Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Is your marriage more than fizz?

How is your marriage these days? In a recent blog post, Pastor Jim Martin wrote that people often view marriage like an icy cold can of coke. You pop the top, hear the fizz, drink in a satisfying beverage, and toss away the empty can. Your thirst returns, you see another can of coke, and the process begins again. Martin writes, "Are we to be a people who just look for the next cold can that promises some fizz? Or do we know that marriage is more than fizz. Fizz is nice. Yet, marriage is much more than fizz.

All around us are people who flaunt the possibility of fizz. Again and again, men and women are seduced by this possibility. It could be that a woman is attracted to this possibility because she is being ignored and neglected by her husband. It could be that a man is attracted to another woman because he attracted to the possibility of fizz.

Marriage is more than what I can get out of it in any given moment."

Maybe a better way to view marriage is like a good bottle of aged wine. The wine-making process that leads to a smooth, buttery, glass of Merlot involves cultivation, pruning, harvesting, crushing, storing and aging that over time results in something richer and more complex than simply a glass of sweet grape juice.

My wife and I lament the fact that in my family of origin, my dad left my mom and went off searching for the "fizz" of the early years of their marriage. Sadly, he missed out on the richness of life with a spouse that comes through the shared ordinary moments of life: the joys and challenges of raising children, learning to live with one another, building a life together, sharing heartache and laughter, conflict and oneness.

Why do you think so many people are unwilling to persevere through the less satisfying seasons of marriage when their patience, commitment, and hard work can reap a rich intimacy that builds over time?

1 comment:

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I'd like to blame popular culture, movies, books, etc., that get you as far as the wedding, and no further. How many fairy tales do you see about the first 10 years of a marriage? None. Fizz is more exciting than wine, I guess.

But somehow I think that blaming pop culture is skimming the surface. For generations, divorce was very difficult, sometimes impossible, to attain. Some people deserted their families. Some people stayed in unhappy marriages. And some people stuck around and discovered happiness in the deeper joys to be had with truly finding a life partner.

I doubt there are truly fewer happier marriages than ever, just fewer unhappy ones. People now have the option to leave.

But unhappy marriages weren't really what you were talking about, were they? Instead, I think you're talking about a desire for what the Greeks called Eros, that passionate early love that brings us together and propagates the species. Of course we all look back fondly at that time in our lives. But at the same time, when I was in that time of my relationship, I looked forward to now. To being married for (almost) 20 years, feeling comfortable and settled and safe with each other. To loving him more deeply, even though we don't stay up until 3am drinking tea and talking most weekends anymore.