Marriage has been depicted in our culture as a very selfish, self-serving relationship. It has taught us that, while being married to someone else, we have the right to pursue our unique pleasure.
We mistakenly assume that marriage’s goal is to make us happy. That, I believe, is the root reason for the majority of divorces.
I would say that at least 90% of my disagreements with my spouse stem from individualistic—and unrealistic—expectations that one of us has for the other. A disagreement might be as little as to how my husband’s cleaning habits differ from mine. It might even be as broad as where we want to live or when we want to have children.
I believe that most of us have a preconceived notion of what marriage is meant to be. To look like. We grow up, establish our habits, and expect our spouses to fall into our life pattern when we marry them. Instead, we find that our fairytale life with our new spouse and our dreams of what life would look like, whether we spend our time or how we spend our money, looks different from our spouse’s.
When we say “I do,” we commit to spend the remainder of our lives with another human being, regardless of life’s circumstances or our spouse’s eccentricities. But I believe some of us attach conditions to that “I do.” For many of us, whether intentionally or unintentionally, it is “I do as long as my partner does or acts this way” or, more significantly, “makes me happy.”
What do you believe it takes to become one genuinely?
The definition of love is relatively straightforward in the Bible as it pertains to marriage.
Love is patient and compassionate. It is neither envious, boastful, nor self-assured. It does not disrespect others, is not self-seeking, is not quickly offended, and does not maintain a record of wrongs. Love does not take pleasure in wickedness but instead rejoices in the truth. It always guards, always believes, always hopes, and always perseveres.
This passage does not strike me as selfish in any way. This poem implies that we abandon our independent search of happiness inside marriage and instead love our partner in a generous, unconditional, and self-sacrificing manner. It sounds like we’re meant to love our spouse as much as Jesus loves us.
We don’t intend to imply that you can’t pursue your hobbies, interests, and friendships after you’re married. Being married also does not imply that you are no longer a distinct individual with a personality distinct from your spouse’s. In reality, God loves you despite your differences. However, marriage requires you to stop viewing life through a “me” lens and learn to consider life decisions, joys, and problems through a “us” one. It also implies that you are willing to make sacrifices from time to time.
Marriage has taught me a valuable lesson.
When you abandon your quest of self-serving happiness in favor of a life that is best for “us” rather than “me,” you end up reasonably pleased. You end up with a spouse that seeks what is best for the marriage rather than their selfish interests.
You begin to understand that your love resembles 1 Corinthians 13 and far less what our culture believes it should be like.
Our divorce rates would be far lower if we began to think that marriage isn’t about making ourselves happy but rather about being one unit that praises Christ. We’d be a lot happier as well.