Archive for February 20th, 2010


Posted on 2010-02-20. Filed under: Questions, Thoughts |

Mawwiage is what brings us together today – that blessed event, that dream within a dream…

I’ll admit; I’m having doubts about marriage. Not mine personally but about the institution in general. Maybe they’re not so much doubts but questions. I’ve heard it said that if you can get past the first five years, then there’s a much better chance that you’ll “make it” but I’m not so sure. It seems to me that it’s as you approach the 15-year mark that things get really dicey. Perhaps every other week I hear about another person or couple that I know that is having a really rough time in their marriage or have separated or have already divorced since the last time I talked with them.

Having gone through this myself a couple of years ago, I feel sad for them. There’s a ton of feelings that you deal with as you go through it. I think it’s even worse to deal with after that many years of marriage than if you had divorced only after a couple of years because of all the history involved. Personally, I was with someone for nearly half of my life. That’s a loooong time. When you’ve been married that long, there’s a lot of shit to deal with. You have to be careful to separate the emotions and not ascribe hurts and disappointments that you underwent while with that person to that person just because you were with them while it was happening. People seem to often lose all civility when going through a separation or divorce. I personally felt the full brunt of a massive amount of hostility and am still dealing with it today. Just recently I was told I was a monster and it was done in such a way that I felt instantly dehumanized in the person’s eyes, as if I was some being of demonic mien. Someone once said in my life that of all people, Christians should be able to divorce or separate amicably because of their call to forgiveness and love but I haven’t seen that play out. Divorce should not be a contest to see who can get the most or hurt the other one the most.

What is the point of marriage? Is it to undergird society and give it structure? Is it a place to channel passions? Is it merely procreation – to create and rear the next generation behind us? I personally think it’s a place for you to let down your guard and to be vulnerable. It’s a place to lower the shields and the façades and be you. Spouses are meant to provide support to one another and to help build one another up in love – to encourage, to strengthen, to assuage, to comfort, and to heal. We all have weaknesses and shortcomings and it’s painful to see someone’s spouse dig into those places and target them painfully rather than cover them, bind them and succor them.

However, I don’t think you should be solely reliant on your spouse for that. If you lean too much on a single support, it will eventually falter and fail – perhaps, even break. God is also here for us, as are our family and friends, hopefully. When two people completely rely on one another for support, it’s very painful when one eventually fails the other. Because, they will. That’s normal. And that, to me, is codependency and unhealthy.

So, what does one do when failure becomes a constant pattern in the marriage? Or when failures have destroyed trust in one another or in the relationship itself? I think the impact of failures is highly determined by how much friendship exists amongst the couple outside of the marital relationship. Do they have something else to lean on while they repair the marital trust?

To paraphrase, Thomas à Kempis, it is better to experience a healthy marriage than to be able to define it. It is better to experience love and forgiveness than to be able to define it.

I seem to just be rambling but each time I hear about another couple going through a bumpy time, I relive my own journey. And I think back to one of my prevailing thoughts during that time: Forgiving is difficult. And sometimes it seems to be impossible, even though called we are to forgive. And if forgiveness is not in view, what then? That’s an important question for us all. Because if a relationship does not have forgiveness, it will not only grow stagnant and fetid but it will be toxic and poisoning to those involved – the very anathema of the intended purpose of marriage.

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