Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

What I Did for Love

February 14, 2016

“If any of you wants to be my follower, He told them, you must put aside your own pleasures and shoulder your cross, and follow me closely.”  Mark 8:14

How many remember the title of this post as a song?  That might be dating yourself, as its quite an old classic.  1975, to be exact.  It was from the Broadway play “A Chorus Line”.  It isn’t about love for a person, but about what one is willing to do to reach a goal or fully realize a talent.  Much sacrifice is required for greatness.

Why are there not more Olympic records broken by Americans?  Why are there not more great scientific discoveries by Americans?  Why are there not more great inventions by Americans?  Why are there not more Americans with advanced educational degrees?  Why are there not more Americans with lifelong marriages?  Why are there not more Christians doing truly great things for God?

I think Jesus provides the answer in the quote above.  To be Jesus follower will cost you.  Oh surely, He had many fair weather followers, and many quiet, hidden followers, but for the disciples who would physically follow Him everywhere He went, the sacrifice was very great.  It meant leaving home and family, familiarity, comfort, bed, meals, security, and so on right up to giving one’s life.

By the way, the answer to all the questions in paragraph two is the same–too much sacrifice.  We always have people who admire or envy those who achieve greatness, but they do not achieve all of which they are capable or all which they dreamed, because they felt the sacrifice was too great.

 

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One Man and One Woman for a Lifetime

February 3, 2016

“Don’t you read the Scriptures?”  he replied.  “In them is writted that at the beginning God created man and woman, and that a man should leave his father and mother, and be forever united to his wife.  The two shall become one–no longer two, but one!  And no man may divorce what God has joined together.”

No human made this up.  It was not the church or the culture, or any wise humans.  These were the words of Jesus.  Humans have throughout history tried every conceivable way of doing the marriage relationship differently than this.  But just as we have only one life, we, in God’s eyes, have only one marriage.  If we protect our  marriage, nurture it, constantly strive to improve it, exercise it, and keep it healthy, it should last our lifetime.  Unlike our bodies, marriage tends to improve with age–that is the reward of all the striving to understand, forgiving, giving sacrificially and growing it requires.  Nurture the love, nurture the spouse, and put more into it than you put into career, children, hobbies, etc.  All those things change, but the marriage was made to last.  Long married people will tell you there is nothing as satisfying and rewarding as “old love”.  You have made memories together, you have achieved things together, you hopefully have children together, and now you smile and laugh at things together as you remember them.  You have learned to treasure your differences, you have fewer misunderstandings, you know one another as no one else does, and you enjoy each other.  You have each other’s back, and you know you will take care of each other.  This was what God originally intended.

A monument to Self

August 22, 2015

The tower of babel was a proverbial “last straw” for the Lord, who confused the people’s language and caused them to become scattered.  People often wonder what that was really all about–the people were unified and working together.  Isn’t that sort of peace just what God would find pleasing?  Well, it wasn’t the peace that concerned God, it was something else.  One translation says it this way:  “The people who lived there began to talk about building a great city, with a temple-tower reaching to the skies–a proud, eternal monument to themselves”  (Genesis 11:4)

It wasn’t the unity of the people, and certainly  not peace, but it was their pride in their own accomplishments–a pride that found no place for God.  Human pride soon leads to catastrophic ends.  Humans who believe themselves to be utterly wise, soon undertake things they know too little about–to the detriment of humanity.  We have seen endless medical catastrophes undertaken by those who have too little understanding of the long term effects of what they are doing. The courts are full of malpractice cases, particularly against drug companies and medical supply companies.  What about the unleashing of atomic energy–what a double edged sword!  Endless examples exist not only from medicine and science, but social science experiments as well.  Look at what the “one child” policy has created in China, for example.

No, human pride in self apart from God is rebellion.  We need ask ourselves more than “why does God intervene?”  We need to ask ourselves how much of that human pride exists in our world, our country, and in ourselves.  We have decided we will determine for ourselves the meaning of everything–personhood (abortion), marriage (alternative marriage), life (euthanasia), gender ( politically correct gender bending, including 13 gender possibilities), rights (the silencing of anyone who offends anyone)  and on and on we go.  Does anyone care what God thinks?  Anyone??

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.

Unequals in Love

October 27, 2009

The bible has said Christians are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  A lot of Christians take exception to this teaching, believing it to be overly harsh.  This is especially true when the Christian is in love with an unbeliever.  At that point love trumps every teaching and the Christian in question believes love will solve everything.

Love is powerful.  But is it love when the core of who you are, your Christian faith, is rejected by the one you love?  The real you is neither known nor valued by the person you love.  You don’t share your deepest thoughts with your beloved because they aren’t understood.  You don’t share your deepest feelings, for they aren’t appreciated.  You close off your true self from your loved one and not only is there not any deep unity, your own soul begins to suffocate.  You make compromises for the relationship.  You give up some of what sustains you, for the sake of peace.  You do things that cause you vague feelings of shame, for you have compromised your integrity.  The relationship that is left is unsatisfying on the deepest level.  You may still love in an altruistic way, but you lose your own self.  “What does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose your own soul.”  –Jesus

A Wife’s Prayer

January 1, 2009

Lord, help me be a better wife.  Help me always keep my husband’s needs on the front burner.  Help me be aware of his needs.  Let me “listen with the third ear” to whats really behind what he says and does.  Let me be very slow to react that there might be time for your Holy Spirit to get through to my heart and I react lovingly rather than with defensiveness, impatience or alarm, all of which are about me and not his needs.  Help me be his very best, trusted friend.  Let all my words be spoken with love.  Lord, change me.

by Marie

Zelda

August 28, 2008

I just finished the book “Zelda” by Nancy Milford.  Its actually about forty years old, and I read it about forty years ago, although it means a lot more to me now that I’m older.  Zelda wasthe wife of the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.  They evidently were quite a pair in their day–always hitting the headlines for something outrageous.  She was the Brittney Spears or Madonna of her day, although she was not an entertainer. 

Zelda was raised as the much spoiled baby of the family.  Her father rarely paid any attention to her.  Her mother doted on her, thought everything she did was charming, paid much attention to the daring, or sassy things her daughter did as though they indicated genius.  Zelda was a young woman with no sense of purpose in her life other than to attract attention and to do things for effect.  It helped that she was very beautiful and intelligent.  She married F. Scott Fitzgerald when she was still a teenager, and his fame and wealth came too early for either of them to handle.  The marriage was almost doomed from the start.  Scott Fitzgerald was wrapped up in his writing and his friends.  Zelda was expected to fend for herself when Scott was writing, which really went against her grain.  She was always the center of attention in her family and hometown.  She had never learned to make real friends, but instead saw people as an audience to be worked.  She had a child while quite young, and because of their wealth was able to have nannys for her daughter, hence never really developing a significant mother-daughter attachment.  She had an affair of sorts during one particularly busy summer of writing for Scott, and that was a turning point for the worse in their marriage. 

Scott, for his part, was so wrapped up in his writing and his friendships he failed to see Zelda as having needs.  She was supposed to be available to him, but not need him too much.  As time went on, partying and alcohol became more and more of the fabric of their lives, and their lives became emptier.  Zelda was very jealous of Scott and began to try to have something in which she excelled so that he wouldn’t in any way be superior to her.  She tried and exhausted herself trying to be a ballerina, when she hadn’t the talent for it.  She tried writing, and indeed she and Scott became enemies, fighting over who owned the history of their lives which they were both using as their writing material.  Eventually they were destroying each other.

The authors premise was that Zelda was suffering from a “boredom of the soul”.  She never seemed to have a purpose other than her own promotion and her own pleasure.  She always said she was an eternal flapper.  To her a flapper was someone who always did whatever she wanted and took risks to get whatever she wanted.  Ultimately the utter selfishness, along with heavy drinking, slowly became her undoing.  The authors premise was that a person who draws so far into themselves that their communication becomes understood only to themselves goes mad.  Zelda did.

How to Save Marriage and the Nation

June 15, 2008

The foregoing series of articles shows how marriage, stable families with both a mother and a father, and having children are essential to a healthy nation.  What has to happen so that marriage and the family–and America–can be saved.

1.   As a society, we have to begin to value the family.  Starting with “no fault” divorce, the family has taken all the hits in favor of individual freedom.  We have to begin, as a society, to value the institution of the family as something that benefits every single one of us.  We have to realize that a family and a family line are something worthwhile and worth sacrificing to achieve.   We have to realize that individual freedom doesn’t exist in a vacuum, that freedom comes with responsibility because each of our individual choices affects the society we live in.

2.  We must value children.  We must begin to believe, truly, that children are good for us.  They teach us as much as we teach them.  They grow us and mature us as people.  They become a real asset in our lives as they grow into adulthood.  It must be recognized that our societies tendency to see children as a nuisance and an expense is very, very shortsighted.  In that vein, it would be useful to resurrect the concept of selfishness, which seems to have been forgotten.

3.  We need to value heritage and generational families.  As we value the young, we must also value the old.  As we show love to our parents and grandparents, we teach our children the value of family, of love, faithfulness and care.  It innoculates them to living solely for “self-fulfillment”.  They will never find the love and security of family life in any career or pursuit. Maintaining close relationships within the family offers security to each generation, and is an antidote to all the anxiety, lack of identity and frantic activity of the world outside the family circle.

4.  We need to value domestic life.  Quiet evenings and weekends within the family circle, with time to really talk to each other are to be cherished.  Nights and weekends of frantic activity don’t satisfy the need to just be together and leave children overstimulated and undernourished.  Hopefully, as the price of fuel rises, families will “just stay home”, and find their fun and their joy there.

5.  We need to teach the above values through the schools and the media.  After all, we taught the materialistic, hedonistic, striving  values we have now.  We taught kids to fight for stuff and “success” (whatever that means) and to devalue people and relationships.

6.  We might consider government benefits to make the financial costs of raising children easier, but as has been seen in the Scandinavian countries, generous benefits don’t raise the birthrate very much.

7.  We need to do everything possible to promote stable marriages.  We need to make fatherhood (and motherhood) heroic in the public eye.  We need to keep fathers involved with their children. 

8.  We need to teach kids from the earliest grades how to communicate and how to nurture relationships.  We  need to teach them as much about living together and being a family as we teach them about sex–in fact, we need to teach family living a whole lot more.

9.  We need to get off the “self-fulfillment” bandwagon as a nation and go back to the idealistic days of “doing good”.  We turned “self-fulfillment” into narcissism, and we need to be heroic again.

10.  So far I have made no reference at all to religious belief.  While many have denounced the motives of pro-family advocates as “intolerance” and “religious bigotry”, it is quite plain that pro-family values show a benefit to children and the society.  Religious people believe God invented marriage.  In that case, God knew better than we do, what is good for us.  If God had been silent, the wisest among us should have invented pro-family values ourselves.

What Ultimately Happens When Marriage Dies

June 15, 2008

Separating parenthood from the protection of traditional marriage has repercussions.  Sweden was the groundbreaker for many forms of non-traditional marriage.  Today in Sweden the marriage rate is only one third of what it was in the 1940’s.  Sixty percent of all first children are born to non-married couples.  Since these couples break up at two or three tiems the rate of married couples, this makes the children of these relationships a very high risk for the fluidity that causes problems. 

Sweden is a socialist state with many government incentives to have children.  Mothers are able to take paid leave of absence of 12 months when they have a baby.  They can return to their jobs at 3/4 time for the next 7 years!  The government makes up the difference.  Dads can take a 3 month leave of absence at full pay.  Still, despite all the incentives, the Swedish birthrate is only 1.75 per woman.  It needs to be 2.1 at least to maintain population replacement.  Lacking a cultural value placed on family making, the government can’t even pay people to have enough children.  Where the values in a culture are placed on individual fulfillment and where marriage and parenthood are separated, the rates of both marriage and parenthood fall.

America stands about 20 years behind Sweden, and is definitely on the same downward path.  The marriage rate here is also falling and the out of wedlock pregnancy is rising.  The overall birthrate is falling here, as well.  Gay marriage is beginning to be accepted, further eroding the link between marriage and parenting.  The society is aging with the “birth dearth”, making us an older, less energetic, less growth-producing society.  The most productive age group is becoming a smaller portion of the whole, and definitely smaller in relationship to the older “entitlement” group of adults.  The economy will slow and contract as taxes to support the entittled take away from revenue that would support growth.  The nation will become less wealthy than it is today.

Gay Marriage Can’t Solve the Baby Bust

June 15, 2008

Its a no brainer.  Homosexual unions can NOT produce children.  The only way they can nurture children involves an artificiality of some sort.  Gay men must either adopt or use a surrogate.  Using a surrogate involves, well, using a woman.  Forever after, a child must live with the “why did she give me up?” question that haunts adopted children.  At least adopted children can comfort themselves with the reasoning that in her circumstances she had no choice and did the best she could for her child.  The child of a surrogate has no such comfort.  It was a monetary transaction and the child was essentially sold.  There are enough relinquished children who are suffering such mental anguish to ever justify doing this through a calculated plan.

What about gay men adopting?  Anyone who has studied adoption knows these children have attachment and identity issues.  To raise them without a mother adds yet more trouble to their lives.  To have no mother is the worst kind of loss, and two dads can’t equal a mother.  Adoption was created to fill a need in a child’s life, not to meet a need for the adults who want children.

Similarly, a lesbian couple can only adopt or else have a child by artificial insemination.  In either case, one or both mothers is an adoptive mother.  In addition to the traumas of being adopted, these children grow up without the hope of a father in their lives, and without the knowledge of who their father is (in the case of artificial insemination).

To the radical feminists who believe men are optional, just look at the problems in other communities where families lack men.  In those places, two women raise the children: mom and grandma.  Mom and grandma have a closer bond, a longer history and a more stable relationship than two lesbians do, yet they can’t manage the kids who have no dads: the rebellion, violence, gang activity and promiscuity.  For a look at kids without dads, just visit the poorer parts of the city.

In addition to all of the above, opposite sex children of either gay or lesbian partners face rejection from their parent’s community around the time of puberty.  Daughters of gay men don’t know how to fit into straight society, or even Lesbian society, for that matter, yet no longer have a place in their Dad’s community after they cease being little girls.  Similarly, sons of Lesbian partners face the situation in reverse with their mom’s community.  Artificially created families and radically insular societies create identity and socialization problems for children.