On Being Married

I’m hopelessly in love with my wife. 😍

She is my companion. A helper and friend.

But I don’t think she’s my “soulmate.” I don’t think she’s the only one I could have ended up with.

I think we are perfect for each other because we chose to be together. We made a vow before God and family to love, serve, and cherish one another.

I make this choice again each morning. To love and serve her today. To remember that she does not exist to make me happy, but to make me holy. She does not exist to make my life easier, but to point me toward Jesus.

I’m learning that the way to be joyful and satisfied in marriage is to put myself aside. To accept that I am not the most important person in the family. To be a servant.

This can be difficult. Accepting that happiness is not the goal of a relationship changes things. Understanding that a healthy relationship is built on serving one another changes things.

Love is not just a feeling. It is action. It is intention. It is a choice. If you choose to love and serve your spouse, I believe God will honor that by teaching and shaping you into a better partner.

As a final thought, I think marriage is also a really fun adventure. Being able to “do life” with someone you trust and respect is an incredible blessing.

If these observations are short-sighted, please forgive me… I’ve only been married for five years. Long enough to learn a few things, but short enough to still be a beginner. 😅

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Tony March 28, 2019 Reply

“Accepting that happiness is not the goal of a relationship changes things.”

Yes – It is the discovery of meaning in (married) life which is a goal as you have more or less said. Happiness is rather superficial.
But women find happiness in marriage. There is enormous social status for women in marriage. When they succeed in getting the man of their choice to commit to them, they acquire an acute sense of their own value, which makes them happy.
Motherhood has huge social status. When a mother talks socially about her children, everyone has to listen politely. She is the expert on her children and no-one knows better. By talking about how to bring up children she has acquired, out of the blue, great knowledge about how the world should be constructed and governed. This makes her happy.
On the other hand, marriage and fatherhood give men responsibility. Men must accept the responsibility for working full time for a lifetime to provide for the family. This gives life meaning. For women, working full time, part time or not at all, are items on a menu. The woman chooses what she wants and she can change her mind as the fancy takes her.
The woman can choose what makes her happy because the man accepts responsibility for her and their children and he provides the basic structure for her life.
The woman imagines she has high social status and looks down on the man. She is not grateful to him for the happiness he gives her.

Graham Swan March 28, 2019 Reply

Tony, there are quite a few thoughts to chew on here, but I personally think you may be generalizing. As an example, I don’t feel Roma fits any of the characteristics you mentioned. (Or if she does, I am blind to them.)

You mention people being expected to politely listen when a mother speaks about her children, but I think teaching and guiding children is the most important work many of us will ever have the opportunity to participate in. Discussion of children or parenting is an extremely important topic.

You mention women having the option to work, while men are expected to work, but I think this is partly a product of certain generations and is different today then it was previously. Today, there are many stay-at-home dads who are happy to serve in that way so their wife can work. Furthermore, I think raising children is perhaps more difficult and humbling than any out-of-the-home job, but I acknowledge I am lacking experience here and may be wrong.

I respect your thoughts, but I think we may be drawing on different pasts and upbringings here. 😅

Tony March 29, 2019 Reply

Dear Graham,
Indeed what I said may not apply to Roma at any level. I should have made that clear.
Also I should have made clear the distinction which I hold between generalisations and conclusions. For example the literature shows that men are more interested in things and women in people. That is a conclusion.
I confess that I do not know how many stay at home dads there are. Not enough for me to have met one and attempt to assess whether he had any choice about his role or how sustainable he finds it.
Yes – I do understand that raising children is extremely difficult but to say it is more difficult that going out to work is only feminist dogma. Why make this comparison? Who gains what as a result?
I know I am a geriatric old git but my perspective is not from an older generation. There are many young authors and YouTubers with a similar standpoint, such as Peter Lloyd, who is your age.
I do apologise for the tone of this. It all sounds a bit blunt when I re-read it. We are constrained by an IT format which renders things cold and impersonal. I am sure you know that I am debating this with you as a friend and sending to you with my warmest regards.

Best wishes, Tony

Graham Swan March 29, 2019 Reply

Of course, no hard feelings at all! Communicating with text alone is difficult, but given our relationship, I understand you are debating and discussing, not accusing. 😊

Personally, I disagree with the conceived war between men and women and choose not to pay much attention to it. I believe God designed men and women to live and grow together, to help and encourage each other. I’m confident that if we choose to serve one another (instead of fighting for equality in relationships), both sides can find wonderful comfort, joy, and purpose in that.

But I also understand our hearts are full of selfishness and choosing to serve one another is far from “easy.” 😞

Tony March 29, 2019

Dear Graham,
Your comments provide a fitting conclusion to our debate. Many thanks.
Best wishes, Tony

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