Happy New Year. I've been thinking about the topic of marriage for some time now. Maybe it is all the princess themed movies that Emma insists on watching. Although we all enjoy the idea of a good love story, happily every after is not a reality for so many. Here is something to think about along with all the other new year's resolutions. If you are married, are you happy? Read on to see my attempt at communicating the feelings of two very different couples. My very own novel will be out in 2062. In the meantime, entertainment from the blog will have to suffice.
His hand brushed hers as they walked side by side. The touch of his skin against hers sent shivers of excitement tingling up her arm. She quickly glanced at him to see if the touch was accidental or a purposeful way to be closer to her. The glint of mischief in his eye as he looked at her told her he wanted to be as near to her as possible and more. He grasped her hand, intwining his fingers with hers and leaned into her side to whispered in her ear, "You're so beautiful." The simple compliment sent her heart fluttering and a smile spread across her face in pure delight. She gazed at him and in an instant she felt new love all over again for the man she'd fallen for so many years ago; before he'd stood by her through the best and worst of times; before he'd provided a home for her and been the father to her children. Now his touch was more than just a tingling of sweet delight, it was a promise of the commitment unfolding into a fulfilling life together.
A happy marriage is designed to bring a man and woman deep satisfaction and joy. God designed it that way as stated in Scripture. There are many more passaged than these, but here is a little of what the Bible has to say about relationships:
"But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother to be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Mark 10:6-10 NIV
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angers, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The adverse is unfortunately true as well; an unhappy marriage is miserable and trying, hurtful, and hateful because both parties make mistakes that hurt the other person.
"Unless the Lord builds the house (the marriage), its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat for he grants sleep to those he loves. Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate." Psalm 127
"How could you do this to me?" She yelled with all the deepest anger she possessed. She wanted her look of hatred to nail him in that spot, to make him understand how badly he'd hurt her. Instead he yelled back increasingly cruel things. She started to sob deeply and she wished her tears would make him realize, but her anguish seemed to make it worse and he pounded his fist against the kitchen counter with rage he couldn't express any other way. He stormed out of the room and everything in her wanted to chase after him and pummel him with her fists and make him feel pain physically, as irrational as it was, her hurt was so deep. Instead, she heard him thunder out of the house and leave with a roar of an engine as he sped away into a dark night. She felt utterly alone. All her anguish came pouring out in tears that did nothing to lessen the pain. He wouldn't be back for many hours. They'd been down this path before and nothing was resolved and nothing ever changer. Even though they would both calm down, he wouldn't be there to hold her close and say, "I'm sorry, I understand." When was the last time he'd held her close? If he wouldn't say "I'm sorry," then neither would she. She called him every awful name she could think of in her head, ruminating over every time he'd been wrong. His sins grew and grew until all she felt was resentment. Her heart, once filled with love for this man, now filled with hatred.
I recently heard about a friend I grew up with who is now divorced from her husband. I thought back to her wedding and the beautiful day. Of course the bride and groom were dressed in their finest and they proudly proclaimed their love and commitment to one another as the crowd watched. There was a photographer who captured their happiness. Those pictures were precious to the bride when she excitedly showed them to me after the wedding and honeymoon. Years happened in between and I lost touch with this friend. Now that they are divorced, I imagine the pictures from their wedding day were tossed out like last weeks trash.
The tragedy of a broken marriage makes me wonder what happened from the happy couple on their wedding day to the hatred and bitterness in story B. It doesn't happen over night; Two happy and content people do not wake up and decide to be hurtful to the other person and thus destroy their love. No, they want to spend every moment with one another, soaking up every precious moment together... forever. So what transpired between the deepest of love to a heart filled with hatred for the one they married?
What is your opinion? You don't have to be married to answer this question because married or single, we know someone personally who is divorced; someone who took the journey from happiness to devastation. I don't pretend to be an expert on marriage, but I understand the emotions portrayed in both stories A and B. I've lived unhappily in my marriage and felt disappointment. I've also known happiness and satisfaction and the day to day blessings of being married -- and all to the same man. I'll be writing more about this because I think it is such an important topic. It is often ignored until we hear about another good Christian couple who is getting divorced and we say, "How did that happen? They were so happy." Something happened in between and behind closed doors from one day to the next and the next. My prayer is that people could have strong and happy marriages and maybe, just maybe, by examining the causes, we can prevent the devastation.