Is Marriage Obsolete?
This weekend I had a lot of mixed emotions. I was glad to get some downtime with my family. My husband and I enjoyed spending time together with our 2-year-old daughter. She continues to amaze us with how fast she’s growing! And we enjoyed a nice dinner at a hole-in-the-wall soul food restaurant with my in-laws after church on Sunday. (Why is it those hole-in-the-wall places have THE BEST food?)
But I also heard a lot of bad news about people who are very close to me. I heard about a good, honorable man whose fiancé broke up with him for no good reason, about the perfect couple filing for divorce after less than one year of marriage, about couples who had been married for more than 20 years who are now on the rocks or who have divorced without their friends knowing! My heart was heavy as I thought about the pain that each of these people must be going through.
I was even more shell-shocked when I read the results of the recent PEW survey: Almost 40% of adults said that marriage was “OBSOLETE”! In plain English, 4 out of 10 adults said that marriage was out of date, old-fashioned, and not necessary any more.
If you are single by choice, I bless you and support you in that. But for those who are married or who want to be married, I have a message for you.
Love is a battlefield! But all is NOT fair in love and war. Especially when you don’t know who your REAL enemy is!
When I asked our Facebook friends what they thought are the biggest challenges facing married couples today, the answers were interesting and heartfelt. Sex. Money. Lack of good examples. Adultery. Lack of commitment. A society that doesn’t believe in marriage anymore.
Even though I agree these are challenges that most married couples have to deal with, I’m convinced that there is an even more vicious enemy than any of these problems. And because most of us don’t recognize it, like the victims of the Pearl Harbor attack, we fall prey to it over and over again.
The greatest enemy of a happy, fulfilling, long-lasting marriage is what Steven Pressfield calls, Resistance.
In his book, The War of Art, he writes: Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.
You see, Resistance is the force that keeps you from living the life you really desire.
Pressfield continues: Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and erectile dysfunction.
It’s the voice you hear that says: You’re not good enough. No one loves you. It’s the fear you have that someday she’ll leave you if you don’t do everything you can to please her. It’s the belief you have that all men lie, and it’s only a matter of time before yours does. It’s the tone of your father’s voice telling you that you’re a failure and you’ll never amount to anything.
And though it seems to come from people, places and things around us—our spouses, our kids, our jobs—it really lives within us. Resistance does not want you to live the life of your dreams. Why? Because the life you have dreamed of is bigger than you. Your desire to be married is bigger than you. Your 20 years of marriage is bigger than you. It’s about the legacy you will leave on this earth.
So instead of fighting for the life you were destined to live, you listen to Resistance who tells you that you need to work harder or work less; that you should run and hide, or you should fight; that you should eat more, or lose more weight; that you should have an affair, protect yourself from men, avoid conflict at all costs, escape . . . the list goes on and on.
Because you don’t know that Resistance is your real enemy, you fight with your spouse, yell at the kids, blame your boss, or if you’re single, you sentence yourself to a life of loneliness, or worse yet, sabotage yet another potentially good relationship.
As Pressfield tells us, Resistance’s goal is not to wound or disable. Resistance aims to kill.
So how do you beat Resistance? One powerful weapon is forgiveness. Forgive yourself for all your mistakes and shortcomings and for believing the lies Resistance has told you. Then forgive others who have hurt you, lied to you, abandoned you, or neglected you.
Forgive your spouse for anything he or she may have done to harm you, and do it quickly. Do not let the sun go down on your anger because if you do, Resistance will have its way with you.
Tina, one of our Facebook friends who has been married for 26 years now summed it up nicely:
There is nothing under the sun that cannot be forgiven between two people in a marriage! There will be many hurdles to get over! That is what the older marriages had that is lacking today. My parents were married for 56 years before my mom died almost 2 years ago! LONGEVITY! You stay together good, bad and indifferent! Work it out! I have been married now 26 years. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I believe in you and I am with you in the fight against Resistance!