Marriage Still Works!
In the few days since the initiating post was released, as it turns out many people besides myself (and from various backgrounds) felt called to respond…
- 5 reasons we CAN handle marriage – A church – Wells Branch Community Church
- Marriage Doesn’t Work If You’re A Narcissist – A Christian blogger – Matt Walsh
- Why The ‘5 Reasons We Can’t Handle Marriage Anymore’ Are Nonsense – A secular humanist blogger – James Sama
Clearly the original post has resonated with fans and skeptics. The original poster seems to have articulated the feelings and mindset of an entire category of people. …at the same time, countless others are up in arms over his post.
I’m not sure where I fall, but I certainly have many thoughts. So let’s continue where we left off.
#3 | Communicate Through Technology Properly
“We’re more connected than ever before, but completely disconnected at the same time.” – Original Post”
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…text messages, email, and Facebook messages are mostly a terrible form of communication. They’re useful for passing along facts and information, but they fail utterly at true communication.
I’m sure you’ve heard the studies about how 93% of in person communication is non-verbal. Experts say that only 7% of communication is in the actual words that you use. Now, I’m skeptical of all studies like this. I don’t want to make too much of the specific percentages, but the people who study communication put an enormous amount of weight on forms of communication besides the specific words that we use.
Now stop and consider media based communication…
- Text messages…words
- Facebook messages…words
The sender can’t attach a tone to their words.
The sender can’t include a cadence for the words.
The sender can’t send facial expressions with the words.
Therefore, the recipient assumes the tone, cadence, and facial expressions of the sender. Usually this isn’t a problem. But when it goes badly, it can go really really badly.
There are two sides to text based miscommunications:
- Sender sends a emotionally charged message using only text.
- Receiver reads an emotion into a message which did not contain that emotion.
The more emotionally charged a subject, the more important it is to have a more personal form of communication. If you’re angry with your spouse, text message is a horrible method of communication. If you’re frustrated with your spouse, don’t read that emotion into every text message they send you.
When you’re in a moment of frustration, it’s easy to send a text message….DON’T! (I say this from experience).
Text based forms of communication can be great for being encouraging or passing along facts. But be extremely careful with anything beyond that.
#4 | Love Your Spouse More Than You Desire Attention
“Our desire for attention outweighs our desire to be loved.” – Original post”
If you believe marriage is all about what you get, you fundamentally misunderstand love!
Marriage is based on commitment and love. I think there’s a good reason that most people read 1 Corinthians 13 at their wedding. It’s a great description of true love. Not true love in the romanticized Hollywood sense. True love in the gritty, messy, real life sense. The version which is hard and demands something of me. The version which requires me to care more about someone else’s happiness than my own. A love which gains more pleasure from seeing someone else happy than getting what I want.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 [mildly restructured and paraphrased]
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love is not proud.
Love does not dishonor others.
Love is not self-seeking.
Love is not easily angered.
Love keeps no record of wrongs
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects.
Love always trusts.
Love always hopes.
Love always perseveres.
Love never fails.“
In your vows, you almost certainly vowed to love your spouse. That vow was a commitment to the list above. REGARDLESS of their performance, YOU VOWED TO LOVE!
If everyone married stopped to consider that LOVE is about what you offer rather than what you receive, the divorce rate would collapse.
But that’s the problem.
- People want to be loved, but they don’t want to love.
- People want to receive, but they don’t want to give.
- People want to served, but they don’t want to serve.
- People want to be given attention, but they don’t give attention.
Marriages are healthiest when both people are competing with each other to bring the other person the most joy.
When one or both people in a marriage view their own pleasure as the ultimate priority, the marriage is in trouble.
#5 | Turn Off Your Cell Phone!
“Social media just invited a few thousand people to bed with you” – Original Poster”
I was raised with technology. My dad worked in the computer industry. So I’ve been raised around and on computers. We were early adopters of America Online back in the early mid-90’s. There’s a message board I’ve been posting on consistently for 12 years now, and I’ve literally met dozens of people from that website in person (maybe I shouldn’t admit that). Honestly, I’m never bored if I have technology.
The problem is that there is no replacement for face to face communication.
- You must learn to put your cell phone down for a period of time.
- You must learn to close your lap top.
- You must learn to interact face to face with your spouse.
If you don’t know how to do that, “YOU MUST LEARN.” It’s not an option. You must both value spending face to face time with your spouse, and you must know how to have face to face time.
When does your family turn the technology off?
There’s no doubt that the 21st century has brought it’s own unique struggles to the realm of marriage, but still, marriage still works!
The problem isn’t with marriage. The problem is with our way of thinking.
The recurring message of culture is that we must live for our own satisfaction. A few years back the local high school’s graduating class chose, “Live for yourself” as their class motto. I was both shocked and unfazed at the same time. My mind was truly split on the matter. Simultaneously I could not believe they would choose something so narcissistic, but I also knew this lined up perfectly with the message they keep receiving fromm culture. My heart was broken, but my brain saw it coming a mile away.
There are two verses which can radically transform your life and your marriage if you put them into affect.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.“
The pattern of this world is selfishness!
The pattern of this world is using people!
The pattern of this world is lack of commitment!
The pattern of this world is all about now rather than eternity!
The pattern of this world is all about getting now rather than saving for later!
Do not be conformed to this world’s view of marriage, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, and base your relationship with your spouse on a different principle.
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.“
Instead of continually expecting to GET from your spouse, spend your effort GIVING to your spouse! They aren’t here to serve you. You are here to serve them.
As a Christian, I believe a relationship with Christ is the ultimate foundation for an amazing marriage. But even if you remove the spiritual and religious aspects of marriage, practically speaking I think we all would agree that it’s better to live selflessly than selfishly. We respect those who serve others. We look up to those who give to others.
You can’t control the actions of your spouse, but you can choose what kind of spouse you will be.
- You can choose to pursue your spouse romantically.
- You can choose to pursue your spouse sexually.
- You can choose to live modestly.
- You can choose to live responsibly financially.
- You can choose to choose to communicate effectively.
- You can choose to offer love freely.
- You can choose to prioritize your loving your spouse daily.
- You can choose to turn your cell phone off frequently.
- You can choose to live for others consistently.
Others first living is the secret to a marriage that makes it!
Marriage still works!
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS MOST IMPORTANT TO KEEPING A HEALTHY MARRIAGE? COMMENT BELOW!