The other night I had a disturbing dream. I don’t have many disturbing dreams, but this one shook me to my core.
In my dream, my wife and I were separate…and she initiated it! She seemed to have little interest in being around me, and asked me not to contact her. Her indifference toward me was beyond painful, and it was clear that her indifference towards me was going to end our marriage. But that was not the most disturbing part of the dream.
As a Teaching and Counseling Pastor, I come across marriages of all shapes, sizes, ages, and stages.
There are those in the very beginning of their marriage. They have no kids, all the time in the world, and life is just one long extended date. But then there are those who’s marriage is down the road a bit. They are in the throes of raising children, battling time demands, and often living more like like room mates than spouses.
I see some who are deeply in love, while others are so distant they’re thinking of getting out. Some started their relationship officially with an elaborate and well coordinated wedding ceremony, while others had no wedding ceremony at all. They just began living together and have continued down that same ambiguous track.
In the face of all of this diversity, I find myself asking questions like…
Expectations. We all have expectations before we get married. We have expectations about what marriage will be like. We have expectations about how our spouse will act. We have expectations that tend to become the standard by which we measure and evaluate the quality of our marriage. We expect things like…
When I hear the word “gravity,” I think of different things. I think of an apple falling on Newton’s head. I think of the John Mayer song, “Gravity.” I think of giant pieces of space junk falling from the sky and wiping out my house…and my homeowners insurance refusing to cover it.
But I don’t usually think of marriage when I hear the word, “gravity.” What does gravity have to do with marriage any way…aside from the fact it bears down on all of us, causing us to shrink and sag?
The other day, I was cleaning out some files and came across a poem, written by a divorced mom on behalf of her two children. The poem had no title, so I’ve given it the title: “My Daddy Doesn’t Live Here.” It’s heartbreaking to read, but it’s a good reminder of how divorce affects kids.
Did I marry “the right one?” There can be times in marriage when that question races across your mind like a streaker running across a football field. It can happen when you’re having that same old fight for the umpteenth time. It can happen when the two of you disagree on what’s fun and what’s boring. It can happen when your goals for the future don’t line up. It can happen when the differences between you and your spouse has you grinding your teeth.
It’s during these out-of-sync-times that spouses begin to wonder, “Did I marry the right one?” For some couples, the longer they’re married the more the question pops up. They try to beat the question back, as if they were playing a game of marital whack-a-mole, but no matter what they do, the question keeps coming up.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of marriage. I’m like the person who finds a reason to root for their favorite team, even if their team isn’t doing so well.
But many of the people who come to my office thinking about divorce can’t find a reason to root for the team. They can’t find a reason to stay together.
It’s difficult to find a reason to stay married when your feeling the accumulation of hurt, neglect, anger, betrayal, and general ill will. But I encourage couples to look hard to find a reason to stay together.
I heard an interview the other day with a doctor who had gone to Syria to take care of children caught in the war there. The doctor spoke of children and families being torn apart, physically, emotionally and relationally by the on-going war. There may be times when war is unavoidable, but it’s never good.
Did you ever do any school lunch trading when you were a kid? You know…you look in the lunch bag your mom packed and you find something you really don’t want. Something you would like to trade for something else.
Marriage can be that way. A few years into your marriage, you can find things in the marriage bag you didn’t really want. Things you wish you could trade for something else.
“Cars. Dishwashers. Houses. Televisions. Phones. These eventually beg the question, “Should I fix the one I’ve got or get a new one?” It’s not always clear, and often we make more of an emotional decision than a rational decision. If we really want something new, we can always find the rationale for it. “There’s too many miles on this one.” “It doesn’t clean like it used to.” “It doesn’t have all the features I want.” “It’s not as sharp as it used to be.” “It doesn’t respond like it used to.”