Sep 242014 0 Responses

There’s More to Life Than Marriage

Marriage isn’t everything. It’s important. It’s a major thing, but it isn’t everything.

We live in a day in which society is downplaying the importance of marriage. False stats are purported (hint: your chance of divorce is not 50%), definitions are changing, and the importance of a lifetime commitment is often mocked.

Many people undervalue marriage. This is why I spend a lot of time writing about its importance, pleading for spouses to take it seriously, and highlighting the value which comes when we hold marriage in high regard.

To undervalue marriage is to devalue spouses, downplay the destruction which a bad or broken marriage causes, and destroy any possibility of a healthy relationship. (See: I May Not Be Married Tomorrow)

There is an equal, yet opposite mistake when it comes to marriage.

It is an equal mistake to over value marriage—to exalt it above what it was created to be, to expect things from it which it can never give, or to assume it is the answer to life’s greatest questions or needs.

If society often undervalues marriage, the church often over values it.

The intention is good. Seeing the destruction which comes from broken relationships and desiring to see people live out their commitments, the church is tempted to overstate the importance of marriage. The hope is that by making marriage sound even more important than it is that people will do a better job to live out their vows. (See: Why a New Spouse Rarely Leads to a Changed Life)

Sadly, over-valuing something does not empower others to do better. It actually has an opposite effect. Instead of helping marriages, it hinders them.

The danger of overstating the value of marriage is that it creates a standard which no relationship can experience.

Marriage is meant to be a deeply meaningful relationship. Yet it’s not supposed to be a person’s only relationship; it doesn’t have to be dramatically more refreshing than every other friendship.

Marriage demands more time and energy, but it shouldn’t demand an excessive amount of time or energy. Life is busy. We should give adequate time to our spouse, but we should not be expected to spend an excessive time with them.

Marriage can be a tremendous source of joy and satisfaction. Yet marriage isn’t the only source. A person can live an extremely fulfilling life having never been married. There are many advantages to the single life and many reasons why a person would willfully choose to refuse marriage. (See: Pastoral Advice for Single Women)

Marriage is great, but there are many more things to life than just marriage.

When I think about my six-year-old, I hope he grows up to experience marriage and fatherhood. I hope he commits his life to being a good and faithful husband. I want him to experience a close connection with someone in the same way that I experience a connection with my wife.

Yet I have more dreams for him as well. And if my hope for him to one day be married is not his desire or God’s plan, that would never mean his life is less than mine. It would simply mean it was different in some ways.

There are two ways to miss the meaning of marriage. We can undervalue it and never give it the time or attention it deserves. But we can also over value it and create an ideal which no relationship can never fully fulfill. (See: Is It Dead or Dormant?)

A better plan is to see marriage for what it is. It’s a foundational part of society which many will enjoy. Those who choose to make the commitment should work diligently at the relationship and greatly appreciate the opportunity to share life with another. However, we should never expect more from marriage than it offers.

Marriage is wonderful, but it’s not everything.

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