Reflecting on Marriage (Part 1)

weddingrings.jpg(This is the first of several posts in which I plan to reflect on marriage.  Whether you are married or not, marriage itself is very important.  Some of my comments are the product of my own marriage.  I’ve been married 28 years.  Some comments are the result of talking with many, many people about their own marriages.  Then, there are some things I’ve learned from just watching other people in their marriages.)

 

Charlotte and I were married on August 11, 1978 in Florence, Alabama.  The night we got married, I didn’t have a clue what I was getting in to.  Neither did she.  In fact, no couple does.  Before I perform the wedding for a couple, I spend time with them.  They are normally in my office a number of times for pre-marital conversation and work.  Even then, they still do not fully realize what that marriage will be like.  That is life.

 

Our marriage has had its highs.  It has had its lows.  Mostly, it has had lots of in-betweens.  Much of life is somewhere between highs and lows.  I think that is normal.  What makes that in-between time very special is learning to practice covenant love.  In fact, I believe taking covenant love seriously serves to keep love alive and fresh within a marriage.

 

Now a few concerns.  I will elaborate on these in future posts.

 

1. Many people are living with a lot of disappointment in marriage.  Some of that disappointment goes way beyond marriage.  I have talked with many people who are disappointed in their lives in general.  Still others are disappointed in their mates or even in themselves.  Some of this disappointment is related to old hurts.  Some of it may be related to expectations.

 

2.  Many husbands and wives put a tremendous amount of pressure on these marriages.  We demand that our mates change.  ("If only she would get it together, I would finally be happy.")  Other people begin to look for someone else.  Maybe that someone else is found.  ("Why can’t my wife treat me like this?")  This man/woman begins to compare this other person with that frustrating spouse. 

 

3.  Many people are experiencing marriages where pornography is a factor.  Pornography rewards immaturity.  Pornography invites you into a world of perfection.  Perfect figure.  Perfect tan.  Perfect performance.  Perfect, high experience.   It  changes the expectations in a marriage. 

 

4.  Many Christians really need to bring Jesus into their homes.  A home doesn’t have to be reduced to a place where exhausted, joyless people gather at the end of the day.  I really believe he makes a home a refreshing place to be.

 

Are there other concerns you have that I haven’t mentioned? 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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14 thoughts on “Reflecting on Marriage (Part 1)

  1. The level of expectations has risen to the point where it will be a herculean effort to avoid dissappointment. We have determined that marriage is the endless state of bliss that solves all of our previous difficulties. That just ain’t so. We believe that we have a right to be happy, and it is the responsibility of our spouse to make us that way and keep us there. My job in pre-marital counseling is the make the expectations more realistic. And that just ain’t easy.

  2. Thinking of marriage as something you do for yourself instead of for another…

    so, in recent years, I’ve pondered what it means for me to play “the shepherd” for my spouse. (Even though I get to be a sheep sometimes, too!)

  3. Only God can blend two people from totally different backgrounds and experiences harmoniously and then sprinkle children into the mix and make it all work out.  How could marriages possible make it without God?

  4. Kent,Very good comment regarding our expectations for marriage.  I agree with you completly.  We are putting an enormous amount of pressure on these marriages as a result.Thanks! 

  5. Mary Ann,Thank you for these encouraging words.  You have expressed encouragement on other occasions regarding this blog.  I want you to know how much I appreciate what you say.  I am glad to know that in some way your life is blessed by this. 

  6. L.L.,I like that expression: "… play the shepherd for my spouse."  What a wonderful image!  I want to give that some thought in terms of the implications, etc. 

  7. Gail,You express the complexity of marriage/family very well.  As you say, how can all of this come together without God? 

  8. My parents, who have a secular world-view, have been very satisfied in marriage for 45 years.  If asked, they would say the key to a successful marriage is being willing to put the needs of your spouse above your own… again and again and again. 
    With or without spiritual implications, selflessness creates relationship. 

  9. At some point, maybe at the starting point ;), we must return to the fact that marriage itself is set up to be a model of the "church".  It’s mostly about submission…which has NOTHING to do with happiness, yet can have everything to do with success and joy in marriage.  It’s the whole concept of giving of myself to another for the sake of Christ, and allowing Christ to bless me and honor my committment, and bring about the ultimate satisfaction of not just living in His Kingdom…but living WELL.
    just random thinking here basically!
    love in Christ,
    pam  (sprinkle my words with the salt of the fact that i’ve been through TWO failed marriages!) yikes!

  10. Pam,I appreciate what you said.  Your "random thinking" is very good.  Good reminder of a larger model for marriage than what many of us look at.You may have been through two failed marriages, Pam, but that does not dilute the truth of what you are saying.  All of us write and live with the reality of our own failure and sin.  We all have that in common. 

  11. Julie,Sounds like you have witnessed a good marriage for many years.  I think your parents are right about the importance of selflessness.

  12. Thank you so much for your encouraging insights. You’ve indeed created a wonderful community and fellowship in cyberspace.

    Expectations are huge to deal with; our own, our spouses and others expectations of us.
    I need to learn to manage my own expectations in the light of God’s love for me and my marriage.
    It’s not just about a more realistic expectation but learning to let go and let God transform my expectations into something beautiful.

    Blessings for your ministry and thankful for you devotion in Christ,

    tim