Is all marriage destined for discontent and wishing to be linked up with someone else? Let's uncover a cultural lie.
Here are two well-known statements about inevitability:
- That feller is a total "party" just lookin' for a place to happen!"
- That rickety front wheel on the bike is an "accident waiting to happen."
All married people, at times, experience extreme frustration and wish that their situation were different. We could say that a further such inevitable statement, like the ones above, could be constructed, too, about marriage. It might be worded like this:
- "Marriages often feel like a divorce lookin' for that particular moment to manifest itself."
Is such discontent widespread? Judging from counseling offices, YouTubes, book titles, etc., yes. It seems that marital dissatisfaction comes trooping through most marriages nearly every day. Most often such thoughts get submerged somewhere in the subconscious of each spouse—that is, until a particular obnoxious spousal irritation may parade through the living room one time too many. Then it is, for some, that such habitual thoughts finally come tumbling out a colossal crash which is a surprise to the other spouse.
The problem is in expecting marriage to be something other than what it is. Comparison thinking is devastating thinking once the marriage vow has been spoken. Yet, that thinking thrusts itself upon us, from the invasive dominant culture. What humans, in this modern world, escape measuring their spouses, at times, against a romantic myth—and compared to a perfect God-like being?
Often the devil tempts each married person with the thought that someone else would be better. Those who have been married five times—real people like Ginger Rogers in Hollywood and an officemate downtown in our small city who have tried it—find it otherwise. Every person is imperfect. Often all that gets done in a divorce and remarriage is trading one set of problems for another. There is NO problem-less marriage. And there is no perfect person.
People solve their relationship discontent in different ways. We know one young married couple who fought like cats and dogs all the way to the divorce court right away, soon after they got married. There they emerged with their legal papers triumphantly in hand, but then, somehow managed to still live together, every day since. Hmmmm; they simply just lowered their expectations and somehow made it work. They must have found SOME advantages. What a novel idea. Get the divorce squared away first, and then figure out how a marriage REALLY works afterwards.
On the other end of the age spectrum of married people, one older woman, with a dry wit, when asked about the condition of her 50-year marriage, replied, "Divorce? Never! Murder? Every day!!!
If every spouse expected to fully express themselves all the time, the way they really are/think inside themselves, without any modulation of themselves, or attempt to throttle back a bit, without any mitigation of their own habits, desires, lifestyle, insisting upon exactly what they want and who they are—it wouldn't go so well.
When either spouse frequently demands that the spouse make them happy in every way, that discontented person will work for herself/himself a relational ruin. The reason? The other spouse is working for and desires the exact same thing out of the relationship for himself/herself. Spousal willfulness is a constant clash waiting to happen, (or moment to explode) if we are not careful enough with each other—opting to be full of deference and kindness.
Obviously, a dramatic recalibration is in order. How 'bout trying on this better-working thinking? To finally realize that the goal of marriage is NOT to find our soulmate. Only one entity can fulfill that role for us: God Himself. The goal of marriage is, instead, to love our spouse like God loves—in extremity and in longevity. Once we recalibrate that THIS is the story we are involved in, in marriage, rather than riding off in the sunset with more of ourselves, we can find contentment and meaning in our specific "lot" in life. We can focus upon getting to see what kind of a person I am as I live for the good of another.
There is only ONE lover of the soul. Yeshua/Christ. Period. Delusion over with. Disappointment everywhere else was pre-planned.
The old hymn said it best:
...... Jesus. lover of my soul.
...... Let me to THY bosom fly.