Marriage Tuesday

it’s interesting how marriage values have changed over the course of my lifetime…

i can remember when it wasn’t necessary to own a bunch of big stuff to somehow validate the union.

i can remember when a fat savings account wasn’t a pre-requisite for getting married.

i can remember when saving yourself for your wedding night was a treasured thing.

i can remember when young couples were fairly naive sexually before they got married.

i can remember when young couples had a lot of good marriage role models to learn from.

i can remember when the majority of my friends came from homes where their parents were still married.

i can remember when couples read books about having better marriages.

i can remember when marriage wasn’t made fun of on television.

i can remember when sexual faithfulness was honorable.

i can remember when pre-nups were not necessary.

i can remember when a marriage ceremony was more than event.

i can remember when a wedding ring was more than an expensive piece of jewelry.

i can remember when living together before marriage was called a sin.

i can remember when the wedding prayers of the pastor actually reflected the priorities of the people getting married.

i can remember when marriage was more than a civil union.

i can remember when saying you had been married for 40 years was not greeted with:  “…to the same woman?”

i can remember when deception and lying  in a marriage were seen as unhealthy…and not simply as normal.

i can remember when kids were seen as more than just a reason to stay together.

i can remember when sexual intimacy was a private affair.

i can remember a time when submission in marriage was not seen as a bad thing.

i can remember when a honeymoon was all about a mystery…rather than an expensive destination.

i can remember a time when being married was a symbol of real masculinity…something that men were proud of and they spoke highly of it.

i can remember when the concept of becoming one was not feared as a loss of personal identity.

i can remember when staying married was not seen as success…just normal.

i can remember when dating was looked at as preparation for marriage and not a recreational activity.

i can remember when beer commercials,  risqué television,  provocative movies…or even pornography… didn’t teach young girls about what guys want.

i can remember when dads were great role models for what their daughters should look for in a husband.

i can remember when married in the eyes of god meant something godly.

i can remember when keeping…and not just saying… wedding vows was a virtue.

i can remember a time when all of these characteristics of marriage were more the rule than  the exception.

just sayin’…

where did these  (and tons of others)  changes take place?   kind of like most everything else.   culture seems to have a way of slowly chipping away at the logic and practicality and sensibility of things we used to hold close.

hundreds (maybe even thousands) of hours of television watching has a way of reshaping truth…and convincing us we are becoming more enlightened.

modern psychology and pop relationship counseling has completely redefined how marriage should be done…and so many have bought what they sold.

young couples,  in particular,  have fewer and fewer solid marriage role models to follow and learn from.   without those strong and bold marriages openly setting the example,  people turn to other models.

as followers of christ continue to have smaller and quieter roles in american society,  others are becoming louder and louder.   kingdom values in marriage and relationship have given way to cultural values as the dominant teacher.

as more and more followers of christ become less literate biblically,  the truth of the bible becomes  increasingly subjective and open to personal,  subjective interpretation.   any behavior can be rationalized…any value can be justified.

it’s just the way it is.

…and i will gladly spend the remainder of my days helping people grow relationships and marriages that are honorable to god and good for everyone who comes in contact with them.


12 thoughts on “Marriage Tuesday

  1. Thank you for this post. It is encouraging to remember the values that are becoming neglected are not old-fashioned but instead are the values that please God.

  2. Absolutely agree! It’s tough to explain how “Channing” is less than “ChanNicole”. As Scripture says “it’s a mystery” that can’t be explained but accepted by faith.

  3. Man, I tried so hard to just say “I agree”, but I could not get the following out of my head:

    I can remember loving my grandparents to death but not knowing until now the attempts at suicide, constant drinking. Amongst the 7 of them.

    I also learned the secret abuse, physical and mentally some of my grandmothers went through.

    I can remember 2 of my 3 sets grandparents constantly fighting and the only time I saw love was when it was directed at the grandchildren.

    I also remember food was prepared by my Grandmothers and Great grandmothers only.

    I also know there were Wars that drafted my grandparents away knowing their chance of returning was questionable. I was also told of temptations/vices that arose while being overseas. I guess grandma could look the other way and finish cooking the apple pie.

    So how far back do I have to go to find the marriage Utopia? Was it really that good back in the day?

    I don’t think I would move my marriage practice to any other time period. Life has never been easy.

    1. this is a great observation, BA. i’m actually writing a postscript on this topic for tomorrow. maybe i should have asked you to write it.

      …or not.

    2. I would not disagree for a second that the good ole days weren’t always all good.

      However, I still pine for a time when the values we say are important in a marriage were not so widely derided, ignored, or paid mere lip service to.

      There has never been an era where everyone has been successful at living their values all the time. I just wonder what the point of marriage is anymore in a modern society. Maybe it means something to Christians, but I wonder why anyone else even bothers. Not with the way the concept of marriage is treated by contemporary secular society.

  4. “i can remember when beer commercials, risqué television, provocative movies…or even pornography… didn’t teach young girls about what guys want.”

    I think this might be educating guys to some extent to, as to what they should want. That particular knife cuts both ways I’m afraid.

    I find it incredibly disheartening to see how young girls dress today and the excuse I get from too many people is “That’s the fashion”. For Christians I think this excuse is unacceptable. We should live in this world but not be of it. More to the point, I think the attention these girls want and the attention they receive are not necessarily the same thing. I know for some of them they understand what guys will see and this is often desired. However, for what most young women (when I say young I mean teenagers and even women I know in their 20’s) I have talked to what they say they want in a guy often goes counter to the kind of guy that will most likely be attracted to the way they dress and the way they act for that matter. The current culture, if followed, seems to just lead to a lot of misunderstanding and probably heartbreak for young Christian women.

    On the flip side, I really hope that my boys take to heart conversations I have had with them and will have with them about dating. I hope that not only do they grow up to be strong Christian men, but the choices for a life partner will be biased towards women with a strong sense of self respect and worth who can stand on their own as individuals with faith in God. This may seem hypocritical since if Allison held me to a standard as high we probably would never have started dating. Then again, I would like to think if I had not changed my ways she would have eventually dumped me for someone who shared her values.

  5. It’s easy to say that our current time is more difficult than when I was growing up or when you were growing up. But all those problems were there. I think the accessibility of it is definitely easier. But I also think it was easier to fly under the radar back then. We didn’t live out our entire lives and all our drama in front of the world wide web. Our lives have turned into our own personal reality shows.

    There was pornography. Some kid in the neighborhood would steal his dad’s Playboy and every boy in the neighborhood would see it. The difference now is that not only can you steal your pop’s skin flick that he stuffed under his mattress but you can get it on your TV, computer and your stinking phone. Heck half the stuff that people’s daughters walk around in is as racy as what we saw in the mags we stole!

    Sin is sin. It has been since Adam and Eve. I think I’m just as guilty as my parents were about not wanting to talk to my son’s about some things as if it will somehow go away. My son’s temptations and feelings are no different then the ones I had/have and my father had before me. Its part of the screwed up way we are wired when we aren’t plugged into God and we are plugged into the junk of our world.

  6. I left burning of the bra out of my post.

    Man has always wanted it. My grandfather like many had the almost naked lady tattooed on his arm. I know what he was thinking. “I wonder how hard it is to get through that petticoat”. I think back in the day there was just a lot more imagination. My daughter (18 at least of course, I hope) would not have been any safer in the minds of men back then.

    Also, I don’t buy that naked Statues and paintings from the beginning of civilization were “art”. I think minds were just as dirty then and now.

    I can’t help to think of the movie “Back to the Future” when Marty met his mom and he completely had the wrong image of her growing up. Sure our parent’s as they matured look like they came from an age of innocence and values. Or because past marriages of 50 years or more are in Cooperstown, they got the marriage concept right? I don’t think so.

    If the subject is marriage, then:
    I 100% believe a great marriage has nothing to do with the success or your kids, money, taking care of parents or years married etched on the cell wall. Marriage is truly a mystery, and I love trying to solve it.

    On a lighter note: We may have been better off if we lived up to the 60’s Sy-Fy movies. We all would have been walking around in Grey jumpsuits by now.

  7. I was thinking that earlier as I read BA’s post. I grew up with my parents obviously and their marriage is by far the rock of foundation in my life for as long as I can remember. Its what I think of when I think marriage. They got it right! They were married for over 26 years and the only reason they aren’t married now is my father’s death. They are, were and always be my example of marriage.

    All that being said they had their baggage. They had their fights. They had their temptations. They had their shortcomings. We just never saw it. They did such a good job of sheilding us from that stuff.

    Is that the right way? Are their slip ups and mistakes that I would have made if they had been more transparent? Or would knowing some of that stuff simply screw me up more?

    Weird to love someone for 36 years and realize that there is still a ton of stuff about them that you never knew.

  8. That’s what I am afraid of was marriages may have been based on lot’s of secrecy. Which in turn may have illustrated good marriage value.

    I am not being a moron, I know not all marriage were like this. Just like I know there are marriage today that get it, and get it right.

  9. I could say many a thing about marriage in the good old days (eventhough I wasn’t even a twinkle in my daddy’s eye). From what I gather, women had very little say so in a marriage back then. It was our job to keep house and raise the kids, have dinner on the table when dad came home, be marilyn in the bedroom and Jackie everywhere else. You Kept your mouth shut in public and agreed with the husband in private because he was the “MAN”.

    So, if you were to look at marriage from that viewpoint, it was great!! The outside was all two story houses and white picket fencses. The only people that would know your true nature was eachother and possibly close family. No gossiping to your girlfriend about how bad things were (for fear of retribution from the spouse if he found out.

    Needless to say, women’s rights have come a long way since the 50’s. But I also think that because women are more vocal, you hear about many of the issues that were kept quiet back in the day. And, guess what happens when you burst that bubble, it either heals, or it gets worse.

    Unfortunatley, for many couples today, they just let it get worse. They don’t take the time to let their relationship heal, or better yet, they don’t give it time to heal. (Short term commitment and long term benefit sound familiar)

    I believe the ones that made it through those hard times, will continue to make it through harder times because they have endured these issues together….

  10. What hornets nest will you knock over with your postscript? I had some thoughts after reading your post but um…I think that territory has been covered.

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