FAMILY FUSION: Fiddling with family foundation (2)
In a solemn moment each of us who are married once affirmed that lovely vow, “I take thee . . .” Only as marriage begins and continues as one shared experience after another, can the significance of such an encompassing commitment be discovered. Then we begin to learn that in marriage we are constantly “taking” each other – in every revelation of ourselves as we really are, in each new experience,“till death do us part. – Gordon and Dorothea Jaeck
I DELIGHT IN speed walking. It gets me going at the beginning of the day. I remember not warming up one morning and unfortunately I paid the painful price. Experts inform me that for both short and long distance races, warming up is crucial.
Running the danger of “pulling a muscle, tweaking a tendon, bone,or joint, or getting into a pace that you can’t sustain” are great possibilities. However, if warming up is done, the joints, bones and muscles begin to slacken up and the heart gradually prepares itself for a rhythm that is necessary for a sustained, energized and enjoyable run. These experts also report that starting out too quickly has its own issues; the possibilities of exhaustion, burning out and feeling discouraged are very great. What wise counsel given from the sporting world.
Sensibly preparing for a physical race, especially a marathon, reminds me of the significance of preparing for marriage. Too many individuals enthusiastically enter marriage without adequate preparation, only to find that they quickly run out of steam, or create serious emotional and other injuries for themselves and their children.
Today, I will be giving a more detailed examination of the wisdom for a couple to consider preparing as adequately as possible for marriage, which is not to be mixed up with the wedding day preparations. Marriage is for life, the wedding day, for the most part, is only for a few hours.
Not level-headedly “warming-up” for the marriage marathon through pre-marital counselling, a subject to which I will be paying close attention today, is like “fiddling with family foundation”.
Since everything God made, including the fabulous institution of marriage between one man and one woman, was “very good”, it logically follows that there is nothing wrong with this foundational institution but with the individuals who fiddle with the foundation. It is not God’s responsibility to warm you up for the lifelong journey of marriage. Common sense should dictate that if a couple is going to successfully run the lifelong race together, then engaging in the preparation exercise should be seen as top priority.
Who laid the foundation of marriage?
Since foundations are so important for the integrity and stability of any structure, it is wisdom to know who constructed the marriage foundation if you are planning to build your marriage structure. Failing to do so could jeopardise the quality of your future relationship with your spouse.
Purpose of marriage
The Holy Bible indicates that it was God, the Creator of this world, who conceptualized marriage (Genesis 2: 18-25). Any other individual or group of individuals that advocates otherwise, is in essence fiddling with the divine foundation. Therefore, looking at marriage through God’s eyes will greatly assist you in understanding the true purpose of marriage from the heart of the Designer.
Going into marriage therefore requires a clear understanding of what I am calling some God-constructed foundation columns, which can stoutly underpin your marriage and family structure and give both of you a clear sense of direction and destiny. There are four of them: stability, sacredness, separation, and covenant.
1. Marriage was put in place for the purpose of stabilising the society. When you are considering marriage, which is the primary social institution aimed at anchoring the society, both of you should keep the thought of stability in the forefront of your mind. Stable homes at the very core are the springboards for stable and cohesive societies. Think about it: with a stable home and society, vices like murder, suicide, drug abuse, violence and the like can be greatly reduced while positive elements like honesty, integrity, love, selflessness and economic growth can thrive. So when you are thinking of marriage look beyond the wedding day and the honeymoon, as important as they maybe, and see yourself contributing to a sturdy society.
2. Do you know that marriage is a sacred or consecrated institution and should therefore be treated with reverence, dignity and respect? It must never be devalued nor desecrated by anyone for his or her own selfish ends, but respected and regarded as holy and wholesome. When looking towards your marriage, decide to be loving, caring, and faithful to your spouse. Plan to keep your marriage as a sacred sanctuary by following the Designer’s book of instructions. The value added to your marriage will surprise you.
3. Marriage involves psychological separation from mother and father. That is a clear instruction from God for good reasons. In-law interference, not being free to work through issues together as a couple, not being able to comfortably set your own rules and regulations, and cultivating divided loyalty are just few of many concerns that can be thorns in your marriage flesh. As a couple, love your parents dearly, but psychologically disconnecting and avoiding a dependency syndrome is essential for a durable marriage.
4. Marriage is a covenant relationship. God takes marriage covenants very seriously, and so should everyone who is prepared to say “I do”. Stick with each other like two peas in a pod. Let your commitment towards each other be robust and resolute until death separates you. Strategically plan to keep intruders out of your marriage and faithfully support each other. When it comes to serious matters like covenant relationships, you should weigh the consequences of the decision before saying “I do”; otherwise, “I don’t” may quickly follow.
I am told that when a physical building is to be imploded the most effective way of bringing it down is to first attack the support columns closest to the foundation. The Author of marriage and family has offered you immovable columns on which to anchor your marriage structure. Decide to build on them and don’t fiddle with your family foundation.
• Haynesley Griffith is a marriage and family life consultant. Email email@example.com