Marriage Tuesday

the cost of marriage…

i’m just going to go ahead and say it:   wanda and i have a pretty good marriage.   it’s not perfect,  because neither one of us is perfect…tho wanda comes waaaaay closer than i do. but i definitely wouldn’t trade mine for anyone else’s!

our marriage didn’t just happen.   we worked at it.   still do.

our commitment to working at our marriage happened in our second year.   up until that point  (five years of dating and a year of playing house together),  we did what just about every other couple i have ever been around does:  we just acted married.

we were married.   what was there to work at?   you don’t work at breathing…you just breathe.   you don’t work at eating…you just eat.   you don’t work at watching television…you just watch.   you don’t work at marriage…you just are married.   or so we thought.

in our second and third years of marriage,  everything changed.   because of loving confrontation…determined mentoring…and committed accountability…we learned that we really knew nothing about marriage and if we didn’t get our butts in gear and serious about our lives together,  we were destined for a life of empty co-existence (at best)  or hostility, conflict and separation (at worst).

we will forever be grateful for what happened in those years…and the people who loved us enough to make it happen.

there were two necessary ingredients.

one – we needed older,  wiser couples who cared enough to initiate confrontation…risk our rejection…and were confident enough in their own relationship to expose it to us.   we needed people who would not be afraid to pursue us,  challenge us,  discipline us,  and do what we needed in our relationship…before we invited them to do it. this was the crucial first step.

two – because we were initially too stupid,  proud,  unaware,  shallow,  clueless,  over-confident,  arrogant…or some combination of all of them…we needed the older,  wiser couples to initiate with us about our marriage.   but once the ball got rolling,  we bought in.   we listened.   we read every book on marriage they recommended…and that turned into a life-long pursuit of studying about marriage.   we sought out advice.   we went to others when we struggled.   we learned to bury our pride and ask for help.  

so here are my questions:

where are the older,  wiser,  mature couples who need to be swallowing their fears and seeking out young couples to mentor?   where are the older,  wiser,  mature couples who care enough to confront  and loving enough to pursue?

where are the young couples who are willing to admit they don’t have everything wired and are relentlessly seeking out relationships with older,  wiser,  mature couples  for discipline and accountability in their marriages?

just wondering…

4 thoughts on “Marriage Tuesday

  1. Something I enjoy about North Point is that there are a lot of what I consider positive married role models. There are quite a few couples who have been together a very long time and seem to still enjoy each other’s company. On the other end we have a surprising number of younger married couples who seem to really be into each other. The kind of young couples who give me hope they will go the distance.

    I am beat down by the “marriage game”. I simply have too many friends who have gone through divorce. I know divorce is an ugly fact of our society and I wouldn’t necessarily advocate some of the couples I know who are now separated stay together, but I still hate divorce. It pains me to see people who get married and then try to find their common ground. Um…too late? Even if divorce doesn’t enter the picture, I know far too many couples who act more like roommates then husband and wife. There was a time, just a few years ago, that it felt like Allison and I were the only stable relationship out there. I found that deeply depressing because I’ve been of the opinion that marriage, though it is a lot of work, should be great and something that brings joy.

    I became so cynical about marriage that when asked if I was going to my cousin’s wedding I said “I’ll catch the next one”.

    I don’t know that Allison and I are an “older couple” to anyone right now, but I would not be adverse to taking a young family under our wing. I do know that having so many great examples at North Point has done a lot to alleviate some of my cynicism about marriage. I don’t think some of the couples at North Point, both old and young, realize how encouraging they are to me.

  2. Marriage Tuesday is great.

    IMO. Just because you:
    don’t fight,
    don’t yell at each other,
    like each others in-laws,
    help each other around the house,
    laugh at each other jokes,
    You may still not be truly married but may just co-exist.

    A couple of weeks ago, I learned something about my wife that I put on a back shelf. No, it was not something from her far away past but something from a couple of years ago. Once it was out in the open, our hearts were at peace. We didn’t have a “Hollywood” moment of kissing and telling each other I love you. No, it was way deeper than any words or kiss could bind us.
    Respect the mystical.

  3. Mike,

    I think I have raised this question before on a Marriage Tuesday topic.

    When you ask of something of a marriage, I can ONLY speak for my half only. I can’t volunteer my wife or have her just agree with me for example, on the topic today. I know my wife well, but I still can’t assume and speak for our marriage entity. I know logistically, it may be hard for both of us to respond to this blog. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, I know this may just sound better in my head.

  4. I completely agree there’s a cost to marriage. The cost is selfishness. Nicole and I will have been married 19 years in two weeks and I can’t even see myself without seeing her. Our lives have become inseperateable even though we enjoy our alone times.

    As for mentoring, it’s a wonderful idea. As someone who has “developed strategies” for small groups, I was always pained by churches accepting the seperation of the generations. It’s a tough situation but until we learn to value other people’s stories regardless of age/phase we always be poorer for it.

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