One of my friends on Facebook posted the following:
“I was talking with a friend who has never been married. They said that they don’t understand people who say marriage is something you have to work at and that it seems that if a marriage is a lot of work, you probably aren’t compatible. I wasn’t sure how to respond to that… Thoughts?”
As I told her in my reply, what her friend said is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard.
Any relationship requires work – be that with family, friends, or romantic interest.
I’m not married, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that NO relationship is 100% smooth 100% of the time – despite whatever front some people put up.
One of my favorite movies of my generation is Fireproof. In the movie, Caleb Holt and his wife Catherine are on the brink of divorce. Caleb is being a terrible husband (which he comes to realize), and Catherine wants out of the marriage (understandably). Caleb doesn’t want a divorce. His father, John, loans him a book called The Love Dare. This book is full of challenges – things to do each day to strengthen the relationship. Caleb reluctantly agrees to go along with what he believes to be a hopeless campaign to save a dead marriage. What happens next, however, is the whole point of this post.
Caleb loved his wife, but he wasn’t putting the effort into his marriage that he should have been. Catherine loved her husband, but the relationship was nearly dead. They were not being a husband and a wife. They were co-habitating – and tenuously at that.
How many marriages, dating relationships, friendships, and even family relationships are falling apart from lack of effort? When people expect everything and give nothing, they should not expect relationships to last.
Will you always like your spouse? Will you always enjoy the company of your friends? No, definitely not. You will irritate each other and need time to cool down and forgive. Sure you could get mad and leave. That would be the easy thing to do. OR you could stay and work out your problems and strengthen your relationship. Did you catch that word? Work. No it won’t always be easy, but much in life worth having requires one to work for it. This is no exception.
How many of us are in marriages without being husbands and wives? How many are in friendships but are not being true friends? How many are simply related but aren’t a family? One is easy and takes little work. The other is hard.
A branch that doesn’t get nutrients from its tree dies and falls off. A relationship of any type that isn’t fed dies as well.
If you have yet to see Fireproof, I highly recommend picking up a copy. The acting isn’t the best, but that’s not the point of the movie. It’s an excellent discussion starter and may help you examine your own relationships before it’s too late.