Friday, February 1, 2008

Lately I've been thinking a lot about marriage. What makes a good marriage? What is the definition of a good marriage for that matter? Is it that the couple are happy and living relatively peacefully together? Is it that they've raised a passel of Christian warrior types? Is it enough that their children went on to establish relatively happy households themselves? Or if their children bomb out, but their marriage was still together and peaceful, is that still a succesful marriage?

R. and I will be married for 20 years next fall. All in all I think we've been pretty happy. If my kids went on to have comparable marriage, I'd be pretty happy for them, I think. But I'm defining my definition of a good marriage on the fact that we are pretty happy together, get along well, still enjoy being together and all that. Is that enough? Or is it selfish to see it that way? Like should I look at how beneficial to society our marriage has been?

I wonder what was it about us that has made our marriage pretty peaceful and happy compared to other people we know. Especially I wonder because we did not follow almost any of the forms that are put forth in a lot of Christian and especially homeschooling circles. And other people we know who were much more careful aren't always quite as happy. Human nature is an interesting study, isn't it?

We feel a lot of responsibility to be involved in our children's choices. We really, really want to do a good job, not just leave them to themselves in the most important decision they can make like we were. But I feel conflicted about what is most important.

What traits to look for?

Pride. God save my girls from a prideful man. Or my boys from a prideful girl, for that matter..Pride is a very scary thing. It not only is a vice in itself, when you are afflicted with it you cannot get help for it or any other problem you may be dealing with. The pride itself keeps you from any improvement in any area that it would be detrimental to your pride to admit fault. Plus it's obnoxious and makes everyone else miserable.

Resentfulness.There are so many opportunities in a marriage to make "lists" against each other. Not a formula for happiness.

Self control. Self control is how we protect ourselves and others around us from our own sin nature. We all have temptations, but it won't matter what you are tempted with if you never act upon it. This is one trait I need more of. :(

Contentment.. None of us gets everything we want. How do you deal with it?

Ability to laugh, especially at oneself.

I find all these extensive lists interesting. Are they realistic? Is an extensive list a sign of high standards? Or is it a sign of perfectionism that could be a problem in itself? Is it a bit much to expect all these traits to be fullfilled in one person? I know, it depends on the list.

Just some random musings that I was chewing on during my walk today. You input is completely, happily welcome!

And as an aside-WHY can't I find the place where the image is put into my template? On Homeschool blogger it's really easy to find and change on the html but I can't even find it on blogger and I want to center it or repeat it or something...


Joyce said...

This is a great topic, Kerri.
Rick and I have been married for almost 26 years. We were in perfect agreement, Bible-wise, when we wed, but you know - I still have SO MUCH TO LEARN!

I agree with you that PRIDE is the big thing to watch out for. God opposes the proud, and a proud man or woman just will not repent of whatever it is they are doing/not doing.

This is just such a big subject! Wish we could just sit down, as couples, and TALK about it!

Marbel said...

Well this is such a huge subject but one thing that comes to mind immediately is the need for both husband and wife to agree that one person has to be the head of the family. Of course in a Christian marriage that is the man. I suppose there might be people in happy marriages where the wife is the acknowledged (or unacknowledged) head. But there has to be a "tie-breaker" and that person has to have the best interests of the whole family at heart.

Both my husband and I have been married twice. (First very ill-advised, very brief, no kids, no long-lasting entanglements.) We both knew what we did and did not want in the 2nd marriage. We are very well-matched and it is impossible to look at our histories and not see God's hand in our coming together.

Mrs. Darling said...

What makes a good marriage? When hubby unties the strings to the pocketbook! tee hee.

Hey when it comes to kids I learned with my oldest that there really seems to be little we can do if they decide to do their own thing. Now when I pray I pray this:
Lord, help them grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men. Amen.

mykidsmom said...

Great post- the things you listed really are "big" things to consider when choosing a mate. I'm amazed that I found such a good man,considering my parents thought that's the ONLY kind I would find at a christian college- I definitely know better than that! I am almost at the point of wanting to do the arranged marriage thing. One thing that hubby and I made sure of was that we had the same ideas on raising our kids, probably one of our strengths. By the way, I was so impressed with your oldest when I met her. She was so sweet and modest- I would be very happy to turn out a daughter like that.

Marbel said...

Sorry, back again. Commitment. In fact my husband and I were talking about this tonight. I'd love to see divorce stats on homeschool families. I bet they are low because both marriage and homeschooling require high levels of commitment.

Susan in Elk Grove said...

Ever since our 3 girls were wee ones, I've prayed that God was (and is) preparing a Godly husband for each of them. The day before DD#1 got married, I gave a letter to her fiance with words to that effect, plus other expressions of encouragement and thankfulness for him. After the wedding, in the foyer of the church, he gave me a big hug and thanked me for it. :-) *sniff*
God is good.....all the time!

LynAC said...

I agree with the repentent thing. God blesses those who have repentent hearts. None of us are perfect. I haven't seen a perfect marriage yet.

I think probably the same things which make a good Christian make a good marriage. After all, the marriage is supposed to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and His church....

kerri @ gladoil said...

Joyce-I'm so thankful that when my husband and I had to make a big theological shift we did it at the same time. God's grace for sure!

Marbel-I kind of think about those little 'signs'. My husband and I had a ton of them, so that we really felt it was the Lord's leading when we got married, even though neither of us had any real authority figures to guide us. That protects us from thinking that maybe we made a mistake during the hard times, we know we have to keep at it because we know God brought us together.

Commitment is important, and does carry through the hard times too, but I was thinking of what makes people companionable after 20 years or so. Commitment would be pretty dry if that were it..

mykidsmom-thank you for the compliment! I am pretty happy with my girl thus far-though that isn't bragging because I know it is all God's grace and the fact that she got my husband's more even temperment. If my kids got mine they'd all look more like O. :)

I'm not to sure about the arranged marriages though. I think that may be going to far in the other direction. Well, especially in the case of a boy. If he is old enough to be thinking about getting married he probably ought to be old enough to be receiving his direction from God and not be in COMPLETE submission to his parents. There is a balance either way, we all ought to be open to direction and imput. But I know a lot of times we have had to say to R.'s mom, "we hear you, but we're doing something else." and I'm glad that I have never had to deal with her that way, but R. always has. You know?

Lyn-I've also been thinking a lot of it is the same with brother and sister relationships. Like don't argue over stupid little things, be willing to give the other person their point, be generous..

Mrs D. a little generosity does put a little oil in the gears, aye?

Susan-I really, really wish I had done more praying along that line earlier. I'm doing more of that now.

Marbel said...

Ah yes, commitment alone would not be quite enough, would it?

The ability to laugh at the absurdity of life. We are doing that a lot right now. The ability to feel "together" even when sitting across the table reading different books, silently.

Knowing and acting on what makes the other person happy. Like in those "love languages" books. Which I think are bogus because I don't recall ever reading about "good meals" as someone's love language, and that is the case with someone in this house.

kerri @ gladoil said...

Oh, that is sooooo true! Food is very much a love language here. "If you love me you will cook for me." And it isn't mine.. I had to learn that one.