“Most people marry the wrong person at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. That business about what God had joined together-- God didn’t put half these people together in the first place. So, they come crying to us for counselling-- I want to say: ‘you should’ve never done it, but you did. Now you’re stuck and you’ve got to make the best of it.’”
-Marriage Counsellor in Fort Worth
"Break up to make is all we do,
first you love, then you hate me;
it's a game for fools."
I freely admit that I don’t know much about marriage. I experienced it, but I was a different person back then. My oldest son is getting married in July and I haven’t given him much fatherly advice about this endeavor. He and his fiance have been dating since Bill Clinton was President so I guess they know what they’re doing. The idea that he’s getting married didn’t seemed real to me until a few days ago.
It got me thinking about marriage--the idea of it, that is.
I talk to a lot of married people. I hear considerable disillusionment, unhappiness and downright duplicity. I’m overcome by the level of sadness. The question, of course, is this: Why are these people so unhappy? I have a few thoughts:
Marriage, fundamentally, is enslavement (by choice) to the other person and three ideals. Only through embracing these ideals, can a marriage thrive and prosper (in this day and time):
1. The Destruction of Selfishness is Uppermost
This is a ‘me-first’ world. When is our first thought when faced with difficulty? Why self-preservation, of course.
“Yeah, Yeah, I know this is bad, but do you know how this affects me?”
2. The Daily Construct of Emotional Intimacy is Required Action
It was, I think, my father who told me that the root of ‘intimacy’ is time. The world, the flesh and the devil willingly conspire to possess your time. And, without circumspection on your part, they may win.
I saw a :30 second spot about a V-8 engine that ran for thirty minutes after all the synthetic oil had been drained--the same test was applied with conventional motor oil. The engine seized in about five minutes.
The synthetic oil weaves and binds to all the cracks and crevices inside the machinery, making them less susceptible to damage by friction. So, even when something bad happens--like all the oil drains out-- the engine doesn't die.
Emotional Intimacy within a relationship behaves comparably to synthetic motor oil. It helps to prevent damage--it protects the parts that need protection. And who among us doesn't have parts that need protecting?
Emotional intimacy is constructed through laughing, talking, connecting, playing, serving and finding pleasure. What could you be doing each day that is more important that constructing Emotional Intimacy? If Emotional Intimacy isn't present in your situation, consider the last two sentences in #1. Yes, it is your fault. Accept responsibility. I know...it’s difficult. (Ridding ourselves of selfishness is painful--partly because we never see that trait within us!)
3. Radiating Hope is Your Role
Life is often difficult. Hope for tomorrow can remain as elusive as the origin of the Northern Lights. People are brooding over the future. Your partner is facing trepidation about tomorrow. Do you know what fears your partner is facing? Or, do you even care? Have you asked...or are you so immersed in what you’re facing that you haven’t the time. If you aren't radiating and reflecting hope to your partner, what kind of partner are you?
One Flesh-- Neither Abstract, Nor Metaphorical...but Intensely Practical
My Teacher once said that One Flesh meant this:Best Friend, Confidante, Partner, Lover, Companion...one who diligently seeks to fulfill all your earthly needs. That is the treasure most people seek.
God, since the Garden of Eden, has been looking for people to trust Him. Mankind, since Adam, had been playing out a drama eternally laced with shadowy pangs of loneliness. It is a small wonder the book of Genesis records this, “It is not good for Adam to be alone."