Friday, 7 December 2012

Grading on a Curve

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33

In my life time I have logged a good number of classroom hours.  I always felt relieved when the teacher or professor said they were going to grade on a curve.  Even though I was usually helping to lower the curve it gave me a sense of false confidence that perhaps I could earn a reasonable grade.  This became increasingly difficult as I went on to graduate studies.  There was no curve and an “A” began over 93 percent.  Thus I was unable to help my fellow man, by setting the bar low as I had done in so many of my previous classes.

One of my absolute favorite classes was a New Testament survey course.  The professor told us when we would be having quizzes and exactly what would be on them.  He did the same thing for the final.  His rationale was that he wanted us to learn material that he deemed important.  He usually included an essay question that would allow the over achievers to differentiate themselves.

So what does my pathetic academic record have to do with marriage?  Let me connect the dots.  I recently read a blog that suggested that couples should reflect on their marriage and ask themselves “Is my marriage all I thought it would be?; How does my partner measure up?, etc.”  In a way this is grading your marriage on a curve.  You are subjectively and arbitrarily setting a bench mark to which you are comparing your marriage. You either compare your married life to your preconceived notion of what you thought it would be like or to the marriages of couples whom you know.  To set the bar really low you can take solace in the fact that you are not among the fifty percent of couples who divorce. 

Now back to my New Testament survey course.  God, not unlike my professor, wants us to learn specific things about His marriage course.  He doesn’t’ want us to spend needless hours wondering what it takes to get a good grade in marriage, i.e. have a marriage that is joy filled and that brings honor to Him.  In relatively few verses He provides the answer to the question, “How can I be the husband / wife that God has called me to be?”  Ephesians 5:21-33; 1Peter 3:1-7; and1Corinthians 7:1-16 provide most of the answers you will need to do well in His course.  

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