We live in such a materialistic world that these days if something does not work, rather than try and fix it we throw it out and buy a new one. Ironically, this is often easier and cheaper to do.
As well as this, powerful advertising encourages us to focus on what we do not have rather than being grateful for what we do have. We are encouraged to have our expectations fulfilled and fulfilled quickly. Alvin Toffler who is a sociologist and author said we have a throw away mentality. We have throw away products, throw away friends and this mentality produces throw away marriages.
Sadly marriages are often seen as a temporary contract between couples for “as long as their love lasts” but we are discovering as a society that the consequences are not as easily discarded.
Michael Caine in an interview in 1999 said this about the break up of his first marriage. He was desperate for money and his wife Patricia tried desperately to get him to give up theatre. Rather than relinquish his dreams, he walked away from his marriage. But now he says “…if I had known the anguish involved, I would have stayed at all costs. If I had been as strong as Pat I think we could have made it work”. Michael Caine is right, a marriage can be made to work but it takes a deliberate and determined effort.
First of all, it needs to be built on solid and deep foundations. Like any building project, getting those solid foundations might be a dusty and noisy procedure. New ways of communicating might need to be developed, sensitive or contentious issues might need to be raised and forgiveness will need to become a regular habit.
Marriage is a bit like a home, it requires regular maintenance, repairs and restructuring. Within your marriage there are endless opportunities to be creative in ways to love your spouse. If we want our marriages to grow, we need to be proactive and yet all too often we are reactive.
All too often, our reaction is made in the negative, blaming each other when things go wrong and retaliating when we are hurt. But a marriage needs to be more than just a solid foundation – it needs good communication, active love, the ability to resolve a conflict and the ability to forgive. It needs the ability to grow into a healthy individual family unit and it also needs good sex.
We will look at each of these in the following months, but it is best to say that marriage is the opportunity of a life time and it needs our commitment to grow together. Does your marriage need attention? Clair Rayner said concerning her husband Des, “We’ll have been married forty three years this year. We have become a couple, not two individuals. We have fun together, more fun than we have apart. I still fancy him and thank God, he still seems to fancy me”.
There is a lot I could go on to say concerning this topic, but let me ask, is your marriage based on a firm foundation? Marriage is a unique opportunity to share every aspect of your life with another human being. To stick together in highs and lows and with the security of a mutual promise to dare to reveal everything about yourself to each other.