I just finished watching a movie on TV titled “Parenthood,” which, although it has a few raunchy parts and things I don’t agree with, overall, it contains some positive messages. One message is the one I want to share with you. It concerns the ups and downs of marriage.
Before marriage, for some reason, we get lulled into thinking that once we get past the wedding, we will experience a natural uphill climb, as far as it goes with the growth of our love relationship. What we usually find is the opposite to be true. Left to it’s own natural bent, we’ll discover quite a different journey.
In the following clip from the movie, you’ll see Grandma telling a story about the ups and downs in life. In this clip, it’s referring to parenthood. But you can also apply it to marriage. Please view the following Youtube clip to see what I mean:
The message the Lord gave me, concerning the Roller Coaster ride of marriage, is two-fold.
1. When you get on any type of roller coaster, you’d better make sure you’re committed to riding it out. Because once you get on, this “ride” is not designed to stop at any point in which someone wants to get off. You’re to ride it out to the end. There is total commitment involved. If you don’t want to be totally committed to hanging on and getting through it, don’t get on in the first place.
(Yes, I know there are extenuating circumstances where abuse and deception can change things in marriage, but as a general rule, too many couples are not riding it out, as they vowed to. They want off when it’s no longer “fun” or when the “fun” has worn off and they believe it won’t come back again —which isn’t usually true. And even if it was, why make the vow if it’s tied to fluctuating circumstances?)
Which brings me to the next point the Lord revealed to me:
2. Experiencing ups and downs are all part of what happens. If you want to play it safe, just stay on the Merry-go-round of life and don’t allow yourself to fall in love and get married. Love and marriage is messy. It just goes with the nature of the whole thing!
The average marriage has a lifetime of highs and lows, even when and especially when, you work on it. (If you don’t work on it, usually you experience some highs and eventually more and more lows, until you hit the doldrums or rock bottom.)
But if you can take another visual example of love and marriage, the following, from Dr Steve Stephens’ book, “Marriage: Experiencing the Best,” is another good way to look at this issue in marriage:
“Relationships go up and down while love comes and goes. Someone once asked Alan Alda, the famous television and movie star, how he managed to have such a long and successful marriage. His answer was that most relationships begin with a ‘vibrant’ love, but soon fade into ‘utter discontent.’ It is easy to give up and forget that ‘love returns in waves… you just have to wait it out.’
“Alan Alda was right; love is like the tides of the ocean. Sometimes they come in and the passion is high. You feel the love and the relationship is wonderful. Then there are times when the tide is out —sometimes way out. The relationship is dry and lifeless. The love is gone.
“You look out at the sea and wonder if the tide will ever return. But if you’re patient and stay at the beach, the waves will again crash on the shore. The excitement and romance will return. You will feel love again.”
Of course, there are always exceptions to every “rule” (especially when your “partner” quits) but I believe sometimes we’re so impatient because of uncomfortable circumstances (and sometimes downright confusing and frightening ones) that too often spouses jump out of marriage and land headfirst, complicating everything all the more!
I’m reminded of something Dr Norman Wright remarked about in his book, One Marriage Under God: Building an Everlasting Love:
“In Thornton Wilder’s ‘The Skin of Our Teeth,’ a character named Ms. Antobus says, ‘I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage.
“‘And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them —it was that promise.’
“That’s a great example of what a commitment to marriage looks like. It’s a promise made and kept by two imperfect people —with flaws, faults, and character weaknesses.”
I hope we’ll keep this in mind the next time we’re experiencing the ups and downs (particularly the “downs”) of marriage.
It might be good to ask God, “Is the an ebb or flow of marriage, we’re experiencing?” And if it is, ask Him to show you how to hang on and do what is right and what it takes to “ride it out” until you’re are able to get to a better place in the flow of life and marriage.
In our marriages, may we persevere, as God would have us, and FINISH WELL!
(If you want a little more help in this, please prayerfully go through the web site with God as your guide. One article, which you might find helpful is, Survive and Grow Through the Seasons of Life. Hope it helps!)
This blog is written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.
Filed under: Marriage Blog