Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Self-Reminder for My Marriage

I read an article this morning (full article is here) about a woman who sought a divorce after 15+ years of marriage. While I was reading it, some key ideas and feelings of this woman stood out to me and made me take note, because I want to make sure that Amanda never feels that way, or at least very rarely. Her key ideas/feelings are below:

On the surface, I have everything a woman could want, beautiful clothes, a stunning home, an enviable middle-class lifestyle.
But inside, I feel empty. The passion has gone from our relationship and we are more like intellectual friends. We still talk to each other - we have long, intense discussions into the night. We both care deeply about the environment and world issues. But, to me, this isn't a marriage.
I see friends coming round for dinner, touching each other, hugging, and I envy that warmth. We have lost that physical intimacy and, while we have still been sleeping with each other, it is more out of habit than passion.
Declan and I met on a film set where we were both working. It was 1991 and we just clicked. Both in our early 30s, we seemed to want the same things from life - a lovely home, a family. The following year, we had a big, lavish white Catholic wedding with more than 100 guests. I thought we'd be married for ever.
The sad fact is that he's done nothing wrong - he's still the sweet, intelligent, generous man I first met. But I've changed. I'm bored with looking after my horse, meeting friends for lunch, buying clothes.
I want passion, excitement and adventure.
After reading that little excerpt into the female psyche, I have to wonder - do I provide enough passion, excitement and adventure to satisfy my wife's desires? What am I doing or what can I do to ensure that?


Kentucky Kate said...

That article is so sad, mostly because she has the wrong perspective. Marriage isn't about constant passion. There is a reason you "fall" in and out of love. It's an uncontrolable action. There are things you can do to reignite passion, but love is a choice rather than a feeling. I'll bet if she spent a month trying to be more selfless and do things every day to please him, she would magically be back in love. Sad that divorce was the first option.

michael said...

Thank you for the keen insight. Those are definitely excellent points. But I myself cannot control my wife's perspective, or the decision she makes whether to be selfish or to seek ways to serve instead.

The one thing that I can control though is my own decisions. So if I approach our marriage from the perspective of avoiding the worst case scenario through my own actions, then I think it will help to ensure the results are a bast case one.

Now I need to apply it though, instead of just recognizing it. It's so very much easier to just be selfish.

Anonymous said...

I think ...
Marriage is not about love or even being in love. Don't get me wrong, love is nice and so is passion. None-the-less, I think marriage is singular in it focus, and that focus is on the covenant that was made between the man and the woman. Or better said, the focus is on keeping that covenant no matter what it costs to keep it. In love, out of love, good sex, bad sex, meaningful conversation, pointless babling, healthy, fit, overweight, joy, sorrow, bliss, depression, etc., etc. SO WHAT! What ever the feeling of the day, month or year, SO WHAT! Marriage is entered to learn and experience covenant keeping love. Why, because marriage was only created to represent the covenant keeping love of our Creator, who no matter what the cost, at the cost of His Son, kept and keeps His covenant with us! We are given the privileged oppurtunity to represent the One (the Groom) who keeps His covanental love with us His Bride through marriage. The Groom will never forsake His bride (the church ... us) and break his covenant. His covenant is based on grace and unconditional love for His chosen, and so marriage is based on the same covanental love which will never leave, nor forsake, no matter the cost to those who enter into it. Anything less, no matter what it is called, is not marriage.
Well, maybe that sounds all ideal, but I have never loved my wife more nor felt closer to her than since I understood how meaningful marriage was to God and how much it represented Christ's unconditional love for me. Nor have I ever felt as much freedom to extend her grace upon grace until I realized that doing so is exactly what Christ has done for me and called me to do so for her. Not to mention how much I need the same from her.
... thinking over.

Anonymous said...

That anonymous person above was Frank L. from the land of Orlando where you will someday move back to becase you were meant to be here and you just have not realized it yet and when you finally feel guilty enough, you will suffer greatly and return. But when you do, I will move to Montana.

Anonymous said...

Well, Becky is playing Lego Star Wars II because our marriage is the epitome of passion! So while she is slicing Vader with Luke's light saber, I came back to see if Mike had gotten his act together and decided wether he liked or dislike my analysis. I am betting that he disliked it. However, since he has not replied, I will add another reply and take it a step further. I think God hates divorce. even for reasons of infidelity. I really think divorce pisses God off (the technically correct way to say that theologically, would be to say that divorce invokes his wrath)! I mean I know that Jesus said, except for adultery, a man should not divorce his wife (or vice versa). Now if the adulterer is unrepentant and wishes to continue in their flesh intoxicated ways, then so be it...divorce is probably the correct solution. But if the adulterer has recognized their most severe betrayel of their covenant and seeks to rebuild that which they have destroyed, then I think divorce should be off the table. God hates divorce!! Our marriages are not about us! They are about Christ's love for his church. We betray our Maker everyday, yet he never says "Whore! Be gone!" We must see the incredible Grace given to us every day. Every day we violate God's character and deserve an eternity in hell for it, yet he gives us his righteousness and calls us his own! We are his, we were bought, purchased, redeemed and placed in a covenant of Grace which God will not break. This is what we are called to represent in marriage. It's beautiful, yet very easy to say and so difficult to live. Well I happened to be reading Ezekial 16...please read it, you will see God's covenant love represented in it in an amazing way. If it does not blow your mind, then I suggest you just continue smoking crack.
Frank L.

michael said...

Frank L.,

I am truly honored that you are reading my blog and to be getting your input.

And while what you're saying is completely right, I still disagree with it. Here's why:

While God will accept me as a fat, ugly spiritual bride because He is true to His covenant, I don't want Him to have to settle for that. I want to present myself to Him as holy and beautiful as possible. I want Him to love me not because He has to, but because I am spiritually fit and attractive.

The marriage you describe is not necessarily easy (if it were then there would be less divorce in our society), but it's still nowhere near what it could and in my opinion should be.

I don't want my kids to say what so many children observe in their parents. "They never got along, but they stayed together all of these years." or "My parents didn't seem to really love each other, but they stuck through it." or "I don't want to get married because then our relationship will become like my parents' was, boring, passionless, and lifeless. But hey, they're still together after 50 years."

Bullocks! I want my children to know there is passion in our relationship and that we love, admire, and respect each other. I want them to see us sacrifice time with them so that we can periodically reconnect with each other. I want them to see us holding hands and also to know (not see or hear us in the act, but still to know) that we enjoy making love together.

I want to see my wife as beautiful and I want to be her dashing, brave prince. Is it realistic? Maybe not, but if you shoot high enough, you're bound to at least land much higher than you if you aim for the ground.

Similarly, I want my God to know that I cherish my time with Him and that I will sacrifice other things in order to make that time. That I am willing to go to whatever lengths necessary to grow spiritually and to be beautiful in His eyes.

And hopefully my kids will see my relationship with God that way too, not as going to church because we have to, or as reading my Bible because I'm supposed to. But that I love the Lord and am passionate about growing in my relationship with Him and about serving Him.

michael said...

But I do agree with you that divorce is simply not an option for me, because Christ has said the same thing about us, at least on His end.

Anonymous said...


I knew you would disagree in someway just because you would not completely get the angle I was coming from, which would then allow me to clarify. Plus, I know it would be no fun for either of us to give our opinions if we were always just preaching to the choir.

So I would first disagree that God just accepts anyone as His fat, ugly spiritual bride ... long term. Initially, you are what you are and your adoption into his family is granted on behalf of your belief. But as His son or daughter, your sin is never acceptable and thus begins the life long process of sanctification (which is only completed, of course, at death). Now, we are not robots, so we can hinder or help the process, but sanctification is a work of God in our life, not a work of man in his own life. Or, if you wish, the work of God, in man, to give Him the strength to become what he otherwise could not become on his own. Either way, God will never love you because of some meritous work you do, nor will he love you more because you are spiritually fit and attractive. He will love you because you are His and He will do a work in you to make you spiritually fit and attractive and then get the glory because He made you what you are. Call it word games if you wish, but I think it is a man-centered vs. God centered viewpoint. Now, I hesitated to say that because it sounds accusatory, but I really do not mean it that way and I am not necessarily trying to say you are taking a man centered view. Further, I had to say all this, because I think it is applicable to where I am coming from...

Now what I was definitely not saying is that since marriage is about a covenant, and keeping that covenant, we should just be lazy or satisfied with whatever it know better than any friend of mine that I was not always content (nor should I have been...nor should Becky have been). Just like God never loses his passion to keep His covenant and build His church, neither should we. My point was actually, although not completly defined, the complete opposite of this. If you are not committed to keeping your covenant, then you are in it for the good times, while they last (however you define the good times). The people who never got divorced and lacked passion probably never got a divorce because divorce was not socially acceptable. Even more so in the church. Now divorce is socially acceptable, and even if it is less so in the church, it has not kept the church from having a lower divorce rate than the world. So why does being committed to the covenant of marriage make a difference? Well, at least to me it made a difference because I see it as having 2 choices...2 choices to make on how 2 sinful people that are going to have issues because they are sinful...2 choices on how to respond to every difficulty. The first option is to whine, complain, sulk, manipulate (add you own) to try and get my way or change her into something else that I will enjoy more (or anything along those it the negative option). Or I can take the other option that says, I am going to live with this person until I die, and the truth is, I am not really going to enjoy trying to manipulate her or spend my days whining about her imperfections. Instead, I am going to do everything I can to lay down my life for her as Christ did for the church. Which says to me, what does she want? How do I becaome her dashing prince, how do I assist her and add joy to her life, what can I do to enable her to enjoy God more (pick your additions to the list).

Now, I do understand what you said in your response, but there is one thing that you can control and one thing that you cannot control. You can control you, but you cannot control your spouse. You can do everything you can possible think of to make her happy and add passion to your marriage, but that does not mean, necessarily, that she will respond to it. There is a good chance she will, but no guarantee. Further, she may get some permanent hormone imbalance and become fat and psychotic. She may just wake up one day and decide your attempts at passion suck and she is more interested making a life of her own? Then what?

But if by God's grace you are both committed to the covenant of marriage, which implies (to me) being committed to being all that you can be to each other, then after 50 years, wow! If I can still make it work, she better watch out! Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, here I come baby! And if it died after 45 years of marriage, then we will probably have discovered a couple dozen other ways to be passionate towrds each other other than 'my' favorite one.

Anyway, I see choosing to be committed to the covenant no matter what the cost, not as shooting toward the ground but as shooting beyond what any man can hit. But when we are weak, then He is strong. And when God makes it what no man can make it, then He gets the glory. And that is what it is all about. Everything is for God's glory. Everything was created for by Him and for Him, so that He might receive praise in all things.

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