Friday, 29 April 2011

Is Your Marriage "Normal"?

This could be a trick question. Before you answer you may want to read Paul Tripp’s observation about “normal” marriages. Paul is a noted author and lecturer on the subject of marriage.

What is abnormal has become so normal that we live right smack-dab in the middle of it, and don’t realize it. So it is with many couples who would say that their marriage is okay. They think they have a pretty normal marriage, but they think this because what should be abnormal to them became so regular that it became the new normal and when it did, they quit seeing and hearing it.”

We own a grandfather clock. It chimes every fifteen minutes and dongs the appropriate number on the hour. Most often we don’t even hear it; we’ve become that accustomed to it. A visitor hears the clock immediately. Our abnormal has become our normal.

So it is with couples who rarely talk about anything of any substance, whose relationship mirrors more of a détente than a marriage of love, unity and understanding. Long ago they learned that certain subjects are taboo that emotions would flare at the mere mention of a topic. Intimacy is perfunctory and romance non-existent. Children consume much of the parent’s energy; there is no emotional connection; and the couple has no common sense of direction. Many of these couples would say that they have a typical if not “normal” marriage.

Maybe your definition of a normal marriage paints a rosier picture than the one I just painted but the sad fact is that our “normal” however we define it will look considerably different than God’s design for marriage. After all, God designed marriage to glorify Himself, it was to be a mirror image of God’s relationship to His Son.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if a normal marriage had the following identifying marks:      
• God is at the center. The couple prays together, worships together, serves together, and has regular devotionals.
• The couple is other-centered. Each partner is willing to put the desires and needs ahead of the other.
• The couple feels emotionally connected as they share feelings, dreams, concerns and ideas with one another.
• The partners are the best of friends.
• The couples view points of disagreement as opportunities for growth. They value one another’s opinions, they listen intently to each other’s perception of the issue and they arrive at a decision that glorifies God and respects their individuality.
• Intimacy and laughter are ever present companions.

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