Marriage

Getting Married for All the Wrong Reasons

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My husband and I have been married for 13 years, and we’ve spent 10 of those years in “ministry.” During this time, we’ve seen the most unlikely relationships blossom into beautiful, fruitful marriages; we’ve also witnessed the disintegration of more marriages than I care to think about. And that’s nothing to talk of the pain and confusion we’ve experienced in our own.

It’s no secret that our society struggles with sustaining faithful, happy marriages. And yet, no one wants to go through a divorce; no one enters marriage with the goal of simply exiting it. As a result, there’s a lot of competing advice about what you should do prior to marriage in order to make yours successful. Some folks tell you to wait until you’re “sure” and others advise getting married young. Truthfully, though, I don’t think the problem is when we get married so much as why we get married. A lot of us are getting married for all the wrong reasons.

So, if you’re not married already, here are a few things to consider:

1. Do not get married simply to get married. 

For some folks, the idea of marriage is more important than the individual they are marrying. Do not marry a woman because you want to be a “husband;” and please, do not marry a man simply because you want to be a “wife.” If you want to “play house,” buy one of these instead. Read more about Getting Married for All the Wrong Reasons

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Embrace Disillusionment

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When wisely managed, disillusionment is a beneficial misery. It qualifies as what the Puritans called “a severe mercy”—a torment that purifies the soul. Since disillusionment is emotionally painful, we naturally regard it as an enemy. But to be disillusioned is to be set free from illusion, and that is never bad. Disillusionment bursts an illusion much as a pin pops a balloon. The experience is jarring; but in the case of illusions, it is equally liberating.

Illusions are, of course, not real. They are enchanted dreams, deceptive mirages. Illusions may temporarily help us cope with the challenges of life—the little boy who is a gangster’s son may profit from the illusion that his father is a brave and principled man. But illusions that persist too long damage the soul—should this boy’s illusions never be demolished, he may well follow his father into a life of crime and become nothing more than a predatory thug.

We find it particularly natural to adopt illusions in the early stages of covenantal relationships. A newly married couple entertains illusions about marriage and one another. New church members imbibe illusions about their church. But for every married couple and every church member, these illusions are eventually overwhelmed by reality. The illusion of a perfect marriage, the illusion of an ideal church, is eventually shattered. Read more about Embrace Disillusionment

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