Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Marriage Debacle

I’ve recently become more concerned with the state of marriage.  I recently spoke with a friend whose story is devastating.  Two marriages plus two divorces equal one giant train wreck.  Of course there are good memories and great kids involved, but the sum of the marriages has taken its toll.  Grief, pain, and no desire to ever marry again.
As a pastor I’m privy to a few more stories of broken relationships – not that we all don’t know enough of them.  But I have to say I’m stunned that so many people have rotten marriages.  So many couples so genuinely unhappy, even loathing one another.
From my perspective, most of the time, men, it comes down to us.  Some of the things we do have selfishness written all over it.  Your responsibility is not being the financial provider.  Sure, most of the time you bring in more money than your wife (whether or not she works outside the home) which enables a family to survive.  But you are designed to be far more than a bank.
No, our spouses are not perfect – except mine of course.  They’re sinful too.  But most wives are the anchors of their households.  Dissecting the communities I’ve lived in, I’ve found that women are typically the spiritual leaders, the more involved parent, and the harder worker between 7am & 10pm.
All these little girls who grow up wanting to be princesses, having desires to be swept off their feet – end up marrying men who slowly develop enormous sticks in their backsides – forgive that crass picture.  It’s as if the qualification to be voted man the man of the year is to be somewhat involved, to not yell at their wife, and to throw in the occasional load of laundry.  Wow, how is it that we dare to use phrases such as “the sanctity of marriage” when this is the reality in so many marriages.

I’d love to write a full chapter on this topic, but a simple post is all I have time for.  So here’s a practical suggestion.  Dr. Emerson Eggerichs wrote a book called “Love & Respect.”  I’m half way through and there are some good points.  Here’s one:  though they may not deserve it, men need to hear that they are respected.  Yeah women love their husbands – even the worst of them.  But it can smack of “I’m just putting up with you.”  You love your dog and coffee too.  Men need to hear how they have value – the things they do or have historically done that demonstrate character.  Women may have to dig really deep to find it – or to look in the past for it.  But it’s there!
On the flip side, Eggerichs says men need to understand that deep down your wife doesn’t despise you and that if you feel disrespected, to articulate it.  You’ll need to step in faith to apologize, express in kind your love and respect to your wife, and to act selflessly.

OK, that should fix everything right?

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