But Jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Matthew 19:11 (MSG)
On Sunday night, after a long day and a trip to Des Moines, Wendy and I returned home and got into an argument. Little arguments pop up on any given day. They come and go like a cloudburst on a warm summer afternoon; They quickly emerge out of nowhere and are just as quickly forgotten. Then there are the arguments that build like a perfect storm and you unexpectedly find yourselves embroiled in a conversation that runs deep into the heart of who you are as individuals, and who you are together as a couple. The storm raged back and forth until after midnight on Sunday as we navigated our way through the tossing waves of intention, thought, emotion, notion and behavior.
Wendy and I don’t just have a good marriage, we have a great marriage. And still, at times, it’s really difficult to wade through the muck that’s created when two selfish, sinful human beings get together. We’re both good communicators and we still find it difficult at times to navigate the relational mine field of marriage.
I’ve lived through the long struggle and pain of a failed marriage. I’ve now experienced the blessing of a truly great marriage relationship. Through it all, I’ve come to better understand and truly believe Jesus’ words about marriage. We live in a culture dedicated to exactly the opposite of Jesus’ teaching: everyone should get married, and if you don’t there’s something wrong with you. That’s a huge load of b.s. We might publicly shout “amen” to Jesus’ words, but in practice we run to on-line dating services, play matchmaker to our unmarried friends and family, and secretly wonder “I wonder why he/she is still not married” as if being single is abnormal.
Marriage isn’t for everyone. Many people are better off single. We shake our heads in disgust at the divorce rate in our culture. Yet, aren’t we to blame when we treat marriage as a relational idol, bowing to the notion that marriage is to be honored without question even when the individuals getting married are setting sail into a perfect relational storm inside a dinghy that looks like swiss cheese? Are we to blame for the divorce rate when we treat singleness as a cultural disease and make single people feel second rate? How many failed marriages begin with desperate individuals jumping at any chance to have a wedding and get married?
I’ll step off my soap box now.