Well this week, I had planned to write a blog post that was titled “Just because he loves you does not mean you should marry him” – last week I wrote a post where the gist was that just because a man marries you does not mean that he loves you in the way that you should be entitled to expect – and then today’s post was going to say that even if someone did love you this way, that in itself does not mean you should marry them. So I guess in a way, it’s like you just can’t win. I am not after all going to write that post today, but just to avoid any confusion my point was going to be that as well as love, you also have to demand a certain level of responsibility and maturity from your husband or spouse etc – otherwise their “love” might simply prove too costly in your life.
However, over the course of the week, some thoughts occurred to me which are thankfully a little more positive about marriage in general and which I am so happy to be able to share with you all.
In short, I started thinking about a kind of overview or “schema” in thinking about marriage – which might hopefully make it easier to plan towards it, as well as look for the correct characteristics, and use this blog!
As the writer of this blog, sometimes I am just expressing my thoughts, sometimes there are some things that I am very confident about, other things I feel totally clueless about. Either way, I have often been conscious that the format of information or thoughts in this blog has not really been structured into a format that others might find easy to use – but I’m hoping that that will change! I still don’t know everything of course, I hope it is not true to say that I don’t know anything, although that is sometimes my fear…
So my thoughts were to think of the basic parts of marriage that fit together, and how they fit together, and to think of what would constitute excellence in each of the individual parts, and also in how they fit together, to see how the whole marriage could be improved. I hope then that this would also be of use to married couples – unless you probably all know this already! That is, you don’t necessarily have to agree with any of my own top criteria or necessary characteristics for each area, or even what the different aspects of marriage are, but perhaps it might be useful to think in terms of a general overview, and consider how you might work on each thing…
What I was thinking over the week is that a marriage is like a human body in that it has lots of interconnected parts and processes which all mysteriously work together to produce this whole thing, a body. Thinking of an actual human body you have the internal organs such as the heart, the brain, the lungs, the kidneys. Then you also have the limbs such as the hands and the legs and the feet which accomplish action. Then you also have the sense organs – eyes, ears etc – and obviously so many other things in an actual human body. There is a complex interplay between each of these aspects which all work in sync to make the whole thing beautiful. Each of these parts can be more or less healthy, which could affect the working of the whole body. These processes all work together, but they also all impact on one another. That means, for instance, if there is a limited amount of nutrients available for your body, and you invest 50% of your calcium into your hair, then that means that there is going to be less calcium available for your bones to help you move around properly, or for your teeth to help you eat and speak.
Sometimes, there will be a fatal malfunction in one of these parts which will stop the action not only of the specific body part concerned, but could even cause the whole body to stop working, resulting in death.
I think that there are many parallels between this and marriage. I can never get my head around the complexity of the human body (or any animal body, admittedly – however the human body is the one that literally surrounds me 24-7, so that is the one that I see to marvel at most!) – and the Bible calls marriage a mystery.
So now the challenge for me, and for anyone reading this, who can agree with this analogy or this metaphor, or even just the thought of the parts generally, is to try to work out what the main parts of marriage are and how to best promote health in each individual part, and in the whole unit of marriage.
As someone looking into marriage from the outside, whenever people talk about “working on their marriage”, that has always seemed so mysterious to me – I’ve always wondered just how they were going to do this – were they going to make an effort to be nicer to one another? This has always seemed to be what it “boiled down to”. And Christian women (in failing marriages) always seem to be encouraged to submit more to the leadership of their husbands, to lavish them with respect and to do everything necessary to make them happy. However, that has never rung true with me. I do think that all this is necessary in marriage, and I hope that my “whoever-he-will-be” husband knows that despite all my questions about marital submission I definitely plan to do this – that is why I am so careful about finding someone I can submit to! However, I have never really understood how this could save a failing marriage, or how it could rectify any serious structural weakness. Applying it to myself and the thought of a future marriage, I have always wondered how I would work on my marriage, if the need arose -would I be more open about my thoughts etc? However, I hope that the thoughts expressed in this post can act as a little blueprint for me and possibly for others in having a practical way to think about the different parts of marriage and practical actions to take to improve each of the different parts and the whole thing.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—