What Makes a Good Marriage Story – Part 2: The Author

(The posts in this series have been adapted from the “Relentless Love” marriage seminar, created and taught by David McKinley and Bret Legg at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, TX.)

What story title would best describes the story of your marriage? Would it be Gone With the Wind? Love Story? The Big ChillAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? Maybe you can think of another story title that would best describe your marriage.

As I said in the last post, your marriage is a story. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Your marriage also has all the elements that make up a good story. It has an author, characters, a guide, obstacles, and an outcome based on the characters’ responses.

If you want to understand the story of your marriage, you need to start by looking at the author of your story.

An author is someone who conceives, crafts, and conducts a story. There would be no story without an author. There would be no Gone with the Wind without Margaret Mitchell, no Mary Poppins without P. L. Travers, and no Jaws without Peter Benchly.

The author determines the type of story that will be told. If the author is Stephen King, the story will probably be a scary story. If the author is Agatha Christie, the story will probably be a mystery. If the author is Theodore Seuss Geisel, the story will probably be a children’s story.

The author also shapes the characters in the story, orchestrates the obstacles and plot twists, and guides the characters toward an end result. When it comes to a story, everything begins and ends with the author.

The same is true for your marriage story. It may sound strange, but every marriage has an author who decides what the story will look like and where it will go.

The author of your marriage story might be…

  • You. When you’re the author of your marriage story, then your marriage is all about what you want.
  • Peers. When peers are the author of your marriage story, then your marriage is all about looking like your friends’ marriage.
  • Culture. When culture is the author of your marriage story, then your marriage is shaped and shifted by the latest trends and philosophies.
  • Fate. When fate is the author of your marriage story, then your marriage is uncertain, up-for-grabs, and dependent on unforeseen circumstances.

These are not good authors for your marriage story, because they tend to create shaky and uncertain stories. These authors put themselves ahead of the story and force the story to serve them, rather than give themselves up to serve the story.

After thirty-five years of marriage, I have a personal opinion on who should author your marriage story. Let me say up front that my perspective is a faith based perspective, but even if you don’t consider yourself a “religious person” I hope you will at least give it the same consideration as you would any other option.

I think you should at least consider God as the author of your marriage story. I know you can’t see Him, and you might not believe He’s there, but is that any different from any other story? The characters in a story never see the author, nor are they aware of the author. They go through the story as if there is no author and the story is all about them. Is it possible that the same could be true in your marriage? Is it possible that there could be an unseen author who desires to write your marriage story?

You may be thinking, “If God is the author of my marriage story, why does He allow me to go through such struggles? Why doesn’t He just re-write the story to make it smoother and easier?” But is that what a good author does?

When Frank L Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, he didn’t do away with the flying monkeys or the Wicked Witch of the West. He left them in the story. When H. G. Wells wrote 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, he didn’t make Captain Nemo more lovable or do away with the attack of the giant squid. He left them in the story.

A good author doesn’t prevent his characters from going through difficulties. Instead, a good author will allow the characters to experience trials and difficulties and use those experiences as change agents to grow and develop the characters so they are deeper and richer in the end. A good author sees the larger story and uses a characters’ trials to improve the characters and the story. This is what He wants to do for you and I.

If the biblical account is correct, and God is the Conceiver and Creator of marriage, then who better to author your marriage story?

The point is…every good story begins and ends with an author, and when it comes to your marriage, someone or something is going to be the author of your marriage story. The question is…who are you choosing to trust to author your marriage story?

This week, think about who is currently the author of your marriage story. Are you trying to author the story yourself? Are you looking to friends, family, or culture to tell you how the story should go? Are you looking to God to author your marriage story, or are you leaving it to chance and fate? After asking yourself who is currently authoring your marriage story, then ask yourself whether that needs to change.

Copyright © 2016 Bret Legg

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