Sunday, February 26, 2012

Great Marriages Take Time!


It isn’t that our marriages are good or bad – they just are.  We grow numb toward each other by the monotonous drone of the routine in our relationship.

Kathleen and Thomas Hart put it this way: “Marriage is a long walk two people take together. Sometimes the terrain is very interesting, sometimes rather dull. At times the walk is arduous for both persons or for one. Sometimes the conversation is lively; at other times, there is not much to say. The travelers do not know exactly where they are going, nor when they will arrive.” Sometimes this numbing effect of “sameness” is due to the fact that this walk is longer for us than it was for our ancestors.

In past centuries, many marriages were cut short because women frequently died during childbirth. Men didn’t live as long as they do today, either. In 1870, a woman couldn’t count on her husband still being alive by the time their youngest child left home. In 1911, the average length of marriage was twenty-eight years; by 1967, it had risen to forty-two years. Today with medical advances and increasing life expectancy, more couples reaching their sixtieth or even seventieth wedding anniversary!

This relatively new phenomenon of being married for six or seven decades can pay rich dividends for our character development and spiritual lives. Marriage helps us to develop the character of God himself as we stick with our spouses through the good times and the bad. The spiritual meaning of marriage is found in persevering and maintaining that history together.

Generally speaking, it takes a decade for a couple to truly "create and form its being". When couples break up after just three or four years, they haven't even begun to experience what being married is really like. It's like climbing halfway up a mountain but never getting to the top to see the sights. You're in the middle of the quest, your consumed with the struggle, but it's much too soon to experience the full rewards. Assessing your marriage too soon is like expecting a baby to run a marathon. Becoming one with your spouse - in the deepest, most intimate sense - takes time. It's a journey through the good and the bad...and it never really ends. But if you will hang in there and persevere, the reward will be a deeper love for one another than you can ever possibly imagine!


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