Monday, 24 September 2012

The Why of Marriage?

In a recent blog, Mort Fertel, counselor and author of the marriage counseling blog, asked the question “What is the purpose of marriage?”.  He explained that your view as to the purpose of marriage will impact your relationship with your spouse, particularly if you do not have a common view.  As one who has built his marriage counseling platform on the answer to that question I could hardly wait to read what he had to say.

Initially he addressed some of the primary reasons that people give for getting married.

1.    To make me feel good – “Sometimes people marry because they think marriage will lead to happiness. They think that having a spouse will ensure they never feel scared, insecure, and lonely ever again. They imagine marriage will mean they have a fun and active social life and will lead to ongoing marital bliss.  When people aren’t already happy with themselves, marriage won’t solve anything. In fact, it will likely lead to a lot of disappointment and heartache

2.    To keep you from feeling lonely – “Married people can certainly still feel lonely.                When people get married to fill a void, they may be disappointed and blame their spouse for not being able to fulfill their duties.”

3.     To have kids – “What happens when the kids are grown? What will keep you together then?”

Then Mort suggested that many Christians believe that the purpose of marriage is to make you holy and not necessarily happy, a message well articulated by Gary Thomas in Sacred Marriage.  He then suggested that each couple should develop a mission statement, defining for their marriage what they believe the purpose to be.

From my perspective 1 Corinthians 10 verse 31 gives us the answer.  31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”.   Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.

This is the vision I ask my clients to adopt.  The litmus test is simple because it is self-policing.  You can ask yourself “Did what I just say glorify God?” “Did my tone of voice bring glory to God?” “Did I glorify God by what I just did  (or didn’t do)?”  You will know with 99% certainty whether or not your behavior or words or thoughts would glorify God.

Would it change the way you and your spouse relate?  To quote an old TV sitcom – “you bet your bippy”.  (whatever a bippy is).  Can you imagine what your relationship would be like if glorifying God became the grid through which each of you processed how you relate? 

God asks no more and expects nothing less.

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