Monday, 3 June 2013

Neglect


Paul & Virginia Friesen
In their newly released book, The Marriage App, Paul and Virginia Friesen offer the following analogy: “More houses are destroyed by termites – which, gone untreated, eat at the structural elements of the house while the outside continues to look just fine- than by earthquakes, hurricanes, or tornadoes.  Most houses that deteriorate don’t collapse from a catastrophic event but from a lifetime of neglect.  And so it is with marriage.”


This analogy hit particularly close to home for me.  To begin with I have a bug phobia.  It matters not how big or small the bug, the thought of any bug makes my skin crawl.  Secondly my wife and I just paid approximately $60,000 to have our termites exterminated.  This is a very long sad story with which I will not burden you, suffice it to say I understand how termites can go undetected, doing significant damage while the outside of the home looks just fine.

Termites are incredibly small and most often so are the issues that begin to eat away at our marriages.  Some of these issues surface shortly after we get married but because we are in the “honeymoon” stage we try to overlook them.  Perhaps we bring a number of subconscious expectations to the marriage, i.e. what the honeymoon would be like, that our partner knows there is only one way to squeeze the toothpaste, that windows should be kept open a crack even in the dead of winter to facilitate sleep, etc.  The list is endless.  If the wife’s father was handy she expects her husband will be handy.  If the husband’s mother doted on him and pampered him most of his life, he will expect the same from his wife.  Our chronological age and the culture in which we grow up also help to shape our paradigm of what marriage will be like.

The “marriage termite” takes the form of self-centeredness.  This termite exists within all marriages, to a greater or lesser degree.  We want our way, we have desires that need to be met, we want to be happy, we want to be fulfilled and we look to our partner to provide what is missing. Second Corinthians 5:15 tells us “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”  The “he” is Jesus.  He died because we live for ourselves.
 
Unfortunately it is easier to exterminate termites of the bug variety than termites of the marriage variety.  However, God’s Word does provide instructions for ridding your marriage of this pest.  The primary eradicator of the marriage termite is a willingness to become other-centered

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