Friday, 15 February 2013

A Chicken and Egg Question

A recently published blog suggested that there are four main components that establish the foundation of a healthy marriage (The Marriage Counseling Blog). They are, in order listed, (1) a business component, (2) a friendship component, (3) a spiritual component, and a (4) romantic component.

While I would agree with the four categories I think that there is a definite prioritization of those categories if the marriage is to be truly healthy.  I think the spiritual component, more specifically a God centered marriage, is the most important building block.  Let me give you two reasons. The first reason is that it was God who instituted the concept of marriage.  It stands to reason that He, being the expert in relationships, would be the One we would turn to.

The second reason is that I am self-centered and so are you. 

As for the business component, let’s be honest because of your own biases you may not be as open as you would hope to be when it comes to talking about money management, delegating household responsibilities, child rearing and/or the day to day management of the household.  If you have truly committed those affairs to the Lord you will be more objective.

Even a friendship component can be self-serving.  A friend is someone we can relate to very well, they might be like us.  We enjoy their company, we enjoy doing things together, we enjoy laughing together and find we have many of the same interests in common.  In reality the friendship does something for me and to that extent I have a vested interest.  It makes me feel better about myself, it fills a void in my life, it keeps me from being lonely, etc.

The fourth category listed is also fraught with the possibility of being self-serving.  True the romantic component is what separates the marriage relationship from other relationships. It includes physical intimacy, emotional intimacy, and sexual chemistry.  These couples focus on one another; enjoy physical cuddling, holding hands and just being together.  But romantic love too can be self-serving at times.

Thus the only one of these four foundational components that is (a) not subject to manipulation and (b) has a direct bearing on how well you are able to be other-centered in terms of the other three foundational components is the spiritual, i.e. your relationship with your heavenly Father.  Get this component right and the others are sure to follow.

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