Archive for June, 2011

Virtual Marriage

June 21, 2011

It seems everything is virtual nowadays.  Relationships become more shallow by the year.  Texting replaces a call.  A facebook message replaces a letter.  E-cards replace cards.  We hardly talk face to face with anyone.  And along comes virtual marriage.

We used to call it “shacking up”.  Now they call it “trying out marriage”.  Being a roommate before being a mate.  And about one in four couples are doing this.  Why, I wonder?  Where is the love?

Men have always dragged their feet at commitment.  They like the idea of a back door to escape out of whenever things get tough in a relationship.  There’s also the “grass is greener” mentality, where commitment shuts the door on the possibility of a better partner.  In this mentality is a kind of childishness–thinking solely of self and not the “other”.  Certainly its not love.  However, even such men do not like the idea of the woman having an affair on the side.  Whats ok for the gander isn’t ok for the goose.  Not all men are this way, however.  A man can mature and truly love, becoming a very caring, protective committed husband.   He learns to love, and recognize the benefits of marriage.

Women need something else.  Women long to be loved and cherished.  They need exclusivity to feel secure.  They don’t really open up and blossom without knowing its permanent.  They want to love, to build a nest and a future and a family eventually.  What is different now?  Men haven’t changed, but women have.  They are settling for less.  With their own careers they might feel less financial incentive to marry (although married couples do better financially than singles).  With more reliable birth control, they may feel they no longer have a reason to hold out for marriage.  But whats in this virtual marriage for women?   Their very basic needs for love and security aren’t being met in this arrangement.  They give their best years to a man who doesn’t love them enough to commit to them.  They don’t have a real marriage, because they can’t risk being who they really are: they aren’t secure enough.  They postpone childbearing many times because of that insecurity, sometimes too long for their biological peak.  And in the end, when he does bolt for that back door or greener grass, they are just as devastated as they would have been with a divorce.  Living with a man who is uncommitted is unrequited love, and thats just letting oneself be used, doing nothing of value for the loved one, and devastating for the self.

God knew what he was doing.  He made men and women for each other.  He knew men do best with a family to care for; that it brings out the finest qualities in them.  He knew women do best when their love is returned, and their relationship is secure.  And so he made one man and woman to live for one another, exclusively, for a lifetime.  And they are fruitful, raising chidren, and mentoring grandchildren.  And all cultures that endure have accepted this.

Fathers Day

June 21, 2011

I absolutely loved the “Peanuts” Father’s Day cartoon.  Charlie Brown admits his dad can’t golf or bowl as well as Lucy’s dad, but when he goes into his dad’s barber shop, no matter how busy it is, his dad gives him a big smile because “he likes me.”

Dad’s do two things no one else can do in a child’s life.  Dads, whether worthy or not, portray the heavenly father for their children.  A cruel or abusive dad portrays God as an angry, punitive father.  A dad who teaches the child character and morals, while patiently helping them learn to make decisions, set goals, do their best, challenge themselves, and love with real world love, gives them a picture of a God they can love and desire to know.

The other thing Dad’s do is like their kids.  Kids know their mothers love them unconditionally.  Dad’s approval has to be earned.  When Dad teaches his child what to do to be a worthy human being, forgives them when they fail, but insists they have another “go” at it to do it right, they earn his approval.  While he critiques them, he doesn’t reject them.  Such a dad gives his kids real confidence, honest and realistic confidence, and they live for his approval.  Such kids are achievers, and they are secure knowing “my dad likes me.”  They also see the model of a God who has standards, yet has compassion, and who likes them.