Today I'm praying extra hard for all the people I know who are at odds with one another in their marriages. Too many of us live as if the initial rush of passion and a few well-parsed wedding vows should be enough to carry us through the next fifty years or so, with no further maintenance required. But that's lunacy!
The variety and the intensity of the variables that come into play (almost immediately) is mind-boggling. Here are just a few:
Mortgages; your entire life prior to the marriage; children; work commitments; car-payments; personal tastes; perceived needs; previous friends/relationships; credit problems; education; dreams; mismatched priorities; children; short-term goals; health issues; politics; leisure time choices; long-term goals; mental health; children; scheduling; in-laws; family in general; unemployment; alcohol; children.... And that's just the beginning.
All this, and more... and the standard responses coming from so many married people run something like this:
- "Things will work out by themselves..."
- "She should know I love her; why should I have to keep saying it?"
- "It's really more about the children right now..."
- "If he really loved me he wouldn't have to ask what's wrong..."
- "We don't have the time to date - we'll take care of it later..."
- "If we spend $500 on five counseling sessions we won't be able to get that new TV..."
- "I hadn't counted on it being this hard..."
- "It shouldn't have to be this much work..."
So we'll dedicate an entire weekend to yard work... but leave the most important part of our lives untended. Or fail to be honest with our spouse when they hurt us... then talk about it incessantly with our co-workers the next day. How about this - We bend over backwards to get our vehicles in for various check-ups, change the oil, rotate the tires... but look back at a marriage after 12 years of neglect and say, "What happened? I can't understand how we drifted apart?"
There's an important chapter in my book, GET REAL, where I talk openly about my own culpability in that regard. The chapter title is "Honest to God", and - while I only scratch the surface of my personal issues - it's very much a "half-shell" level revelation. I recommend it, for both women and men.
Meanwhile, learn more about serving tea. It's in another chapter, but I might just paste some of the content in this space later this week.
Ultimately I'm talking about mutual submission here. Come on, people, live like Jesus; be the presence of Christ to and for one another. Love like you mean it.
Peace - and I mean that - DEREK