Marriage Tuesday

marriage 2After all these years, I still care deeply about marriage and helping couples have the best marriages they can possibly have.  I’m always a sucker for saying “yes” when a couple (especially a young couple) asks me for help.

Right now, I’m meeting with two young couples who are preparing to get married and I’m also going to be overseeing the ceremonies of two other young couples in the next couple of months.

Here’s what I can tell you about these four couples:  From what I can see, they all define marriage in a different way.

And that is their prerogative.  That’s true for all of us.

Each of us enter into marriage with some presuppositions about what marriage is and what we are hoping ours will become.  We have beliefs about marriage that have been carved out since our childhood (when we lived with our parent’s marriages) and got further refined as we watched marriages (both good and bad) in our adolescent and young adult years.

We come to conclusions about the nature and purpose of marriage by watching and listening. The differences between us is our sources of influence.  The people we watch. The voices who speak into our hearts.  The words we trust and have authority in our lives.

But make no mistake.  What our marriages are built on…what our marriages grow into…what our marriages ultimately become…are our choices.

I’ve said this before, many times.  I always ask couples why they want to get married. They are almost always quick to tell me it’s because they “love” each other.  Now, as noble and foundational as love is to marriage, that’s never the answer I’m looking for.  At least not in the form I’m hoping to hear.

How about some of these reasons:

“ I find my greatest joy in serving her.”

“I want to grow old together.”

“We are better together than we are separate.”

“I want to live absolutely and fully committed to him.”

“Our individual giftedness compliments each other.”

“I completely and totally trust him.”

“I am drawn to her character and example like no other.”

“He refines and challenges my shortcomings.”

“She inspires me to live out a higher calling.”

The reason I seldom, if ever, get these kinds of answers is because most couples are not thinking deeply about marriage and they are drawing their definitions of marriage from sources other than the nature, character, words, and example of Jesus.

So when it comes to your marriage (current or future), here are the questions to ask:

Who is influencing your thoughts and your process of defining marriage?

What is your source of moral and relational authority?

Is your marriage what YOU say it is, or are you submitting yourself to a greater influence?

No matter what, it’s still your choice.

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One thought on “Marriage Tuesday

  1. I love the marriage Tuesday posts. I miss them actually.

    I have been married to my partner in all things for almost 15 years. I truly love my hubby. He completes me. It’s nice that we love each other, but that’s not what holds us together.

    Our marriage is a partnership. Love is a benefit of that partnership. We don’t always agree. It’s not always rosy. Marriage is the hardest journey to embark on next to parenthood.

    What I have learned in my short 15 year experience is that putting God first helps out a lot. If I put God first, then it becomes easier to submit to my husband. If my husband puts God first, it is easier for him to treat me the same as Jesus treats his bride. It is a win win.

    When we lose sight of that authority in our life as a married couple, IMO that is when other worldly things start to take precedent. It could be work, the kids, money, and yes even the church in some cases.

    Bottom line for us, is that we put God first, we talk to each other every day. We continue to date each other.

    It’s not always rosy, but when it’s not, we don’t shut down, we press forward. We compromise. We tell each other when we are angry and try to make amends and not dwell on it. And yes, we love each other.

    This is what marriage is. It’s a circle that is constantly moving with no break.

    I love your questions Mike. Even us old married couples could benefit from these gut check questions. Especially those who are struggling in this area now.

    Keep on posting! I miss your posts and most of all the lessons I learn from them.

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