Measuring Marriage

How does one determine the value of a marriage?

Is it what it does? If so, what is a marriage supposed to do? 

Is marriage intended to provide a supportive function? Supportive of what, and how? Is there a way to prevent its supportive function from becoming one person’s crutch to the detriment of the other?

Is marriage a promise to stay with this one person, come hell or high water? When marriage starts to feel like hell, is it interpersonally healthy to accept eternal punishment for another’s failings?

What do you do when your family functions better apart than it does together? 

These are some of the many questions on my mind this morning. I’m sure that you, my dear readers, have your own answers to these questions… however, I’m going to ask you to refrain from giving me your advice. Because, I know that I have to answer these questions for myself, and then again with my Woodsman. Your answers can’t be our answers, because our marriage is not your marriage.

As an individual, I’ve grown into being far more process orientated than goal oriented. When first married, I was completely goal oriented. Getting married and settling down was a life goal for me. Yay me, I got married! Now what?

Have kids! Buy a house!

Done and done.

Now what?

Live a life of learning, growing and loving each other. 

Great. How do two very different people do that together? How long do you wait for the other partner to actively get on board? How long do you endure a marriage that is souring into toxic waste in the meantime?

How long?

Until death?!?

What happens when one or both of you start to feel like they are dying inside?

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18 thoughts on “Measuring Marriage

    1. I LOVE Thomas’s “The Sacred Marriage”. I’ve digested nearly every book available on Christian marriage, and a myriad of secular ones… but it always comes down to the fact that while I’m willing to change (and have), it takes two.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. These are good questions. I get married in 5 days!

    I know where we stand (and I am happy to say we’ve addressed these things over the last 10(!!) years) but like you said – every marriage is different.

    I do hope that you find your way xx

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  2. “is it interpersonally healthy to accept eternal punishment for another’s failings?”

    Hi Kristen

    Just some thoughts and I hope they encourage you in this. I don’t really just scream this from the hilltops, as it’s not something that makes me proud. I am married for going on ten years now, but it is not my first. For many reasons, after almost twenty five years, my first marriage failed.

    Will I be eternally punished for that? Well, no…as that sin(and I do believe it was one), is forgiven along all of my others due tot the work of Jesus Christ.

    Is divorce counter to God wishes? Yeah, it is. But, certainly not unforgivable at all

    I read your struggles and pray every day for you, as I do hope you can make this work. But all the best either way.

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    1. Thank you for sharing that with me, Wally. I appreciate your humble transparency!

      I know that, whatever I decide to do in my marriage, Jesus offers forgiveness to the repentant heart. No doubt in my mind that I won’t be carrying my sins into the afterlife!

      I chose that phrasing to reflect that the prospect of living in a dead marriage until one of us dies, might as well be an eternity in hell, lol! It would feel like an eternal punishment;)

      I’ve read so many different perspectives on Christian marriage the past few years. To be honest, I do not know of one happily married couple that have been together for more than 5 years. All the decade and above marriages I know of make me scared for my future! They do not show love for each other, but rather disdain. One can almost sense the chasm that stretches between them. What if that’s where my own marriage is headed? What can I do to change course? To stay together for the sake of the appearance of maintaining one’s vows is utterly distasteful to me. Personally.

      Then, there is the fact that I come from at least three consecutive generations of divorce (matrilineally) . I’d be the fourth. That’s not what I want either…

      I’ve held this in prayer for so very long… I’ve hung in there through some real shite. But, to what end, I wonder?

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      1. Well, I am glad you cleared up that first part. I worry about that, as some people would teach that divorce is unpardonable, and it’s damaging for sure.

        Kristen, I sure can’t offer any good counsel on all of this really. After almost 10 years we are quite happy honestly, because we both made changes in ourselves we did not do in our first marriages. I didn’t believe in God at all back then, and she was not living as a wife the way God would have liked, either. We were quite the blend LOL. I had two grown children and a grandchild, and she had two 10, and 6. So I go to raise a whole new family! My point is, it has not been easy sometimes for us.

        Now, if I was talking to your husband I would probably have much more to offer honestly. I don’t know him, or his beliefs, or anything, but I sort of understand my role in things better than my wifes, if that makes sense. God is teaching me how to be a husband, not a wife. I do truly believe that it has to start with us in so many ways. Starting with us simply being Godly men. Seems simply, but I vouch for it. I was not for 45 years and became a Christian before the second one. I was a crappy husband to my first wife. I didn’t understand what true love was until I loved Jesus.

        So, I would have piles of things to say you your husband if we were hanging out, not as much to you.

        Multi generational divorce huh? Well, I have you beat, I am only the third generation LOL. Seriously, though, it’s legacy that is hard to end, and how wonderful if you could end it. How does a person learn to be a husband or wife, when the people who were supposed to teach them were crummy husbands and wives?

        I’m going to like below to a post I wrote about church discipline and restoration. It’s actually about us, and a crisis we had that almost ended things. It’s not advice, just a story.

        https://truthinpalmyra.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/great-questions-in-the-bible-lord-how-many-times-shall-i-forgive-my-brother-or-sister-who-sins-against-me-church-discipline-a-story-of-restoration/

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      2. Are we long lost sisters??? Same here on the generations of divorces. Mom and Dad were both married 3x, grandparents on my dad’s side and great grandparents on his side also were married 3x. Personally, I would’ve stopped after 1. If divorce is in my future, so is singleness. It’s my personal preference because marriage is stressful.

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      3. Rofl!! We must be!!!

        I secretly snicker when I see Christians on the internet arguing over what Jesus meant in His teachings on divorce and remarriage. Pfffft… if this marriage ends in divorce, I’m done with marriage forever. Once per lifetime is more than enough marriage for me!!

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      4. I never ever feel lonely when I’m alone. You know when I experience feelings of loneliness? When I’m surrounded by superficial people that do not know how to love, and do not care to learn how. There are far too many of those kind of people (the fake nice ones…. blech) in the world:-/

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      5. Oh I totally agree. I don’t feel lonely either. It’s hardest for me when my husband says we are gonna spend time together and then I’m sitting there waiting for it to happen because something always takes precedence. I don’t bother asking anymore and I’m also finding that I don’t wait around for him either. If he’s gonna show up late from work or go back on his plan, I just make my own.

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      6. I don’t know how you do it though… in your marriage, I mean. My own marital issues stem from differences in communication styles, not necessarily effort on either of our parts. I think we are equally committed to growing our marriage, we just have very different ways of living that out

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      7. I don’t know either. I don’t think he thinks he isn’t making an effort but it seems like that to me. When you don’t want to get counseling or read any books, how are you making an effort?? He thinks he can fix it himself I guess because so far that’s worked splendidly. If I had the means to part ways, I would but I’m sort of stuck and if I think about that, I get depressed honestly.

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      8. Here’s something to consider doing…. find a marriage counselor, make an appointment, tell him you’d like him to come. Leave the option up to him. Go yourself if you need to. What most people don’t realize is that marriage counselor help couples contemplate when it’s appropriate to separate or even end the marriage. Having an outside perspective from someone well versed in marital and relationship dynamics can help immensely. Even if it can’t save the marriage, it can help you find a way through what is and towards what it is that you need. I’ve done it myself, and I found it very helpful to have someone supportive and knowledgeable to bounce things off of.

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  3. I like that you say that about marriage. It’s your marriage to fix not our marriage. I feel that way too. That’s why some people can go back to a spouse that cheated on them over and over and they can heal and make it work while others can’t deal with that and walk away. It’s easy to stand there in your perfect marriage, or so one thinks, and judge something they know nothing about. It’s why I can’t relate to most Christians in their pristine lives. I wish more people were honest instead of pretending it’s a fairy tale

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