Our culture values outer beauty over inner character, youth over experience, the passionate moment of sex over sustained intimacy & friendship.
Books, movies, magazines, popular music – all preach this message boldly. It’s a cultural worldview which we've unthinkingly accepted without questioning the destination it takes us too. What happens when the music fades – where do we look for answers in a society which is running blindly up the wrong alley with it's fingers firmly in it's ears?
Marriage relationships are hard work. They don't just flourish on their own. There is so much pressure to contend with from the worldview expressed above, notwithstanding our own ability to blow it - in all the marriages we've explored in counselling, most pressures have been entirely self imposed. The joy of being together can so quickly turn to disappointment as reality bites. So many of your high Hollywood expectations will get crushed by gritty reality.
‘He’s not the man I thought he was’...... ‘He’s so chauvinistic, so self centred, so emotionally stunted’..... ‘He should have married his mother if that’s what he wanted!’
‘She’s so critical all the time, she never thinks about my needs......it’s all about the children now.....she’s really let herself go...’
Maybe for you it's not that kind of deep crisis. Perhaps you have just settled together into ‘same old, same old’ every day, week, month, year routines; Taking each other for granted in what have become boring, unadventurous lives.
Was that what we really set out for when we stood with such high hopes at the alter? Is it just a question of lowering the bar of our expectations & hoping not to be too disappointed? I for one was hoping for something a little more exhilarating than that! So - to quote George Benson at his finest - 'How do we keep the music playing, how do we make it last?'
There is a love, a covenant promise love which can begin to change us so utterly. This is a deeper love which overwhelms us & begins to set us free to love with the same generous, passionate abandonment with which we ourselves have been loved.
Where do we find such a unique kind of love? It is exclusively available to us in Jesus Christ, the one who loves us in the mess of our lives so much that He came to roll up his sleeves & redeem us. If we husbands are to love our wives as Christ loves the church – If you wives are to joyfully submit to such releasing, affirming Christ like love – then this kind of love in action would begin to change everything.
Maybe the hopes we once held which have been buried under life & all it's traumas can be rediscovered in the light of such a love? Maybe there is hope that we can break out of tired, settled or downright unhelpful habits in the face of such a relentless passion? Maybe there is an opportunity to leave our past hurts, our disappointments, & even the stronghold of our culture behind in the slipstream of such a forceful love?