Statistics show that roughly 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States will end in divorce. The practice is fairly common, and it’s not unusual for elaborate, fancy weddings to be followed by break-ups in the blink of an eye.
But what if I told you there’s a couple out there who is just as committed to saving your marriage as they are their own?
Meet Reggie and London Royal, a pair of Chicago-area pastors who have declared war on divorce with their new book, Married Life: Building a Divorce-Proof Marriage. The book is a product of the Royals infamous “Married Life” ministry out of Lifeline Church in Cicero. The Christian-based initiative has literally drawn thousands of singles and married couples both young and old, in their mission to increase the number of happily-married couples and lower the divorce rate.
EBONY sat down with the couple to discuss their book, which incorporates lessons they’ve learned after being married for more than 20 years, as well as wisdom for others who have decided to make “I do” last forever.
EBONY: Let’s begin with your love story. Where are you from, how did you meet and how long have you been married?
Reggie Royal: London and I were born and raised in Chicago. We met over 21 years ago at a music group rehearsal. I went to join the group and London was sitting there and I knew that would be my wife. A year later we were married and we have been doing life together for 21 years come September 30th. We have two very active boys, Justin Malik (11) and Jaden Mikal (9), and we enjoy making precious memories with them.
EBONY: Your mission to save marriages is one that I find to be very admirable. What’s the story?
London Royal: Our story is not a fancy one, but a real one. We actually never thought we would have this assignment of ministering hope to married couples. Our story is simple; we committed to do the work! If we could save marriages, we would save them all. But the truth is, we can only share the principles and hope that what we share is heard and applied. Knowledge does very little if it’s not applied.
EBONY: In this day and age, divorce seems so common to the point where for many it isn’t even sad. How can we get back to the place where people actually value marriage like they did back in the day?
Reggie Royal: I believe divorce is common because the covenant of marriage is not understood. It’s hard to carry out anything when you lack understanding. Marriage is not just a legal contract, but it’s an agreement between two individuals to serve and submit to one another. Marriage is a journey of selflessness. If this is not understood, when you encounter episodes of selfishness, and you will, you will consider breaking covenant.
EBONY: Tell us about the book. What can readers expect?
London Royal: This book is loaded with tools to divorce-proof your marriage. I believe too many couples don’t have the tools to fix issues that arise in marriage. If I get a flat tire and all I have in my trunk is glue, a flashlight and duct tape, it doesn’t matter how much I desire to fix the flat, I simply don’t have the proper tools. Well this book will provide you with practical tools. However, they must be applied to get the desired outcome. Applied knowledge produces results!!
EBONY: It’s very normal to feel like you want to leave a relationship/marriage at times. How do you know when you are simply frustrated vs. it being time to call it quits? Is there ever a time to give up on your marriage? If so, when?
The Royals: This is a great question and we’ve come to learn that there is no set answer as everyone’s journey is completely different. We’re not an advocate of divorce. However, we do believe that for everything there is a season. Some seasons may call for a supervised separation, whereby you take a season to heal while both parties submit to counseling together and individually. We also believe that when you reach a place where your spouse’s heart is no longer pliable and they have made it clear that they don’t intend on keeping this covenant, we would say it’s time to make some decisions. Love covers all and there comes a time when you must love yourself enough to remove yourself from any calculated line of fire.
This is why this book, Building a Divorce-Proof Marriage is so vital in this season. It will prepare you for marriage as well as help you once the journey begins. The principles outlined in this book such as love, communication, loyalty, equity, courtesy, respect and understanding roles will help you seal your marriage against whatever life brings. You can divorce-proof your marriage. It is possible!
“Married Life: Building a Divorce-Proof Marriage” hits stores on September 30. For more information on the Royals and their “Married Life” campaign visit, www.marriedlifechicago.com.
Shantell E. Jamison is a digital editor for EBONY.com and JETMAG.com. Her book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction” is available on Amazon. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @Shantell_em and Instagram @Shantell_em.