage of Crucifix

This tradition is called the Marriage Crucifix (rather than the Wedding Crucifix) because it was meant to remind the couple of the covenant they entered into, not only during the wedding but throughout the rest of their time here in this world.

After the wedding ceremony, the couple brings home the cross and dedicate a place in their home to place it.  It becomes the center of the home.  This is where you bow your head together and pray.  God is at the center of it all. Marriage takes three.

What If There Is Conflict?

Conflict is natural.  It is the struggle between our flesh and spirit.

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  Romans 7

This struggle between our flesh and spirit causes conflict inside and out.

When this happen in the marriage, the cross brings help.  The couple will NOT go see a marriage counselor, a divorce lawyer, a psychic or buy self-help books.

Instead, they will kneel before the cross, before our Lord and Savior.  There, they will bow in repentance, weep, and seek forgiveness from each other.

Deny Yourself, Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

The secret to marriage is denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Jesus.

This is why there are no divorces in Siroki Brijeg.

Have a case like this?

Family matters are extremely personal, and it is important for us to know details of your case before giving advice. Each case is different, and it is important to find an attorney you trust. To arrange an appointment, please call us at (626) 765-5767 between 8:30am – 5:00pm, Mondays to Fridays, or fill out the form below.

Schedule a Consultation