Friday, 27 April 2012

A Business Model and Marriage - What do They Have in Common

I have recently given some thought to the idea that instead of vows which few couples seem to be taking seriously that perhaps we would be better to have the pre-married couples write a mission statement, a vision statement and a values statement.

      I.                  A mission statement is a statement of the purpose of a company, organization or marriage.  The mission statement should guide the actions of the marriage, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making.  Pick “A” or “B”.

A.    To complete us, to experience self-actualization, to enable us to reach our maximum potential and to achieve maximum happiness.

B.    To glorify God.

    II.                  A Vision statement outlines what the organization or marriage wants to be, or how it wants the world in which it operates to view it long-term. It concentrates on the future. Pick “A” or “B”.

A.    We want a marriage that will be admired by all of our friends.  We want to exemplify what a truly fulfilled couple looks like, for as long as possible.

B.    We want to bring praise, honor and glory to God by the way we conduct ourselves in all aspects of our lives.

  III.                  Values are beliefs that are shared among the stakeholders i.e. the couple. Values drive the culture and priorities of and provide a framework in which decisions are made.  Pick “A” or “B”.

A.      We believe that truth is relative.  We believe in capitalism with a social conscience. We value a good education and a strong work ethic.  We believe that man is basically good.

B.    We believe in a marriage and a family (if possible) in which God is at the center.  We believe Scripture is the inerrant Word of God and it provides the guidelines by which we will live our lives.  We believe that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God but that God demonstrated His own love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

So what do you think?  Is it better to pledge before God, the pastor and your friends that you will remain committed to one another in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer and then bail when it is not working out?  Or would it be better to be honest and just acknowledge that you are in this relationship for as long as it meets your desires, expectations and wishes?

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Develop Some Common Interests

I’m convinced that if your spouse is also your best friend you are probably going to have a good marriage, at least a seven on a ten point scale.  One contributing factor is that you have at least some of the same interests.  Often this is what brings friends together.

This is not to be mistaken for what we claim to enjoy while we are dating.  Women who have never watched one snap of a pigskin sit glued to the TV because the guy she really likes is into football.  The guy who wouldn’t be caught dead shopping at the mall is willing to spend hours with his girl friend looking at women’s shoes.

If your marriage is seeming a little stale and/or you are not feeling as though you and your spouse are connecting look for some common interests.  If it is something you both do or have done in the past it is easy.  If however you have not discovered any common interests over the years, each of you make a list of things you think you would enjoy doing and/or learning.  It could be to learn a board game like Scrabble; to learn a foreign language; to take a cooking class; to learn to scuba dive; to go bungee jumping; to go hiking; etc.  Perhaps you share an interest in a particular topic and you could read a book and discuss it.

Again this should be something that you would mutually enjoy and not something that is particularly well suited for one of the partners.  So if one of you is ultra adventuresome and the other ultra conservative bungee jumping may not be a good option.

His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem.
Song of Songs 5:15-16

The Bible’s great love story – the Song of Songs, acknowledges that these two were not only lovers they were friends.

Monday, 23 April 2012

A Cord of Three Strands

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Gen. 2:24

There are many people in our culture in the US who would have their own “Amplified Version” of this Genesis verse. It would read something like “For this reason a man, who would still like to act like a boy and play with his video games and watch sports as often as he’d like, shall consider leaving the comfort of his parents home, and be united to his wife, who would prefer to spend her time at the mall, and they will become one flesh when it is convenient, with the exception of separate checking accounts, separate vacations with friends, and separate friends.”  These couples will struggle because this is not what God had in mind when Moses penned Genesis, most likely these individuals will remain self-centered.

Perhaps a healthier verse to camp out on would be found in Ecclesiastes 4:9,12 which states, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work..Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Here the emphasis is that two are better than one (whether they can live as cheaply as one is debatable). Such a couple is hard to defeat and almost impossible to defeat when God, the third strand, is at the core of their marriage.  These couples have shared values.  Often they have drafted a vision for their marriage and a mission statement.  These statements are subject to change as God brings new challenges and opportunities into the couple’s lives.  Most likely these couples will have a marriage that glorifies God and will be other centered. 

Here’s the good news.  Regardless of how your marriage may have started out, or where you may be along the continuum it is not too late to adopt a marriage that has God at the center.  It is not too late to draft a mission statement and a vision statement for your marriage.

If you have children it would be great to have a family meeting at which you reviewed with the entire family your vision for your marriage and your family as well as a mission statement.  This would be an invaluable teachable moment, a chance to tell your children what you think is important and how they fit into the picture.  How fantastic would it be if they started out their marriages by penning such documents?