Sunday, August 14, 2011

Responsibilities and Priorities in Marriage

The "daily grind" is the tedious monotonous pattern of daily work. It is doing the right thing, day in and day out.

For a woman, it is changing diapers, emptying the dishwasher to load it again, it is raising children oftentimes not seeing ultimate rewards but only facing challenges, it is rushing through the grocery store with children in tow and then unloading groceries to then take them out of the refrigerator to cook a healthy meal with and cleaning up, only to wake up the next morning and repeat the monotonous performance.

For a man, it is pulling yourself out of bed to face a backstabbing work environment where you are only as good as your last performance and know you can get kicked out the door at any time. It is coming home exhausted to fix things that broke in the house, face a mound of bills, and stretch a dollar.

It is flossing, and arbitrating fights, doing what your family needs and not what you would rather be doing, it is cheering your kids on in their activities and teaching them to help the underprivileged. It is selfless and exhausting.

In the generation prior to mine, when responsibilities were overwhelming, there was only one answer: keep at it - you have mouths to feed and vows to live out. You have a home to maintain and a boss to keep happy so you can keep your job. When it got to the point where inevitably you asked yourself, "Is this all there is to life -- plodding through without appreciation... working to wake up to work again..." the STABILITY of commitments resounded from everywhere around you to keep at it...

Today it is a different story. Media fills "desperate housewives" with trash -- men are portrayed as able to live duplicitous lives with lovers AND wives. Voices call people off the paths of responsibility like never before, and it is accepted and encouraged...

Four of the things that are most common in calling people off the path of responsibility in life are: Ego Needs; Romanticism; Extramarital Affairs; and Pleasure.

Ego Needs - Both men and women appear equally vulnerable to the powerful desire to be admired and respected by the opposite sex. Many who become entangled in an affair often do so because they want to prove they are still attractive to the opposite sex - that someone enjoys hearing them talk, finds them sexy or exciting. These desires are drawn from the core of one's personality, and can make a sane person act in foolish and dishonorable ways.

Romanticism - Many wives, especially when married to busy men - crave romantic encounters. Movies capitalize on their cravings, and depict unrealistic romance in affairs. People crave romantic excitement in their lives.

Extramarital Affairs - The lure of infidelity is everywhere. Men and women both are solicited by the opposite sex without regard to their marital status. People aren't even asking for commitment -- many are content with an exciting "fling".

Pleasure - Fun and games and just a little bit of fun can become a major attraction to leave the life of responsibility.

It is interesting to note that men and women who decide to LEAVE the life of responsibility usually do so at little "blips" -- making "safe" departures from the line, and then return for a time of evaluation. You may not even notice when someone is flirting with a departure from their commitments, until the blip becomes a bulge, and unless deliberately STOPPED the break seems to occur instantaneously. But you can be sure the break was contemplated and "tested" for some time prior.

But here's the big question: What happens to the person who leaves their life of responsibility to follow these exciting voices? Do they really live happily ever after? Invariably, they eventually have to establish another life of responsibility. Life can be greener on the other side of the fence, but it still has to be mowed. The pleasure of an affair has to be interrupted as the couple needs to get back to work. The fantastic romantic feeling becomes rather commonplace again when you have to add responsibilities to the mix. The sexual relationship isn't breathtaking anymore once the secretive nature and newness wears off. Eventually both man and woman have to turn their thoughts to earning a living, cooking, cleaning and paying taxes again, with ego needs accumulating as before. Moon-shot emotions have to come back down to earth.

What does the amorous couple do when they AGAIN conclude the straight life is intolerably heavy? We are all acquainted with men and women who rip from one relationship to another in vain search of prolonged pleasure and sex and ego needs, leaving many rejected and unloved lovers in their wake, along wit children who crave the affection of a father or mother but can never find it. All that is left on the march toward old age is a series of broken relationships and shattered lives and hostile people. The inevitable outcome: James 1.15 - Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.

What is the answer to the life of responsibility that seems so oppressive? What solutions are consistent with Christian faith? Bring those external voices INTO your life of responsibility! To lessen the appeal of those calls, we must simply meet those needs within our marriages!!!

1. Ego Needs - The most successful marriages are those which build up the self esteem of the other. It is SO uncomfortable to be in the company of a man and woman taking verbal swats at each other, attempting to insult and debase their partner. Nothing contributes more to closeness than to convey respect for the personhood of your spouse. Put a BLINDFOLD on to the faults of your spouse and SEE the good in them, and build on it! Let them know they are appreciated at HOME!!!

2. Romanticism - Keep romantic fires burning -- write love notes -- surprise each other -- light candles. Make time for romance in your marriage! No one goes shopping for something they have at home! Be sure to put demanding things aside to make time for romance! ALL children need to know that the world does NOT revolve around them -- it is GOOD for them to see you and your spouse take time for romance together even if they have to be inconvenienced now and then!

3. Intimacy - Couples NEED to reserve time and energy for meaningful sexual relations. Tired bodes make for tired intimate relations. The physical aspect of your relationship needs to be a high priority. Remember -- the best gift you can give your children is a good marriage.

4. Pleasure - Husbands and wives should go on a date at least once a week if possible, leaving children at home. Some form of sports or recreational activity should be enjoyed as a family, even if it is just walking. And take time to LAUGH together -- ENJOY each other!!!

Challenge: Integrate these FOUR AREAS into your marriage IMMEDIATELY, and silence any calls off the life of responsibility that you or your spouse may have been entertaining! Make the life of commitment the most fun and enjoyable life you can! Keep your priorities straight and be creative in making every-day life AMAZING. Appreciate the one who committed to love you all your life, and don't make it an impossibility to do so!


Jessica said...

great post Karen; keep them coming! =)

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness!This is amazing and so inspiring!
Leave Letter For Marriage