TRANSFORMATION TUESDAY: 5 WAYS TO MAKE MARRIAGES WORK

Hello, Hipsters and welcome to Transformation Tuesday!

Today, we continue sifting through sex columnist Anthony D’Ambrosio’s “5 Reason Why Marriages Don’t Work” from USA TODAY.

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

If you haven’t heard the interview, click here.  Here’s the summary:

Preface:

1) Physical intimacy is crucial to the vitality of a relationship, but sex is becoming nearly non-existent in marriages today.

2) We’re more connected yet not because technology has brought along great challenges.

3) Finances cripple us because financial burdens plus the unending rise of living costs are all straining us.

4) The desire for attention is outweighing our desire for love because the sources we are look to for fulfillment, acceptance, and approval are growing exponentially day by day.

5) Social media invites outsiders in because we create contexts where thousands of people, many of which we’ve never met, are in our lives, even “in bed” with us, on a daily basis.

Problem:

Marriage is being victimized, and its new aggressor is social media.  Even though this material focused on marriage, honest people recognize that these problems affect every area of our existence!

This might as well be titled, “5 Reasons Why Humans Don’t Work.”  How could anything be healthy with the landslide of influence, temptation, and lies that social media brings?

But after listening again, I’ve come to believe that the real title should have been “5 Reasons Why Social Media Is Destroying Us.”

The problem Anthony pointed out is social media and our unhealthy use and dependence upon it, not marriage.  How could marriage be the problem?  Now although marriage is far more than humanity can grasp (see Eph. 5:22-33), here it is being used just a term or concept; it has no will of its own.

Lifeless nouns cannot perform action.

If you noticed, the title is actually erroneous.  The only time a marriage doesn’t work is when one or both parties stop working at it.  It’s not marriage’s fault, as if it were an inferior, antiquated institution; it’s married people’s fault.

A marriage becomes what a couple makes it.

And that’s uncomfortable.  Who wants to hear that they need improvement?  Or that they actually may have failed at their marriage, not the other way around?

Now, I recognize there are nuances and situations that I am purposely not accounting for here.  I am painting with a big, broad brush.

My point is that marriage is fine.  Just like a vehicle, or alcohol, or a gun, it’s how we perform (not the inanimate object or concept) in a context that brings life or death.

Unfortunately, whether Anthony intended this or not I do not know, some people will see an article like this and walk away thinking, “See, that’s why I will never get married.  It doesn’t work.”

As if they’re enlightened or something.  As if we should evolve from this historic relationship.  As if deflecting or avoidance ever solved anything.  As if they’re not culpable.

Practice:

I’m here to simply state that marriage can be the best, most rewarding experience we encounter on this planet.  And there’s a reason for this (see the upcoming article).

Want to find out how?

Let’s remind ourselves what Anthony said but flip the perspective because we don’t always have to be helpless, passive agents.  Let’s do our part to proactively bring and sustain life here!

Ready?  Here we go.

1) Have tons of sex with your spouse.  Did I get your attention?  Sound too simple?  Some may ask, “Why?”  Well, why not?!  It’s heartbreaking to know that so many couples exist in passionless, fragmented marriages.  But I can tell you it’s not typically due to the sexual desires diminishing.  Attraction to one’s mate changes once infatuation fades, however, stolen waters are NOT sweeter.  (see Prov. 5:18-20)  This is one great way where God reveals that love is far more than a feeling.  God has given us an outlet and we would be wise to maintain and make use of it.

2) Connect in the only true way — face to face, skin to skin, soul to soul.  Digital relationships are NOT on the same level for the real deal.  There’s no comparison and NO substitution.  Pixels do not love back.  Additionally, consider putting parameters on phone usage because it’s not only other people who over use them.

3) Make your finances work for you.  This skill does not fall out of the sky.  And no, this isn’t simply a Dave Ramsey quip (even though his tips certainly apply here).  Spend within your means, plan, budget, practice self-restraint, communicate but more importantly, come to the agreement that your love for each other is not connected to the portfolio.  For richer or poorer.

4) Get your acceptance first and foremost from God.  He, not the Pinterest boards, defines what acceptance is and where to seek it.  Secondly, outside of your Maker, this should only come from your spouse.  That’s what love offers — unconditional safety.  Those two, God and spouse, should suffice our acceptance tanks.  All others are fleeting diversions.

5) Implement healthy social media usage.  The world does not need to see you in your bedroom, bathroom, or every time you drive and eat.  Sorry, but it’s true.  And since the world does not need it, that includes you.  This is a reality for both the consumer and contributor.  What “feeds” are your soul feeding off of?  Make the necessary decisions to enforce boundaries because we’re losing far more than we’re gaining here.

How are you making your marriage divorce proof?  I know we can’t control everything, but there’s always more we can do!

Let me ask this another way:  How are you preventing social media from stealing your

Sex,

Ties, 

Economics,

Approval and

Life in your marriage today?

Start stoking the embers now!  Get creative.  We live in a world of Pinterest; it’s not hard.

Or, jog your memory of how you won the love of your life in the first place.

Or, and this one’s tough for us guys, just listen.  Women typically are great communicators so the answers probably have been put out there.

Come back next time as we discuss the grandeur of God’s thoughts and intent with marriage.  Until then, seek the Bridegroom.

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