This is the final instalment on the fourfold purpose of marriage from the chapter Temporary Insanity, in the book What Every Woman Should Know. To view the rest of the chapter, you can purchase the book at Writeious Books. I hope this conclusion will answer any questions you had remaining from my previous blogs and the forerunners to this one.
To recap, then, there are four general purposes for marriage. One is systemic or functional, one is sacramental, one is symbolic and one is sanctifying. Only when I step back and get a higher perspective of these things does marriage start to make more sense, become more clear and more important.
A strong marriage will reflect all four of these. Hopefully, when it is all said and done, I will recognize marriage was worth the crucibles, the struggles, challenges and heartbreaks. With this awareness, I can improve my performance.
Here are some of the ways the husband and the wife get hung up. We’ve seen what the groom is supposed to look like, but how do wives say husbands actually appear? They consider the groom to be self-serving, demanding, dishonest, unfaithful, unprotective and controlling. Wow. Ouch! Quite a lot of difference between what the groom should look like and what he does look like.
And so much for the perfect bride. The groom says the bride is contentious, unrealistic, hard to please, spiteful, worldly and demanding. Congratulations! Well, one day the groom will rescue the bride and she will be delivered and radiant in her new, perfect body, and there will be a wedding feast celebrating the union where the couple will be together for eternity.
Until then, maybe I could stay alert and try a little harder. Where do I start, though? First, I need to become more realistic. I need to combine everything I am learning regarding the purpose for marriage to start with. I need the realization that the role of my spouse isn’t to keep me happy. Second, I need to become more sensitive. I need to see when my bad habits are affecting my spouse and when I am bringing out the worst in him so I can make alterations in my habits and behaviors. Third, I need to pray with him more and to build stronger lines of communication.
It is all a lot of work. Ongoing work. Doesn’t-happen-over-night work. It takes effort on both parts. I think women realize the pressures on a man are great. But can I walk through the life of the bride on earth? Once married, her focus is on pleasing her husband, her longing is for him to be satisfied with her. This is important to her. It is also important to him. Her attention is centered around him, his desires and needs. He is almost always aware of what his body wants, always ready to have these desires met.
It is a rare man that actually has his wife’s best interests in mind. He is too busy thinking about his own. Then, when children are born, they always have demands. The mother-wife spends her time waiting and serving her family. There is little time left for her. If she has a lot of kids, forget it. There is no one to look after her. If she has a job, she is then serving to please yet someone else. If it is a full-time job, wow! What a load. Add the wants of the extended family, the church and friends! Mix in some of the hormones that enter from the monthly cycle, pregnancy, post-pregnancy and then menopause. I am stressed and tired just from imagining the day as I write about it. I need to catch my breath.
I saw a verse in Proverbs claiming that a man “who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” But Proverbs has something else to tell a man regarding women. Proverbs 21:9, “It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” And verse 19, “It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and vexing woman.” Proverbs 27:15 also speaks of the contentious woman, “A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike.”
Women are known to be quarrelsome. But I truly believe, generally speaking, husbands play a part, chiefly because they have selective hearing. Reviewing the two lists of common complaints above, I see how when mixed together one stirs up the other. And the taste is very unpleasant. I cannot imagine having this taste in my mouth for, say, twenty years. How about forty? Fifty?
I cannot imagine how many unresolved issues of contention that might be hauled around, and the resentment these issue can bring. When I can recognize my resentment, then I can deal with it. It must be dealt with if I am to move forward, if I am to become quiet in spirit and uncontentious. It will take some time, though. I should be ready to ride the onslaught of unforgiving waves.
Written by Jori Sams