As I was driving
home from work one day last week, I had a simple revelation. It wasn’t one of those epic “Ah-ha!” moments, but more of a gentile reminder. The revelation was that marriage is important. I know this seems like an obvious declaration, but I found myself wondering why marriage is important. Other than tax breaks that come with marriage and family, there is often an emotional and psychological benefit to it. I do not wish to be insensitive to those that might have a troubled marriage. Nor do I want to shame those that have been through a divorce. I understand there are people that have no desire to get married. This is not a hit piece against divorce, celibacy, or promiscuity; this is a recognition of a simple truth regarding marriage and to an extent, family.
I found my mind traveling
to the start of the weekend. I would walk through the front door of my house (according to my GPS) at 5:56pm. What would await me? An exhausted woman at her wits end? My two boys arguing over a video game? A warm plate of food? A doting wife ready to cater to my every need?
It goes without saying that these things did not await me. I often come home to a wife that is tired from being one of the world’s greatest multi-taskers. To kids that had a fine day at school. Or, to kids that are wound up and ready to playfully wrestle or painfully fist fight. Dinner will be there eventually. Unless it is one of the nights filled with some kind of extra-curricular family activity. When I get home from work, I am often more mentally tired than physically tired. But let’s be honest, these are basically the same thing. My family requires my attention and sometimes it is hard for me to give it to them. As long as I can have a few minutes to relax, unpack, and de-compartmentalize, I am usually good to go.
My grand revelation
was that marriage is good. Marriage gives me something to look forward to and something to work on. It could easily be the ultimate self-esteem builder for me, because it essentially requires the esteeming of others first. If I am constantly seeking self-gratification, I will struggle. If I set my mind on serving, loving, caring, teaching, and pleasing the other, I will find (and have found) happiness.
It seems contradictory to instincts, but it is the same reason a monogamous man with an unusually high sex drive should be praised. It is the same reason a woman longing for deep intimacy that can still enjoy a house full of fart jokes and testosterone should be cherished. The instinct of the man with a high sex drive is to seek out sex, and the instinct of a woman that desires intimacy is to seek out intimacy. Marriage often requires that the individual set aside the self, even if momentarily, for the betterment of the other. If the self consistently and fairly focuses on the other, the needs of each will largely be met. The man should recognize that the woman requires intimacy, and the woman should recognize that the man desires a healthy sex life.
Of course, there are seasons
where roles might shift, and no two marriages are alike. Marriages have peaks and valleys and are subject to many factors outside of the home. I understand these roles or scenarios are generalities, but there has to be some truth to marriage being about servitude and sacrifice. These two words, servitude and sacrifice, often carry a negative connotation. They can be wonderfully applied to a marriage as long as both parties are honestly communicating about individual needs.
So rather than dreading that I will probably come home to some chaos after a long day at work, maybe I should keep it mind that I have the privilege of coming home to some chaos after a long day at work. It will give me an opportunity to be more honest about my needs while focusing on serving those that I share my life with. Even if I don’t feel like wrestling, I will kick my shoes off and bust out a Hulk Hogan-style leg drop. Marriage can be more than just be a battlefield of toys and arguments over the last slice of pizza, and it likely requires sensitive communication, raw honesty, and a little rough-housing along the way.