I thought some about marriage today.
Back in 2008, I started writing about marriage on this blog. Nearly every Tuesday for years, I wrote something about marriage. Sometimes it was practical. Sometimes it was theoretical. Sometimes it was critical. Sometimes it was funny. Sometimes it was a rant. Sometimes it was theological. I always hoped it was encouraging.
You wouldn’t know it based on how little I have written over the past 3-4 years (that’s another story for another time), but I have written 1,497 blog posts. Would you be surprised to know the #2 topic I have written about is marriage? I guess you could say it’s pretty important to me…
I wonder what kind of effect the shelter-in-place mandate is having on marriages? Logic says that spending a load of extra time with your spouse would open the door to more conversations, more problem-solving, deeper moments of reflection, and increased intimacy. I have a fear that reality is saying there might be a lot more conflict, more isolation, more walls, and a whole lot of detachment.
Not exactly a recipe for strengthening a marriage!
So I’m going to go back to sending you a marriage morsel every Tuesday. Look…my wit or insight isn’t going to rescue a marriage on the edge. You probably need a lot more than what I can give here. If your marriage is in trouble, here is a desperate suggestion: Send up a flare. Tell someone you trust that you need help. Ask a friend for a lifeline. Swallow your fear and send an email or a text or FB message. Your marriage is that important.
However, if your marriage is blah or running on autopilot, it’s probably time to get busy. Your marriage could slip onto life support before you know it. I’ll help where I can, but this one’s on you. Do you still believe the vows you made? Are the promises you offered up still good? Then maybe it’s time to talk with each other about it…time to dig in and go deeper…time to own your problems.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor who was part of the German resistance movement against nazism in the 40’s. He was arrested in 1943, imprisoned and tortured, and eventually executed in 1945, at the age of 39. His books and letters from prison have had a huge impact on the church for decades and changed and challenged the discipleship of countless Christ-followers.
Bonhoeffer wrote from his prison cell to a young couple:
“Just as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man… It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”
Can that…no, will that be said of your union: “It is not your love that sustains your marriage, but your marriage that sustains your love” ?
I was blown away by the truth of his wisdom when I read that for the first time years ago.
His wisdom has not faded over time.