Novel Approach to Marriage

Two nights ago, we went to the long-awaited, much anticipated wedding of the century (okay, so maybe that’s a bit of an over statement). Some church friends, Chris Hopkins and Allison Julian, um, I mean, Mr. And Mrs. Christopher Hopkins spent the last several months planning and stressing over the comparatively short proceedings that took place. Nothing blue about this event (except maybe a color in the wedding). It was every bride’s dream. Everything went off without a hitch. Though the pressure and excitement of the day may begin to fade, it is but only an introduction. They can now begin to write the many remaining chapters of their compelling fairy tale. And the first chapter looks to be hot n’ heavy––the honeymoon. They are going to Jamaica, where the temperature is very hot and the island is very heavy (have you ever tried to lift it?). What were you thinking, gutter brain?

Anyway, as I sit here to write this, it seems that marriage tends to mirror that of a real book. A mirror image at first glance is the same, but closer examination reveals a different story––the image is actually inverse. For example, when you raise your right hand while facing a mirror; the image appears reversed––as if it is raising its left hand. Marriage today unfortunately follows a similar pattern. There are basically four parts in a novel: conflict, plot (rising action), climax, and resolution (aka, the grand finale). Typical weddings start with a gala ceremony of grand finale proportions (resolution), followed by the honeymoon (climax––no pun intended), then life happens (plot and falling action, in most cases) and finally, and all too often today, ending in conflict (have you seen the divorce statistics these days; and that doesn’t even account for the couples who are still married “in name only.”) It’s almost as if we have started reading the book from the back.

Well, it’s high time we start doing our part to ward off the looming marriage crisis by rewriting some of the pages in the book on marriage. I’m not suggesting that we change the existing arrangement––it’s still okay for a marriage to begin with a grand wedding celebration. What I am suggesting is that the same meticulous, methodical approach used to plan the wedding go into the marriage. Months and months of planning with hours and hours of time spent, even on trivial details, most of which wouldn’t even be noticed if it wasn’t there or that won’t be remembered 20 years down the road anyway. Every penny strategically and painstakingly spent (and overspent) to achieve maximum benefit. Rigorous standards set and expected so that nothing is out of place. A ceremonial church wedding with God as the cornerstone. All this for a single day yet such little regard to the “rest of forever” that you’ve just committed to your spouse.

What would marriage look like if time was used wisely? A notable amount of time being spent on seemingly minor details important to your spouse. Quality time with your spouse on a regular basis. What would it look like if money was stewarded well and debt was averted? What if the standards for marriage were audaciously high? In fact, what if it is so detestable when something gets out of place that it inspires you to do better? What would it look like if God played as big of a part in the marriage as He did in the wedding? What if He was actually treated as the Lord of the marriage instead of as some sort of genie, at your beck and call when you have a material want or things get really tough? And guys, don’t think you’re off the hook just because you aren’t typically a large part of the planning stages of the wedding; this applies to you all the same. What if you gave as much attention to your wife as you give to SportsCenter . . . or golf . . . or whatever curtain you hide behind?

What would marriage be like if we applied the wedding-planning mentality above? Marriage would be like a rock instead of being “on the rocks.” Maybe this is just the twist that your story needs. Let’s turn the page and start writing a new chapter!

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