Today I read a blog post on love and marriage that explained the dynamics of marriage with one of the most profound analogies I have ever come across. I couldn’t help but think how desperately young CHRISTIANS need to read this post. The gist of the analogy (at least my general twist on it) is that if marriage were approached as a building under construction–such that it will last–the capacity to forgive and remain in fellowship would be the foundation and the i-beams. If you get that wrong everything just begins to sag and shift under the pressure of it’s own weight. The roof and drywall are the secondary elements of fellowship and friendship that affirm the unique identities of each person while at the same time nurturing their shared life and interests. And lastly the paint, the trim and the pictures hung. This is attraction, beauty and sex. The world of glamour, movies and novels tells us that this is the most important quality in a marriage and deserves the greatest amount of attention and focus. However if one only makes a building out of trim and paint they have done nothing but create a bubble that is doomed to “pop.”
If marriage is indeed one of the great gifts and mysteries of God that parallels and uncloaks our relationship with Him (as Paul implies in Eph. 5:31-32) then it’s no wonder with over a 50% divorce rate the American church is foundering on the rocks of hypocrisy. Not a judgement–just a general observation. So much of it stems from an egregious over consumption of first-stage love exposure from Hollywood and a severe lack of counter-balancing, bubble-bursting instruction from more legitimate sources on marriage.
How has Hollywood made a gold mine out of becoming the supreme tutor on the nature of “true love” for people today? And this despite the fact that the divorce rate in Hollywood is around 80%? It’s because celebrating the first-stage of love is the easiest and most attractive frame to shoot in, write in and sing about. It’s boy meets girl, it’s the first eye contact, the first kiss and the fuzzy wuzzies are just bursting out of the screen and zeroing in on your own heart.
Think about it–when was the last time you saw a romantic movie that celebrated two people who met and married… 20 years ago and whose sons and daughters are now part of their circle of love? Not many flicks out there. No–such lengthy marriages are good entertainment only insofar as they provide comedy fodder for T.V. sitcoms like “Married with Children,” “Roseanne” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Mom is usually the one holding down the fort and poor old Dad is usually portrayed as dysfunctional and disoriented and seeking to escape all meaningful responsibility. One gets the distinct impression that the message being conveyed is that life after marriage and kids is about survival not substance. Well does it have to be? It hasn’t been so in my parents marriage. Why is that? I have often wondered that as I see other marriages fall by the wayside…either in divorce or simply two people sharing a bed but who stopped sharing souls a long time ago.
By the grace of God I think my parents BUILT their marriage life with divinely-inspired architectural soundness. The blog post I read today gave me a picture that I will never forget on how God intends for all his children to build a house of true love. The author is Jessica Leigh Francis and she is truly a guru of captivating writing. You can read her post on marriage here.