Marriage Rubbing Against Time

October 25, 2008

I don’t know much about marriage.  Actually I pretty much know nothing.  But I, unsurprisingly, have been thinking and reading a lot about it recently; trying to untangle the essence of a truly good marriage.  I have been observing couples that seem to still like each other, and couples that seem more at ease when the other has left the room.

            One of my favorite things that Don Miller has written says this, “We are sharpened or dulled by the way we rub against time”.  I think this is most easily seen in marriages, couples either cherish each other in their 50’s or they make fun of each other.  Do you know that couple?  Where the wife will roll her eyes while her husband is talking and whisper to you, “this is just so like him”; as if you’ve known him for 30 years and are equally unimpressed.

            That depresses me.  To see a couple know each other to death.  Having gone into marriage so wanting to be known, risking their souls in the hands of the other, and in the culmination of their knowledge grow annoyed.  Why is it that some couples become so dull?  I think maybe those dull couples were secretly dull individuals to begin with, and when two dull people get together they become unstoppably boring.

            On the flip side of this, I see older couples that still laugh with each other rather than at each other.  Couples that are undeniably doing life Together, that are undeniably friends, and while they know each other to the point of near annoyance, they seem to still be discovering, talking, and learning.  These couples still seem to be interested in each other.

            Conclusions are for kids.  I have no conclusion yet.  Maybe, as post-modern as it sounds, there is no conclusion.


3 Responses to “Marriage Rubbing Against Time”

  1. Joel Says:

    Several months ago, I feel like the LORD gave me a revelation about the expression “familiarity breeds contempt.” I’ve been afraid to blog it not so much because of the backlash but because I don’t want to ruin a beautiful revelation.

    The basic point is that, IMO, folks who grow contemptuous of each other are content with their ideas of each other and, for all of their smug self-assurance, they really don’t know one another. They’re too cowardly to risk actual intimacy. They’re too stupid to imagine that there’s a way of being other than their own.

    The very point of marriage–and why it is the metaphor of our relationship with YHWH–is diving unguarded into this dangerous adventure of intimacy. It definitely means confronting things you don’t understand (and, therefore, probably don’t like) in your spouse. It means embracing the fact that you’re attracted to someone whose ways you don’t ever quite get and can’t always justify.

    I’m so thankful that Deb and I were so different . . . and that, by the grace of God, we got past the mere pain of conflict to achieve the greater joy of our differences. And I can honestly say that as I embraced our relationship and embraced Deb, she kept being more beautiful, and more new and mysterious, and the relationship was more life-giving and fulfilling as time went on.

    I love the way you end this post, Mike. It gets at a core truth of marriage that the embittered couples just don’t get. One of the messages of monogamy is that it takes more than a lifetime to truly know and achieve complete intimacy with another human being.

    God grant that those embittered folks who give marriage and heterosexuality (even the very word hints at the joy of diversity) a bad name will receive the grace of God to recognize (and know the daily, on-going revelation of) the beauty of the one He has gifted them with.

  2. molly. Says:

    i LOVE your honesty in this post. it leads me to believe that YOUR marriage will be delightful. the very fact that you’re asking this question means you are different from those disgruntled people who live within a frustrated, and even selfish, marriage.

    conclusions aside, i can absolutely tell you that there is hope in the following things. God loves marriage and wants you to have a marriage that is all the things he designed it to be. and if that’s what you’re aiming for, it can happen – with work that you choose to do.

    looking forward to talking about such things at lunch next week.

  3. janessica Says:

    Unstoppably boring. Let’s be the opposite of that 😉

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