There are so many stories on Medium and all over the internet on why people shouldn’t get married. Why you can’t trust people and why this “institution” is outdated. I have even seen PHD’s say that group marriage is the way to go. Really?? Our hearts were made for so much more! What I intend to cover in this article are my experiences, thoughts and research on why marriage is good and even necessary in society. You may agree or disagree, but this is my perspective. Here’s some background.
There are people who are anti-marriage that seem to me to be speaking from their woundedness and tend to communicate using this as their base filter. They view life through pain and injustice. I personally know enough people who are in this boat to know this is a very real issue. In many cases they have not healed from their wounds (past abuse, neglects, betrayals, poor examples….). Case in point. If a person has been abused by a trusted authority figure, that person can grow up hating all people who are in authority. Then, many of their philosophies and their very lifestyle can be skewed in the direction of hating an entire sect of people. If this abuse occurred in the confines of the family, then marriage can look very bleak. From an emotional standpoint, this makes sense because this is where the abuse occurred. But too often, a picture is painted in that the person does not know they can move through the pain to find healing. That’s right. Confront the pain with forgiveness. Healing does follow. Peace does follow. As painful and real as the abuse was and is, one ought not stereotype and/or judge an entire sect of people. But all too often, we do not want to confront the injuries inside of us. So, they fester, take on a life of their own, and cause a host of other problems. Some of which are gross stereotypes and misconceptions about the people and institutions around us. This of course can carry over into the desire or repulsion towards marriage.
So, coming from this standpoint of real woundedness and pain, how can we be more objective and even loving towards people, even towards people who have hurt us? Not an easy path but for the sake of our own peace, one that ought to be explored. Books have been written on this subject and will continue to. This doesn’t mean you have to be friends with the people who have hurt you, or even hang out with them, but for your own peace, try to forgive. Again, if even for the sake of your own peace of heart and mind, forgiveness works.
We ought not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Just because our experience was poor doesn’t make an entire trusted, God-given institution bad or even outdated. On the flip side, there are plenty of people with bad family histories who deeply long to get married and have a stable, loving environment that they didn’t have. So why do some go towards marriage and some away? Good question.
Many of the articles I read and the people I have talked to that are against marriage seem have trust issues. Either the women don’t trust that the man will make a good partner (he will just want a mother-figure, will be lazy, unfaithful or abusive) or men don’t trust women to make a good, loving, kind, and supportive wife. Truth be told, there are many other factors that go into why people are drawn to or repulsed by marriage. Many times, our society plays a big role in forming who we are. Hollywood, pornography, the hook-up culture, identity issues can form false notions and ideas about how life could be. But all too often once these notions are attained, they ain’t always what they were cracked up to be. It’s like grabbing for gold at the end of the rainbow and it just vanishes into thin air. In fact, human hearts were not made for such “lifestyles” and many regret having gone down those paths. After all, they weren’t lifestyles, but big fat lies, real, fake mirages. Apparitions. Ghosts. Ok, that’s enough analogies. lol Truth be told, there is a real crisis of identity in our world. We don’t know our very selves! Once we find out who we were created to be, we are the happiest.
Many people are suffering from what I call “the grass is always greener” syndrome. Social media plays a big role in this false narrative. But as society addictively scrolls through social media sites, they tell themselves of others, “they look so happy”, but what is not shown is the state of those people’s hearts and minds. Appearances can be very deceiving. Again, this area is very extensive and many, many articles and books are being written on this subject.
So where does the institution of family come into all of this? Men’s and women’s hearts long for a sense of belonging, acceptance, love, and comradery. In my opinion and the opinion of many others, family is the best place to get that. In fact, the family is the basis of all society. If society is not made up of families, mark my words, the government will take the place of family. That never makes for a good situation. So, these trust issues, as real and difficult as they are, can be helped through healing, forgiveness and allowing trust to be rebuilt brick by brick. This way our hearts can be more integrated into other people’s lives and into society in a purer way. If we don’t learn how to forgive, people will continue to be divisive and hateful. Once forgiveness enters into a heart, relationships heal, become more dynamic and trusting and allow for greater outreach to others. Family is all about the other.
Having been married for almost thirteen years I can tell you what marriage has done for my heart, for the heart of my lovely wife, and for our children. Both my wife and I brought woundedness and baggage into the marriage. Everyone does. There were trust issues, selfishness to overcome, wounded pride to be nurtured, and other wounds that we can inadvertently transfer onto each other and even our children. Throughout my research, no one is exempt from this phenomenon. But that doesn’t mean that marriage is too difficult or should be avoided. No, just the contrary. Both my wife and I wanted someone to love, nurture, and spend the rest of our lives with. There is real stability in this! There is real love in this! Yes, there are real arguments as well, we never pretended to be perfect people. But we try to love deeply and forgive quickly.
In our experience, when we are at our best, our marriage is a stabilizing and loving commitment which overflows to our children. Being married makes us all feel safe and loved and cared for. It provides a vehicle for us to do things as a family, create traditions, and just share our lives with each other. But that begs the question that is on many people’s minds, how do you know that the one you are married to will stay with you, will not cheat on you, will really dedicate their life to you and your children? Again, trust! There is no easy or one-size-fits-all answer to those questions. Why do people do the things they do? There may be an infinite number of reasons why. It comes down to how you decide to live your life as an adult, keeping the good things of the past and shedding yourself of the toxins and building new loving, experiences along the way. In my mind, this is a life-long pursuit. Here’s how my wife and I handle issues of trust.
When my wife and I met, she was a widow and I was just a single guy, but in my heart, I always longed for a steady, loving girlfriend. She, on the other hand, longed for a “hand to hold”. The problem was, prior to us meeting, I had no idea how to treat women. Of course, women like to be treated differently (as do men) and I can’t stereotype here. But looking back, this was a fact. Again, I can only speak to my experiences. There was a time in my life where I just reacted to situations and didn’t really observe what was going on around me. I had no idea how to be proactive. Being present, observant, is a big key to healthy relationships. I was truly lost. But before I met my wife, I met someone else. This person really taught me how to love. Taught me that I was lovable. Taught me that life was much more precious that I had formerly realized. This person taught me how to trust. Again, forgiveness played a key role in rebuilding trust and learning how to love again. I will reveal who this person is at the end of the article.
Coincidently, my wife had also met someone who taught her similar attributes. Deep trust, love, and companionship. Since we both had these separate, life-changing, experiences, we were ready to come together, and we eventually met and started dating.
We met on a dating website which was very convenient. We were also at a point in our lives where we were ready to take things seriously, with the right person. That is key, marriage has to be with the right person. The dating website allowed us to find out more about each other without having to meet in person. It worked for us. Once we both saw the similarities we had, and we chatted on the phone and decided to meet up in a public place. We actually met at a library! I have to say however, our faith played a huge part in our lives, and still does today.
The last part I will touch on is our faith. For us, trust, forgiveness, healing, love, hope, and such all stem from this, from God. We both say, if we had met before we believed in God, our relationship probably would not have worked out, or lasted. Chances are, we probably would have never even talked to each other. So, how do we know that we married the right person?? I can tell you this story. I once asked a trusted mentor of mine how he knew that one is called to marriage. He asked me, “Have you ever gotten hit by a bus?” I just laughed but he repeated, “No, have you ever gotten hit by a bus?” I had no idea what he was talking about until I met my wife-to-be. From the moment we started talking via email, I felt incredibly drawn to her. In fact, I felt that I already knew her! I never experienced anything like this before. I now know what my mentor meant! I had been “hit by the bus”. The experience was not fleeting, was not merely emotional or intellectual, but included both and grew and grew and grew. A deep welling of true love had begun in our hearts. It was out of this world indeed. For my wife and I, we knew for sure that God had brought us together and through faith we discerned that no one else could take each other’s place. Faith is a gift that God is dying to give everyone! But again, through woundedness, ignorance, etc. we reject Him. My wife and I are both converts and there was a time we were agnostic/atheists. We know life from both sides of the tracks. We are never going back.
By now you probably have figured out who this “person” was that both my wife and I met independent of each other. It is Jesus Christ. As I said before, there was a time in both of our lives that neither of us believed in Jesus. Wow, what a game-changer. For us we could have chosen to stay stuck in our respective miseries and pains, but we chose to respond to God’s promptings and say yes to healing and life-altering love! If you haven’t already, you can too. Don’t let misconceptions keep you from loving deeply again! Ask to be set free!
So, this is our story of how we know we can trust the one we met is the right marriage partner. Marriage is from God, it is not from the government or the state. And trust me, with God we still struggle, but He helps us along in large and in little ways.
Don’t have faith? Ask God for it. I always tell non-believers, leave the door open just a crack to the possibility that there is a God and that He really loves you. Otherwise, you can live your life like there is no God, but things are not as dynamic and are much more confusing and darker. At least it was for us. Last note, God the Father is neither male nor female, He is a Spirit. If you have a father wound, a poor earthly father figure in your life, you may be afraid to approach God in this manner. You may carry a lot of anger with you. Take a step out in trust and ask God to reveal Himself to you in a loving and caring manner. It can change your life and your life’s direction for the better, now and forever. Know that right at this moment, you are deeply loved!
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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The post Marriage Is Out of Vogue but Was Made To Be Incredibly Good appeared first on The Good Men Project.