Friday, August 27, 2010

The Seasons of Marriage

As I've reread marriage articles lately, I've see that in the comments section some people assume from the practicality of an article that the author isn't "in love" with her husband and perhaps never was.  For surely if she were in love, the article wouldn't be so full of "shoulds" and "try tos".

I've also noticed that young marrieds and never marrieds can get depressed reading the practical advice and warnings of seasoned marrieds.  To them, it all seems so hopeless and cold and full of hard work.

I remember as a single woman hearing two married women laughing about how they'd rather have a Big Mac hamburger than have sex.  I was floored.  What!  How can that be?  What's wrong with these women?  Single people of course spend a good amount of time lamenting about their lonely, sex-deprived status.

While I'm not fond of hamburgers, eleven years into marriage, I do understand the sentiment. Women tend to get bogged down in day-to-day struggles with children and homecare responsibilities.  Sex is wonderful once it starts, but the problem for many women is settling down enough for the mood to overtake us--overtake us enough to initiate sex, even.

There is a time in pregnancy--usually around weeks 11-14--that I want sex so badly I initiate it nearly everyday.  We've both wished the libido of those weeks could be captured and bottled!

The bottom line?   Seasons of never-ending responsibility kill libido for women, which is rarely the case for men.

This can all be explained to a single, childless woman, but until she is living it, it seems preposterous.

The same is true about the seasons and depths of romantic and agape (sacrificial love) love within a marriage.  My husband was my soul mate for the first several years of marriage, but right now, we are both severely fatigued emotionally by underemployment, lack of couple time, the special needs associated with ADHD, and by parenting young children without extended-family help.

There is no doubt in my mind that the soul mate status of our union will resurface.  Those feelings aren't dead; they're just buried for a season.

And so, articles about marriage must be practical if they are to prepare couples for the inevitable valleys.  When you're deep in a valley you need encouragement to work at your marriage for the sake of your legacy, for the sake of your commitment to God, and for that blessed fiftieth anniversary day, which will come if you do love, even when you don't feel love.  

In the valley you need reminding that, no, you didn't marry the wrong person.  You married a sinner.  A sinner uniquely placed in your life by the God of the universe, to make you holy.

Because of our ages we may never reach fifty years.  But we will grow old and shriveled together, God willing.  On our final day together, it will be as though we'd made it to the top of Mt. Whitney. Our love will have depth and beauty--the likes of which we can only imagine.  I envision it as the highest, most evolved form of love experienced on this earth.  

And I also envision the God of the universe, who designed the hiking trail up to Mt. Whitney, saying to us, when we arrive in Paradise:

"Well done, good and faithful servants."

Ecclesiastes 3
 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

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