Chapter 53 in “stuff that is obvious to me that is apparently no longer obvious because our society is sick and dying”: How marriage is supposed to work. (I thought everyone knew this, seriously – I’m a little disturbed that I have to type it).
When you become man & wife, you become a team. You are yoked together, and you’re going somewhere. Your spouse is now your closest family member, because at their hearts, families are teams. Marriage isn’t meant to be dissolved – it’s meant to be a permanent team, two souls yoked together getting through life.
Life is rough! Having a partner gets you through places you couldn’t get on your own! Sometimes one partner will pull more weight, sometimes the other. Once joined, you’re not meant to split apart.
But just because you’re yoked together doesn’t mean you have to do the same job. If you say, “I want a family, I want a hugely successful career, I want a nice home, I want to be hospitable and available to my family…” well, those are hard things to combine, if one person is trying to do them or two people are trying to attack the same problem. Traditionally, women took care of popping out the babies and minding them, men took care of getting the career business. It doesn’t matter so much how you divvy up the labor – it matters a whole heck of a lot that you talk about it and then divvy it up and not snark at the other person because they’re not doing part of *your* job. Maybe that’s how you start, and your husband has a work-place accident, and you bring home the bacon. Life happens, people. Your goal isn’t the short-term, “I exist to perform this task” – your goal is to get both of you across the finishline.
Marriage isn’t about getting “me” to where “I” want to be. It’s about getting “us” to where “we” want to be. That means sacrifice. It also means communication. While I’m *firmly* in the “husbands are in charge” camp… only a fool is going to want to boldly go along and ignore what’s going on on the other side of the yoke. (For me, this means only a fool swallows what she really has to say because it might rock the boat – the captain needs this information. My hesitation or discomfort when he’s expecting wholehearted cooperation could make a huge mess). (Someone has to be in charge. And that person needs information. “We’re crossing into the fireswamp. Thank you for telling me that you’re afraid. This is how I’m going to ameliorate that. But we’re still doing it, and this is what I need from you.”)
Because society is sick, and we’ve been constantly encouraged to put our own desires over the needs of others, we’ve lost the whole, “my spouse has my back” concept. Hello, sin natures. So … we make our children our “closest family” instead of our spouse. Or our work group. Or our online community. Whatever. We ask “how can we force this human to be trustworthy, what laws should we pass?” instead of “how can I avoid being unequally yoked with someone whose character is questionable at best?”
And we forget God. Because God is to be closer to our hearts than even our spouses. God is to be obeyed, even before our husbands. God is the One who controls the circumstances of our lives, and He’s the one who gives us strength to get through the awful times. If you place your faith in another human being, they will fail you. Humans are mortal – the best character in the world might be housed in a frail body that breaks constantly. The spouse you build your world around could be killed in a car accident tomorrow. Stuff *happens* – and there are no guarantees.
If you want to have a good life, read the Instruction Book (Bible). God has lots of rules for our good. He tells us not to be unequally yoked with non-believers. He tells us what virtue looks like at several stages in life. He tells us how to raise our kids and manage our homes with wisdom. So do that. Do that, and remember that you have a blessing in your spouse, but at the end of the day, God is in control: Not You. Doing the right thing doesn’t mean you *will* get a reward, it makes you more likely to do so. No guarantees – God might have a totally different plan for your life.
Marriage was one of God’s first gifts to humankind. We’ve forgotten that. We’ve forgotten so much of what it’s for. We don’t give ourselves to our spouses, ready to truly become one in our hearts as well as in our flesh. We’re so *selfish*.
But I’m here to tell you, after nearly 20 years married to my highschool sweetheart – and more mess, more insanity, and more awful blecky yuck than you’d believe, as well as more sweetness and delight and solace than I’d ever hoped for… marriage is a good thing. A very good thing.
If you don’t want that good thing, that’s fine. You don’t have to take it, and the Word says that single service to the Lord is better yet. God Speed. But if you do – remember to treat marriage as the blessing and merging that it was designed to be. Become one. And bring glory to God in all you do. After all – THAT is the point of your existence.
Colossians 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.