Friday, July 9, 2010

Whole Marriage: The Problem

I believe in marriage. I believe in it, strongly. I believe in it when it feels good...I believe in it when it doesn't. I make no secret of the fact that I find it stomach churning that marriage has become so expendable, in our society. I abhor the fact that being committed, through thick and thin, is a virtue that my particular generation views as yesterday's fashion. A trend that I find particularly disturbing, is the way it's almost viewed as an "accomplishment" to finally break away from the "oppressive" lifestyle of marriage, so that you can "find you", again. It's like there's a group out there lobbying to change marriage vows to state, "I pledge my life to you, as long as my ethics hold out, or as long as I feel like it."
{DISCLAIMER: If someone is being abused or cheated's a different story. I would never think less of someone for divorcing over infidelity, and if you are being beaten, PLEASE LEAVE NOW!!....just so we're clear on what I mean.}

What's behind it?:

While I believe that there is a fundamental character flaw in my generation, concerning all things integrity-related, I don't think it's productive to just sit around and wax philosophical about the shortcomings. I think there are ways to practically make steps toward making real change...especially when considering marriage.

So often, marriage is associated with emotion. It's dramatized on screen and off, and is promoted by the most emotionally manipulative industry known to history.'s the feeling that everyone is trying to achieve. The Big Lie? is NOT a's an action. We associate it with the butterflies in our stomachs, or by a rush of appreciation for our spouse's very existence, but the truth is, it's about DOING what it takes to make them know they are loved, committing to be the one that meets their needs...not about how we feel about them at any given moment. Love as a feeling is not a bottomless is finite. (Blessedly, it's renewable...but, we'll get into that in a different post.) However, somewhere along the way, we've been done the grave disservice of being made to believe that when that feeling doesn't show up for a while...we're given a justifiable ticket out.

What to do?:

Do I think that one needs to stay miserable in a marriage, simply because there is no physical abuse or infidelity? Certainly not! However, I do think we ought to give our marriages the same respect and attention that we would give any other area of our life. We're more than willing to make adjustments in our diets and exercise plans if we aren't getting the results we desire. We're more than willing to go to school to learn a different trade, because we aren't happy in our careers. We're even willing to read books about how to address problems we're having with our children, in order to know how to better raise them. When it comes to marriage, however, it almost seems like the mainstream doesn't want to promote it, in order to not offend the massive population of people who have allowed their marriages to fail. You heard me...I said allowed their marriages to fail. You know that saying "you can't choose who you love"?...well, pardon me...but, that's a load of bull! We fight all day, every day for our right to choose. However, when it comes time to be responsible for those choices...we drop it like it's hot, wanting everyone to believe that it just couldn't be helped. You may not be able to manufacture chemistry on a first date...but, you can certainly choose to do the act of loving your spouse. (and if they made it to spouse, then there was most likely chemistry there to begin with, which means that if it has can get it back!)

The Hump:

There are plenty of people out there who are willing to do what it takes to make their unworkable marriages work, again. I know several of those. They've been miserable for years, but are unwilling to just abandon their vows without doing some work, first. They are willing to do a trial separation, intense counseling, finding guidance from mentors, prayer, seeking the Lord...and they do those things with acute attention to the matter. However, the spouse in question simply doesn't have the willingness to do any repair work, simply doesn't care, or have found their "freedom" to be a more attractive circumstance than working to make their marriage a happy one. That's abandonment, and Paul is clear that a person's refusal to "cling" or "cleave" to their spouse is sufficient grounds for the offended spouse to seek divorce. Sometimes, there is nothing you can do to make a situation change, and God's mercy is always in authority over rules of law.

The Challenge:

I want to go deeper into this issue in a series of posts, because I believe we need to intensively chip away at the notion of disposable marriage if we EVER intend to achieve whole families. Because, seriously, how can you have a whole family, when the very founding relationship of that family falls by the way side? I have a really solid marriage, but we have recently had a series of extraordinary circumstances that have caused a "snippy" season. You know what I mean...nothing really big is going wrong, but we've been uncharacteristically short and a little rude to each other for a few weeks. I've been intentionally acting more merciful toward my son in the past couple of months, in order to break a dysfunctional cycle of "snippiness" with him. So this week, I am going to do the same with my husband. I'll fill you in on the progress I know for certain I will be able to report...because, when I choose to do the act of loving my husband in more purposeful NEVER fails to bring about that know...the one they call love?

{2003: our engagement photo. it's been nearly 8 years, so some cuteness has left the building:)}

Maybe you could use a week like that? I'd love to know how it works for you:)


  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. There are so many things that I agree with and I need to do better sometimes with my own husband. It is hard sometimes with twin toddlers...but they deserve the very best mommy and daddy. And part of that is being loving towards each other. I can't wait to read more!

    (By the way...I round you through Rina's blog. I used to teach with her several years back.)

  2. Thanks, Ginger! Thanks for commenting:) And about that Rina...kind of a rockin' lady, yeah? Her and Todd are 2 of my favorite people on the whole planet! Thanks for's really fun getting to know new people this way. It's my favorite part of blogging by far! God Bless:)



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