My Response to Marriage Skeptics
I was listening to the weekly Sexy Marriage Radio podcast this morning, and the hosts brought up a common refrain from marriage skeptics:
How can you expect me to stay happily married to the same person for 50 years?
Let me pause for a minute and plug the SMR podcast. If you’re married, you should be listening! They are Licensed Therapists/coaches with decades of experience helping couples have great relationships.
Also to note, they are Christians, and their advice and perspective follows their faith. Please don’t think that means it’s a tame show, because they tackle some intense topics and aren’t afraid to challenge some of the church’s prevailing views on intimacy!
Anyway, back to addressing this complaint about marriage.
The male host cited a pithy response he’d read online. I believe it was John Piper’s website he quoted, but I could be wrong. He said, “I’m married to a different woman today than the one I wed all those years ago!”
That’s a true statement. We all change, grow and (hopefully) improve with time. None of us are the same today as we were yesterday.
Many relationships founder on these changes. I know of several couples who ended their relationship because the partners had changed. For them, the tension caused by the changes drove them apart instead of together.
This tension doesn’t necessarily spell disaster. On the contrary, as was quoted above, this tension of becoming new people could be a source of excitement and energy in the relationship. Essentially, we have an opportunity to be married to many “different” people just by appreciating the growth and maturity of our spouse over the years.
How cool is that?!
A simple change in perspective could make the difference in whether a marriage stays together or falls apart.
Now, while I think this is true and good, it’s not the reason my relationship has lasted almost 20 years. Nor is it what will get me through the next 30.
No, it’s not stubbornness either. (Though some who know me might think that!)
What has kept me happy and satisfied in my marriage is that I’m in love with who my wife is on the inside. It’s the core of her self that I fell in love with all those years ago that hasn’t changed — that’s what I always come back to.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.- Proverbs 31:30 NLT
Her looks can change. Time does that. Having kids does that.
Her view of the world can change. Maturity adds depth to our understanding of what happens in and around us. It shapes us and makes us different from one day to the next.
Our roles and relationship dynamics can change. After having several kids, she made the choice to stay home instead of working. Our egalitarian dynamics have transitioned into more traditional gender roles. The tension that arises from this shift has caused its fair share of conflict.
But, despite all of these major shifts, who she is has remained the same. And I don’t ever want it to change!
Want to make it last…and last…and last…?
My advice is to find someone you love soul deep. Marry someone whose soul shines like gold, and they will be a treasure to you for all of your life.
They will inspire the best in you.
Their inherent worth will keep you fulfilled.
Though everything about your relationship changes, you can cling to each other, soul to soul, and find comfort and contentment.
That might sound hokey to someone whose skeptical, but it has worked for us so far.
And it worked for both sets of my grandparents, each married for 50+ years. And, it’s working for my parents and my wife’s parents, each married 36+ years.
A decades-long marriage doesn’t have to be dull and lifeless, as so many think. It can stay strong and bright if you take time to find the “gold” in your partner!