Dec 012015 11 Responses

What I Hate About Marriage

I love marriage. If I could give an individual a gift, apart from a meaningful and vibrant faith, I would want to give people a committed, loving marriage. Few things are better than a healthy marriage. When a marriage is good, a couple can face nearly anything in life. When it’s bad, almost everything becomes impossible.

But marriage isn’t perfect. No matter how good a marriage might be, it has problems. No couple is perfect. Every relationship has strengths, weaknesses, and areas in need of growth.

I don’t hate that about marriage. The imperfections of a good marriage creates beautiful opportunities for learning and growth. When a couple creates a climate of safety, their imperfections can be embraced. It’s in our weaknesses that some of the greatest strengths of marriage appear. (See: You Don’t Know How Bad You Are Until You Are Married)

What I hate about marriage is in the bigger picture. The whole concept of marriage has major flaws. They aren’t fatal flaws. We don’t need to give up on the concept of marriage. But there are negative aspects of an otherwise positive institution.

Four things I hate about marriage:

1. It takes two to make it, but only one to break it. This isn’t fair. An individual can do everything right (not perfect) and still get divorced because their spouse chooses poorly. I’ve met people who could never imagine a scenario in which they would be divorced. They assumed if they made good choices they would have a great marriage. So they made good choices, but now they are divorced and confused. They never realized divorce can happen because of one person. (See: Two Times Never to Divorce)

2. Appearance isn’t always reality. Some of the most publicly respected marriages are actually the worst. Around others they can put on a great act, but at home they can’t stand each other. On occasion, some actually put on a PR campaign to give the appearance of health. It’s common in religious circles, among politicians, and others. They will post loving Facebook messages, pose for beautiful pictures, all while secretly despising one another. (See: You Aren’t the Perfect Couple)

3. A couple never fully knows to what they are saying “I do.” While this is one of the best parts of marriage, it’s also one of its worst. Whenever I do a wedding, I remind the couple they are making promises into a dark unknown. They are promising to love one another even though they don’t know what the future might hold. In most situations, this is a good process–we will love no matter what. But in some situations, it’s almost cruel. Early onset dementia, a tragic accident, mental illness are all possible experiences when a person vows to love until death do us part.

4. Even good marriages can end tomorrow. Months after my grandmother died, I was having a conversation with my grandfather when he said, “There is only one thing I don’t understand. Why didn’t God let me go with her?” After 70 years of marriage, my grandfather was grateful for everything, but if it had been up to him, they would have died at the same time. They did not. Few do. Nearly every marriage will end in death and the grieving spouse will be left to grieve alone. In times like this, the great moments of marriage help create the great sorrows. (See: I May Not Be Married Tomorrow)

I love marriage. Being married to Jenny is one of the great honors of my life. But marriage isn’t perfect. Neither our marriage nor marriage in general is perfect.

On a weekly basis I see couples suffering from one of these aspects of marriage.

What is one thing you hate about marriage?

11 Responses to What I Hate About Marriage

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