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Love and marriage are the greatest adventures in life, and they point they way to our relationship with the Almighty.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Your Marriage and Nasa, Pt. 3 - Normalization of Deviance

On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia began its re-entry from orbit, for landing at the kennedy Space Center in Florida.

As we all know, it never arrived, breaking up over Texas and Louisiana, killing all seven crew members.

Columbia was launched on January 16, and 80 seconds into the flight a suitcase-sized piece of foam used for aerodynamic 'shaping' broke free from the external fuel tank and hit the left wing of the Orbiter. Speed was about Mach 2.47.

NASA knew what had happened; indeed, what they had come to call "foam shedding" had happened on other flights, with no ill effect. So the decision was taken - assume nothing is wrong.

Diane Vaughn, a sociologist, calls this "the normalization of deviance". Things go wrong, but hey, it's normal.

Only this time it wasn't normal, and Columbia had a hole in her left wing. Hot gases generated by atmospheric during re-entry entered the hole, and caused the wing to fail.

The accident was preventable. Foam shedding was a known phenomenon, and was accepted. it shouldn't have been, because a piece of insulating foam moving at about 2500 feet per second (as fast as a 30-caliber rifle bullet) carried a lot of kinetic energy. Click here to see how much.

Once the shuttle was off the ground, the assumption was that nothing could be done. Not true; another Shuttle could have been launched as a rescue mission. It would have been risky, but Columbia could have been evacuated and abandoned in orbit.

These two assumptions...the normalization of deviance and what's the use?..doomed seven people to a terrifying ride to a fiery end.

We make these assumptions in our marriages, too...to our peril.

It's not as spectacular as a Space Shuttle coming apart, but it';s destructive nonetheless.

How much 'stuff' have you just decided to live with? One of the most common is public disrespect from a spouse (usually a wife is dissed by her husband). He'll make jokes at her expense, and exaggerate her 'failings' - overspending, calls to Mom, and so on - for comic effect.

When called to account, his stock answer will be "hey, lighten up, where's your sense of humor, I was joking!"

In other words, shift blame Blame the victim.

And a lot of women shrug, and say, well, that's just him.

And their trust in their spouse is eroded. The husband who's supposed to be a leader and protector has become an abuser, who might casually damage a woman's self-worth...on a whim.

Normalization of deviance.

And it won't change

That's the assumption, that nothing can be done. A disrespectful husband will always be disrespectful.

A wandering eye can't be cured (though Jesus did have a singular and rather drastic suggestion, that might hve appealed to Lorena Bobbitt.).

"He just needs 'guy time', so I'll pick up the slack with the family."

What's the use? There's another way of expressing it - it's giving the person in the wrong a free pass.

Abrogating accountability.

When we accept something wrong in our marriages as normal, and shy away from demanding accountability for our spouse's actions, we sow the seeds for damage...or destruction.

Most 'bad behaviors' start small...a husband (usually) will test the waters to see what he can get away with. And when he gets away with something small, he'll try for something bigger.

The cure for this is watchfulness. Not an atmosphere of mistrust, but a clear knowledge of the boundaries that have been agreed upon, both explicitly and implicitly, to protect your marriage. When those boundaries are probed, a caution light should come on. When they're violated, it's time for a serious talk, preferably involving a counselor.

Accountability starts at home, but it doesn't end there. We need accountability partners, people of the same gender who share our values and who are confident enough of our continued friendship top tell us when we're wrong.

We need to be accountable to our spouses, but we need to beyond the hearth-fire to a cool, disciplined intelect that will step back and potentially say..."Dude, what you're doing...it SUCKS."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In Praise of the Average Marriage

Go for the Gold!

And we see the silly spectacle of Olympic athletes crying because they only got a silver or bronze medal.

It's better to aim high and miss the mark, than to aim low and make it.

Accept nothing less than greatness! And if you're not great, your lesser victory means nothing, really.

As a society, we're in love with superlatives. The biggest, the fastest, the best.

We worship champions, and those who provided the worthy competitions are derided as also-rans. We boo them.

How many people have lived unfulfilled lives, and unrealized dreams, because they aimed too high, and couldn't be content with the small happiness that was on offer?

The same thing is true for marriage. I mean, look at some of the book titles that are out there...

  • Passionate Marriage
  • A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage
  • Good Husband, Great Marriage
  • 12 Hours to a Great Marriage
You get the point.

But what about marriages that aren't really passionate, and rub along relatively well, with commitment and comradeship, but without anything even remotely reminiscent of that honeymoon feeling?

Are they to be put down, because they don't go for the gold, or because they hit a lower mark?

Do we always have to be looking ahead to the Elysian future?

I don't think so. I think that it's time to celebrate the marriage that simply works. So what if you don't have the 10-second kisses recommended by Gary Chapman? (Or if you do, both of you have your eyes open, watching for which kid is going to put the cat in the china cabinet...again.)

So what if you don't have great sex? For a lot of forty-year-olds, one night of unbridled reckless passion means six visits to a chiropractor, and how to you explain why you're there to his teenage receptionist? Ugh.

So you take it slow, and one or both of you falls asleep halfway through...but what's wrong with that? At least you're together.

And so what if your husband's idea of a romantic gift is a toaster oven? Maybe he's seen what a pain it is for you to make a small meal in a big oven, or that bending down to the range oven hurts your back...and he's looking for a way to make your life easier.

More Ernest Borgnine than Brad Pitt, but is that a crime?

And what about your wife, who is too tired for sex, but who'll slip off your workboots while you're watching TV, and give your feet a wash and a massage?

If we look at what we've got, we may find that great is actually our address, and Paradise is resident in our home.

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Married To A Mercenary

Hired gun.

Soldier for hire.

Those are the words conjured up by 'mercenary', but it's really unfair, because most mercenaries are men - and sometimes women - who either work as security contractors in places where a government presence is politically undesirable, or are seriously committed individuals who bet their lives that they can help right a wrong through force of arms.

They don't get rich.

The risk of capture is terrifying, because it's an experience they don't survive.

And if they get killed, their families are left holding a largely empty bag.

Why do they do it?

Idealism. They actually care, and are willing to put that caring into action. (Yes, there are some who think it's cool, or that combat's addictive, or, worst, want to kill...but they get weeded out, because they're an irresponsible hazard to everyone around them.)

So, on this Memorial Day, give a thought for the people who stand at the ragged edge of humanity, facing outward, ready to slay the dragons that we'd rather not face.

And give a thought to their families.

Deployments - called contracts - typically last a year, with 30 days home leave. If they can get home; travel from most employment venues involves a bit more than Travelocity.

Contact with home while on contract is infrequent or impossible. The satphones that are sometimes available to troops are almost never available to contractors (though most American - and some foreign - service personnel will try to bend the rules, and try to cut a break for a merc a long way from home).

Internet connections depend on the local economy, and are nonexistent at worst...insecure at best. Do YOU want to email or Skype your spouse when the Taliban can monitor what you say?

If the paramilitary spouse is wounded, chances are that only short-term care will be provided. The family gets to pay for long-term care and therapy.

And one day, there may be a telegram, or a visit from a colleague, saying that the welcome-home party can be canceled. The body - if recovered - may or may be not be flown home by the employer.

And you won't want to be asked to identify it. Please trust me on this.

There may be minimal death benefits, if the employer has a policy in place. But it's seldom enough to for a family to start a new life.

But death is better than capture, because the even though our present enemies don't follow the Geneva Convention, they do realize the value of captured uniformed troops as bargaining chips - or hostages, if you prefer.

Not so the contractor. They're captured, and used for sport.

So please, send up a prayer for these individuals and their families. They're doing what they can, for low pay, to make a hurting world just a little bit better, and the risks they run give the word 'exposure' a whole new meaning.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Your Marriage and NASA - Part 2: Out of Limits

A lot of people can remember where they were on a January morning in 1986, the day the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up.

The images of the solid rocket boosters (SRBs) chasing insanely across the sky while the rest of the wreckage sleeted down into the Atlantic is one of the horrifying signature images of the late 20th Century.

All the moire horrifying because it was completely preventable. In fact, engineers tried to prevent it.

The SRBs - the long skinny solid-fuel rockets attached to the big central fuel tank under the shuttle itself - consisted of segments of pipe flanged together, each containing the rubbery rocket fuel. The flanges where they were joined were sealed with rubber O-rings, designed to withstand the heat of combustion.

Unfortunately, they had limits in the other direction...cold. And it was cold that day, in the 20s. Too cold for the O-rings.

The engineers at Morton Thiokol, who designed the SRBs, tried hard to convince NASA to postpone the launch, but the launch had already been put off numerous times, and they really, really wanted to fly their 'Teacher In Space", Christa MacAuliffe.

NASA overruled the engineers, deciding that physic would be altered by political necessity. (Think that's unfair? Seven people died.)

The O=rings started to fail on the pad, when the SRBs were ignited, and 72 seconds into the flight a plume of flame was playing on the external fuel tank...which blew up, shattering the shuttle.

Out of limits.

Every situation in this world has limits. You can't launch a Space Shuttle when it's too cold.

You can't be late for work too often, even with a very understanding boss.

You can't ask too big a favor of a friend, without risking alienation.

And there are plenty of limits in a marriage.

  • You can't take your spouse for granted too often - We all do, sometimes, assuming that our mate will pick up the slack, will pick up after us, will be readily available to pick up the kids when we've got an event planned with our BFFs. But when too many "hey, do you mind..." events happen without an equal number of "I really appreciate this" followups, we start to get beyond the limits of what's right.
  • You can't assume too much - You know your spouse well, but probably not as well as you think you do. people can always surprise us, and the kind of surprise we don't want is the one that includes the statement "but I assumed you'd be okay with this..."
  • You can't ignore physical needs for too long - This ranges from handholding to intercourse, and includes the entire gamut. Most people have a need to be touched...ignore it and the capacity for 'understandin' physical affection starts to wither. This happens for men as well as women...yes, ladies, men can get completely turned away from sex, just as women can. Paul the Apostle said you can be 'apart' for periods of prayer and fasting, but that you have to come back together again. He didn't allow the excuse of Facebook time or "American Idol's on!" or the kids needing rides to half a dozen afterschool activities a week. We're supposed to make time for touch.
  • You can't ignore spiritual needs - Yes, this means going to church regularly, and yes, church is more important than NASCAR or the NFL or sleeping in. You can mkss church for the Superbowl...that's once a year...or for the Talladega race (twice a year). But the whole NASCAR season doesn't give you a bye on being a member of your congregation. Your marriage needs it. So do you, as an individual.
  • You can't ignore each other - Have you ever gone to the mall or a grocery store and noticed how many couples are alone together? Maybe they're both playing with their phones, or one's shopping while the other is busy resenting being there...but they're not together. Yes, it's okay to go into a brown study while your husband...or wife...is checking out the new shotguns at Cabela's, but if you get into the habit of distancing yourself from everything your spouse is doing, you're stepping across a border nto the land where contempt lives.
The Space Shuttle 'stack' of the Orbiter, SRBs, and fuel tank was robust enough to go through huge forces and aerodynamic pressures, but there were things...small things...that could, and did, bring it down.

Your marriage is the same way. Love will help you withstand a lot, but once you go outside a set of limits, it can take a small knock to bring the whole thing crashing down.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Your Marriage and NASA - Part 1

Catchy title, eh?

In 1966, the first fatal accident in the US Space program claimed the lives of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee, when a ground test of the Apollo 1 spacecraft resulted in a fire that killed all three.

In 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed by an explosion just over a minute after launch, killing all seven crewmembers, including the celebrated "Teacher in Space", Christa MacAuliffe.

And in 2003, damage to the Space Shuttle Columbia, incurred during launch, resulted in its destruction during re-entry to the atmosphere, again killing seven.

All of these accidents were tragic, and all were preventable.

And all have analogues in marriage.

Today we'll look at Apollo 1.

Apollo 1 - A Toxic Environment - after the Gemini program, the design and construction of the Apollo spacecraft was contracted to a different company, one which wanted to be 'original' in its approach. They therefore declined to make use of the lessons learned in the previous programs, Mercury and Gemini.

In engineering, the syndrome is called "not invented here", and it's poisonous.

The professionalism of the individual engineers can;t be faulted, but they were working under the pressure of developing the most complex machine mankind had ever seen - from scratch. And they had to do it to meet JFK's deadline of getting a man to the moon by the end of the 1960s.

To put it bluntly, the contractor cut corners. Changes in the spacecraft were made but not documented - or documented but not made. Wiring was altered, patched, and patched again.

Flammables were introduced into the cabin, and then were ordered removed - but their removal was never recorded.

And the tests were run using a sea-level pressure of pure oxygen. Just about the best environment for a fire.

And when the fire started, there was no escape. The one hatch opened inward, and as the temperature rose, so did the pressure...inside the capsule, holding the hatch shut.

How often do we allow a toxic environment in our marriage?

Marriage is the most intense partnership we'll ever experience, and yet we approach it with a lackadaisical casualness that would be intolerable for a junior-high scrub football game.

We try to slide things from our single life into married life, hoping that instead of embracing the change in our lives, we can hang onto as much as we can of what we had.

We don't document the changes we want to make in our life together.Makes it a lot easier to blame, but a lot harder to actually work together toward a common goal.

We invite division into our houses, in the form of inappropriate movies, corrupting books, and evil Internet browsing. To put it bluntly, the husband who brings pornography into his home is betraying his wife, and causing damage to their relationship - in the expectations and desires formed in his mind - that may never heal.

We hang onto old, destructive relationships. Whether they be family that seek to break down the marriage out of jealousy or pride, or old friends that become possessive when you move out of their orbit, or...worst of all...old flames that have never quite given up, these relationships create an environment that's poisonous to our marriage, by demanding a division of loyalty.

When you're convinced that you owe loyalty to someone besides your spouse, you've struck a spark in an oxygen-rich atmosphere loaded with things that burn.

And what will burn - is you. Along with your spouse.

Marriage is supposed to be a safe place, and we're enjoined to put the happiness - and emotional safety - of our partner first.

The safe, fire-resistant environment is ours to create.

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Should You Be A Counselor In Your Marriage?

A lot of people have a lot of problems, and your mate may be among them.

These can range from combat trauma to childhood abuse to addictions to an ego the size of Wal-Mart that makes them hard to get along with.

It can make your life, and that of your family, challenging, to say the least.

But here's a tip for making it easier...or at least ensuring that it won't become more difficult.

You are not your spouse's counselor.

Most people want to help, and have the life experience and intelligence so that they can provide effective counseling to others, at least to a limited degree. (Usually this falls under the heading of 'good advice from a trusted friend.)

But it it poor practice with your mate, because you're too close. The dynamics of marriage and family life make you 'part of the problem', so to speak. This is not to say that your presence is making it worse, by any means...if you're kind, thoughtful, and forbearing you're undoubtedly helping.

But you are a part of their coping mechanism, the responses and reactions that they've built up to deal with the issue, and to live as normal a life as possible.

As such, you already have a job, and it's already vital. You can't suddenly switch hats without removing or diminishing the support you're already giving.

When you counsel, you have to challenge, and a good counselor will know how to challenge at the most sensitive spots,, while providing a place of safety.

You, as a spouse, can't do that. Your job is to protect your mate's sensitive places, to stand guard. If you turn and probe, all the while trying to help, you can do more damage to your mate - and to your marriage - than you possible know.

There are professional counselors out there for a reason, and they stand ready to help. Many will adjust fees if money's an issue; some will take cases for free.

Please, call on them. Let them do their job.

While you do yours.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Love Story

Once upon a time, Siro lived on the island of Aka, part of the Kerama Retto in Japan's Ryuku Islands. (The Ryukus also include Okinawa, site of one of the most ghastly battles of the Second World War.)

One day, Siro traveled to Zamami, a very rare boat trip in his life, and there he met Marilyn, and fell in love.

On returning to Aka, Siro found that he couldn't get Marilyn out of his mind, and he couldn't organize the use of another boat.

But he had to see her. The strait between Aka and Zamami was 3 km (almost two miles) across. Shiro didn;t know how well he could swim, but he had to try.

"I want to see Marilyn!"

So he swam, setting off from Nishihama Beach, and hours later crawled up on Zamami's Ama Beach.

And there was Marilyn!

And her tail was wagging, for Siro and Marilyn were both dogs.

Siro's master came to get him, and brought him back to Aka.

And wouldn't you know it, but soon Siro was off again.

He became a legend (this was in the 1980s), and a movie was made about the love that distance couldn't break: "Marilyn ni Aitai (I Want To See Marilyn).

You can get it on Amazon (click the picture below).

And you should, even if it's expensive, because we've got a lot to learn about love, and sometimes we can find some pretty unlikely teachers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The First Love Language

In 1995, Gary Chapman wrote the splendid book The Five Love languages.

Buy it. Read it. Live it.

But he left one out. It's the one I call Love Language #0.


You may think it's a given, but look around you. How many men and women do you know who have undermined their wives or husbands in casual conversation, to vent...or, worst, to try to be funny?

And look in a mirror.

Have you ever complained about your spouse to a friend or acquaintance? (Talking to a counselor doesn't count, obviously. Real problems require professional help. Friends and family are not professionals. Period.)

I have. And in so doing, I was disloyal, and am taking this moment, in this blog, to apologize.

It was dishonorable. It was taking advantage of an opportunity to deny my wife the telling of 'her side of the story'. Even though I made the 'noble effort' to be evenhanded - my aim was to elevate myself, and put her down. Put her down in the eyes of others.

Totally wrong. An affront to fair play, and I think an affront to God.

Does loyalty mean swallowing hurts, and putting up with what is sometimes unbearable?


Does loyalty mean "my spouse, right or wrong"?


Does loyalty mean saying to yourself, "I will hold my tongue because I might be wrong"?


Marriages today are rarely forced. We have the option to go into them with eyes open, and when while we eagerly look at the benefits, we rarely count the cost...and that may mean living a season,. or several, in a marriage that's not working.

And not complaining about it..

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Why Are You Married?

Why are you married?

Normally we do things for a reason, and we have a goal we're trying to reach.

So, why are you married?

Some of the reason people will give are, in no particular order -

  • I wanted to have a family
  • I didn't want to be alone any more
  • I fell in love and couldn't imagine life without him/her
  • It was about time - I wasn't getting any younger
  • It was necessary for my career (yes, this is still sometimes a reason!)
These aren't necessarily bad reasons...well, except maybe for the career thing...but they're ultimately incomplete.

Yes, even having a family is incomplete.

The real purpose of marriage is not kids or holding off loneliness or appropriateness for one's age. The real purpose of marriage is to form a team that glorifies God.

Marriage is a sacrament, something that represents our relationship with the Almighty. In that line, we're called to "be Christ" for our spouses.

Kind of hard, really, "being Christ". I mean, this dude was and IS God. I'm so horribly fallible that sometimes I don't want to look in a mirror.

But the effort has to be made, and in making it, I lift myself. I try to reach something that's on a shelf higher than my arms could ever reach, but if I close my eyes and grit my teeth and keep trying...

...I find strong arms around me, lifting me up.

And not only lifting me up to be the best I can be for my wife...holding me up in full view of others, singles and marrieds and blog readers I'll never meet.

It's scary.

But this is what it's all about. We glorify God in our attempt to do what he asks, and that glorification shines a light that makes it easier for others to see ahead in a world that can sometimes seem very dark, and very cold.

That's why.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friends Of The Marriage

It's been said that the friendships we make in our youth are the only ones that endure.

If this were true, it would be terribly sad, because in our hyperactively mobile society, we'll rarely see the friends of our youth once high school's over.

Well, there's always Facebook.

One of the factors that lead to that conclusion is that in later life, marriage really requires corporate friendships - at least to some degree. Yes, wives and husbands have their 'own' friends, but if the other spouse heartily loathes said friend, there's trouble ahead.

That kind of friendship becomes a wedge aimed at the heart of the marriage.

The corporate friendship, in which two couples become friends and spend time together socially, can be one of the best investments of time and emotion that you and your mate can make.

The starting point for this kind of friendship is the realization that you and your spouse, together, have a 'group identity'. If this sounds baffling, think of it like this -

Does a sports team have a 'character'? Are not the Oakland Raiders considered the Outlaws of pro football? (OK, maybe not the best example.)

How about figure skating pairs - can you see the way the skaters move together as being an extension and an enhancement of their individual styles?

It's the same thing with your marriage. You have a style, a way of expressing yourselves together.

And you can learn from the example of another couple - together.

The friends you make as a couple hold up both a mirror and a window to your own relationship. A mirror to see how you might be 'styling' together, and a window to see where you might go - together.

And it's fun. It's fun to see interaction that might be so similar to yours, and so different. It's fun to share inside jokes that a 'single' friend can never understand.

It's fun to be there for another couple, when life throws a curve in the form of a blown-down fence or a wrecked car or a sick child - knowing that they'll be there for you.

It's fun to be friends.

(It would be remiss to leave without the caution that spending 'alone time' with the partner to whom you aren't married is a really, really bad idea. For this sort of relationship to thrive, it has to be completely transparent, and every aspect has to be, like Caesar's wife, above suspicion.)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Help I Married The Wrong Person!

Everyone who, at one time in your marriage, thought you married the wrong person, raise your hand.


Now, would everyone with their hand raised please go around and wake up those people who didn't raise their hands, and who slept through the question?

Marriage is the biggest decision you'll ever make. It's the longest and deepest commitment, the most expensive investment, the riskiest entrepreneurial gamble.

Of course you'll second-guess yourself. You're human.

Usually, there's a pattern to this sort of...pardon the expression..."buyers' regret".

  • The bloom is off the rose - sometime after the honeymoon, when you get down to the mechanics of paying bills and sharing bathrooms, and NASCAR starts to win out over walking hand in hand on a sunny afternoon, the single life you left can look awfully attractive, and so can some of the prospective mates you met. This is the is this all there is?  stage.
  • The rut grows deeper - after about a decade of marriage, kids and careers and social obligations have driven a wedge between the lovebirds, and you're walking on parallel paths that stretch into infinity. Parallel, as in "never meeting". You look down the dinner table and ask yourself..."What am I doing here?"
  • A stranger comes home - the kids are gone, and it's just the two of you, and you don't realize what a buffer those children have been. When there wasn't much to talk about...you talked about the kids. When you couldn't think of something to do together...the kids always had an agenda. And now it's just you, with this stranger in your life.
Does any of this sound familiar?

It should, and it shouldn't be a cause for despair, because it's perfectly normal.

We usually learn in steps, and marriage is, if nothing else, all about learning.

It's about learning how to live  with and love another human being, every day.

Think about learning to swim. First, you learned to dog-paddle. It's quiite an accomplishment, but it that were all that is, would you have really wanted to do much more swimming?

Dog-paddling is fine, but you don't go anywhere.

Then you learned a stroke...crawl, sidestroke, breaststroke, whatever. And you could go places, slowly, thinking all the while about the movements you were making.

Wasn't it exhausting? Having to move in an unfamiliar way, and think about it, and get slapped in the face by waves every so often, forgetting to hold your breath because you were concentrating so hard, and having the happy experience of trying to breathe water?

But hey, you could swim! And if this was all there was, you could quit, too, and work on your tan...out of the water.

And then it all came together. You were swimming, and you weren't thinking about it. You were going places, and you'd automatically turn your head to avoid breathing liquid.

Marriage is like that. The learning comes in steps, and those plateaus can seem endless...and we think that maybe if we'd chosen someone else, or no one else, we'd be happier, and fulfilled.

But it's not true. We have to learn anyone; and if we live alone we have the even harder job of learning ourselves.

Yes, sometimes you'll feel like it's all wrong. But hang on, don't get out of the pool, and soon you'll find that you're swimming.

And you'll have a swim buddy by your side.

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Marriage Is...

I'm not well enough to write a full post at the moment, so I'll be lazy.

I'll let you guys write one for me, through comments.

I'll start -

Marriage is...the chance to make someone else feel loved every day for the rest of your life. Or theirs.


Marriage is...

Friday, May 2, 2014

Keeping Romance Alive In Your Marriage

It's not easy.

The candlelit dinners and the exciting conversations, discovering a whole new person...they were a long, long time ago.

Now it's bills and morning breath and the kids need to get to soccer practice and macaroni again?

You know everything about each other, and then some. TMI, as the texters say.

But do you?

Before courtship began, we amassed the contents of our personalities, the sum or our experiences, separately. Discovery was a movie we'd never seen. a book we'd never read, with the exciting possibility of becoming part of that book one day.

Now we're together all the time, trapped (and yes, everyone feels that way some days) in the same book.

Groundhog Day with hair in the sink and wet towels dropped on the floor.

That's the paradigm we live.

Let's break it.

First, we are still separate people, individuals before God and each other.

Those baffling things we see in our mates that sometimes drive us to distraction...that is exactly the kind of separate development that produced something we loved.

To build back the romance, start a journey of rediscovery. learn how your spouse is growing - not from the standpoint of how it affect you, but looking at how they are drawing closer to who they're meant to be, and closer to God.


"What are you reading these days? What do you think of it?"

"How does this movie affect you? How does it make you feel?"

"What did you think of the sermon? How do you see it working in your life?"

Yes, guys, you have to talk about how you feel. As men, we want an audience, and here, that audience - that wants to hear you - is called Wife.

And you may need to learn more about romance in Lancaster County than you ever thought you could stomach. But if this is what makes your wife light up, if this is what makes her heart sing...don't you want to know?

Ladies, yes, you may have to listen to why he likes Rick Atkinson's The Guns At Last Light. There may be few things you'd less like to hear about than the end of WW2 in Europe, but if your husband finds inspiration there, if it makes him look up, and gives him role models that the boy in him wants to emulate...don't you want to know?

Don't you want to know?

Don't you want to look into those eyes, familiar and yet ever-new, across a table lit by flickering candles, and listen...and imagine how you can grow further together?

Don't you want to be inspired to a new "our song" that celebrates what you are together today?

Marriage is supposed to be a voyage of discovery, in which we never stop learning about this wonderful person, this child of the Almighty, who has chosen to share our life.

The discovery doesn't end when the honeymoon does, and neither does the romance.