New Here?
     
Posts tagged "Marriage"


Multiple Marriages to the Same Spouse: A Conference Breakout Preview

This breakout preview comes to us from Debbie and Ellis Brazeal.

Nietzsche said that he would only believe in a “God who dances.”

As Mockingbird devotees, and survivors of three marriages, Debbie and I have come to believe in a dancing God.  Yet, this view of God only came after years, many years, in which we didn’t.

A romantic courtship, with breathless excitement and anticipation of an American-dream marriage, quickly turned into a marriage of unmet expectations from both sides.  Indeed, each of us hurt the other (albeit unintentionally) in the very fashion that would cause the most pain. We unknowingly tread upon the past hurts and expectations that each of us brought into the marriage.

Our marriage devolved into separate lives with no hope of reconciliation–none.  We certainly didn’t believe in a dancing God–in one who could bring dance into our marriage.  We believed in a God who rewarded effort and wise decisions. We thought we had married the wrong person. In fact, we each wished that the other was dead or that we were dead.

But then, the dancing God, the God we talk about at Mockingbird, stepped in. By God’s limitless grace, we both began learning of a God who knew the depths of our dark hearts–the true extent of our sinful flaws–but loved us nonetheless with His limitless, eternal love. Over the years, as we became more convinced of God’s unfathomable, eternal love for us, we began to love each other.

My favorite parable is the one concerning the “treasure in the field.”  Virtually always, the “treasure in the field” is construed as the Kingdom of God.  Yet, when you review the parables surrounding it (the lost coin, the lost sheep), it becomes abundantly clear (as I first learned from CI Scofield) that we are the “treasure in the field,” that Christ sold everything (gave His life) to purchase. The character of a Kingdom is determined by the character of the King.

This King is the savior and redeemer of individuals, of marriages, and of all creation.  As Sally Loyd Jones writes in Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing: “God made everything in his world and in his universe and in his children’s hearts to center around him–in a wonderful Dance of Joy!  It’s the dance you were born for.”

Insanity, Marriage, and the Virgin Mary

Insanity, Marriage, and the Virgin Mary

I couldn’t let this day pass without posting my favorite passage from Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love, in which our favorite Swiss pop-philosopher/religious atheist hints at the appeal of ‘true religion’ under the guise of abreactive art and in the process gives us a crash, er, course on grace in relationships. It comes from mid-way through the book in the chapter on “Universal Blame” (ouch!), just after one of the protagonists, Rabih, finds out that his position at work may soon be up for grabs. In other words, if things don’t turn around, he’s going to lose his…

Read More > > >

Three Stanzas of W.H. Auden’s “In Sickness and in Health” (1940)

crc4mugwgaay0pyBeloved, we are always in the wrong,
Handling so clumsily our stupid lives,
Suffering too little or too long,
Too careful even in our selfish loves:
The decorative manias we obey
Die in grimaces round us every day,
Yet through their tohu-bohu comes a voice
Which utters an absurd command – Rejoice.

Rejoice. What talent for the makeshift thought
A living corpus out of odds and ends?
What pedagogic patience taught
Preoccupied and savage elements
To dance into a segregated charm?
Who showed the whirlwind how to be an arm,
And gardened from the wilderness of space
The sensual properties of one dear face?

Rejoice, dear love, in Love’s peremptory word;
All chance, all love, all logic, you and I,
Exist by grace of the Absurd,
And without conscious artifice we die:
O, lest we manufacture in our flesh
The lie of our divinity afresh,
Describe round our chaotic malice now,
The arbitrary circle of a vow.

Surviving Fifteen Years of Marriage

Surviving Fifteen Years of Marriage

This marital reflection comes to us from Samuel Son.

Fifteen years of marriage and I’m gonna cut to the chase — and through the rosy laces — and tell you that it has been ass-kickingly difficult: 15 years of a selfish person learning to live with another selfish person. Indeed, my wife is my Eve, my ripped-off rib.

Those fifteen years would have been more pleasant if our times together were sparse and sporadic, like those good friends you visit only when you travel and need to save hotel money. But it was nearly every day of those 15 years. I…

Read More > > >

Old Boyfriends and What We Keep Hidden: Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past

Old Boyfriends and What We Keep Hidden: Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past

As of late, the subject of one’s past has become a pretty popular topic. Political candidates and beauty contestants alike all seem to have histories that are up for discussion and judgment. And the past, in our current climate, appears to generally be full of things people want to remain hidden.

Of course, the past always has a way of whispering hello to us, all these years later.

In early June I was driving our children up from Mississippi to Sewanee, Tennessee. Which meant, as luck would have it, that we drove right past Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Many of my weekends in college…

Read More > > >

From the Archives: Law and Grace in the Competition of Marriage

From the Archives: Law and Grace in the Competition of Marriage

As with most of the provocative second half of Paul Zahl’s Grace in Practice, the following excerpt goes well beyond abstractions and gets uncomfortably close to the bone–in the best possible way. The language here has to do with marriage, but you could easily substitute a variety of other relational contexts:

Men and women encounter a serpent-ridden wilderness of Eden when they enter into marriage. Competition for need-fulfillment and attention squanders huge amounts of energy in resentment and suppressed antagonism. The nature of the law is to place every single marriage under the Damocles’ sword of needs to be met. The word…

Read More > > >

Roses for Your Sin

Roses for Your Sin

This beautiful story comes to us from Julian Brooks:

The following is a true story. But before I share it, here’s a brief disclaimer that should keep in perspective the purpose of this story, of why it is worth sharing.

Grace cannot guarantee results or change. If it could, it would simply turn back into law. Law promises this for that–that’s exactly why the law can’t produce what it demands. Grace simply loves. Its reason for turning the other cheek is not because it guarantees that its enemies will no longer strike. It turns the other cheek because it loves its enemies more than it loves itself….

Read More > > >

You Know You're Ready to Get Married When...

You Know You’re Ready to Get Married When…

A few more quotes from Alain de Botton’s wonderful new book, The Course of Love, all taken from the penultimate chapter where he outlines what it might look like to be “Ready for Marriage”:

Pronouncing a lover “perfect” can only be a sign that we have failed to understand them. We can claim to have begun to know someone only when they have substantially disappointed us.

However, the problems aren’t theirs alone. Whomever we could meet would be radically imperfect: the stranger on the train, the old school acquaintance, the new friend online… Each of these, too, would be guaranteed to let…

Read More > > >

When You Marry the Wrong Person

When You Marry the Wrong Person

A few months after my wife and I got engaged, an older friend of hers pulled me aside and tried to do me a favor. He told me that if there was anything he wished he could have told his premarital self, it was that, no matter who you marry, they will be coming from the opposite end of the spectrum, culturally speaking. If he had known that up front, it might have spared him and his significant other considerable heartache.

Like much of what people tell you before you get married (or have kids), his words were both 100% true…

Read More > > >

The Very Definition of Romance (10 Years In)

The Very Definition of Romance (10 Years In)

The bad news is, we have to wait until July before we can hold Heather Havrileksy’s How to Be a Person in the World in our sweaty hands. The good news is, the Ask Polly columnist wrote an article for The Cut this week about “What Romance Really Means After 10 Years of Marriage”, which easily tops the list of this year’s Valentines-related reading. In prime fashion, Heather debunks a few of our culture’s most destructive illusions about long-term romantic relationships (short of the Soulmate Myth). But it’s not just for married folks. It’s for all of us who’ve ever…

Read More > > >

Of Lice and Life: The Relief of Naming the Mother in the Room

Of Lice and Life: The Relief of Naming the Mother in the Room

As God’s providence would have it, a few weeks ago one of my fellow suburban moms said to me, “Sarah, you are either a lice family or a butt worm family.” Today, I found out we are the former. And yes, butt worms are a thing. They have a more scientific name. But really, do you want to know more than that?

Upon receiving the school email I started to grapple with my new reality. I left work. I went to the drug store. I bought the lower shelf in a section marked “itchy.” And then I went home to my husband who had…

Read More > > >

Infidelity, Love, and the New Shame

Infidelity, Love, and the New Shame

Just dove into Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg’s Modern Romance, and have to say, it’s pretty great. Funny yet with a surprising amount of meat on its bones. As mentioned the other day, the book’s primary interest lies in exploring 1. the unspoken cultural imperative to find a ‘soul mate’ and 2. the resulting anxiety, frustration, and confusion that characterizes modern romance. I was particularly struck by how the word ‘soul mate’ has come to serve as a synonym for savior. A weight it clearly cannot bear:

Searching for a soul mate takes a long time and requires enormous emotional investment. The problem is that this search for the perfect…

Read More > > >