Sunday, November 02, 2014

The Marriage Machine: Rules that make it work

The Marriage Machine

Studying people and their reasons for marriage can be quite intriguing. Have you ever wondered how some couples ever got started? Marriage pairs come in different shapes and combinations: tall and short, outgoing and introverted, smart and absent-minded, plump and thin, attractive and sloppy. The combinations can be equally impressive, oppressive, depressive, encouraging, mind-boggling and simply neat. One important fact is that each pair fashions out a way of life for itself. An outside observer may not be able to understand what they see in each other, but these two folks are drawn together by a magnetic force that defies understanding. They like what they see, how they feel and what they hear from one another. This union of two individuals establishes what I call “the marriage machine”.

Machines have parts. When the parts work together effectively, the machine performs its prescribed function. What one part does affects the functioning of the other parts and the machine’s overall efficiency. It simply follows that the more the parts cooperate, the better the machine performs its work. Marriages are like machines and the workings of the parts and the benefits received have a direct relationship.

For proper functioning of the marriage machine, here are a few rules:

The Rules of Marriage

The First Rule of Marriage: You get what you put in

What a husband or wife is receiving from the marriage influences his or her marital happiness. At the same time, what a husband or wife is doing for the marriage determines what he or she receives. It is a relationship of getting what you are putting.

The Second Rule of Marriage: Beware of Inward Expectations

Marriage is a choosing process. When people choose to get married each person says: “I am choosing you because you are this way”. What they are also saying is: “You will have to continue to be this way or I will be disappointed, hurt, scared or angry.” We subconsciously plan for the other to continue to be and act the way he/she did prior to marriage. This is what psychologists call “inward expectations that are below the surface” and this is what makes marriage bliss or a hell. To what extent is he/she meeting up with your expectations?

The Third Rule of Marriage: Be prepared for surprises

Marriage is a world of new discoveries and surprises. It is like unpacking your heavily guarded luggage a little at a time. Each partner puts off a shade at a time and turns on a monitoring equipment to assess the reaction of the other. 

The Fourth Rule of Marriage: Observe, Learn and Adjust

Marriage is a long process of learning and an endless series of adjustments. For a happy and successful marriage each partner must observe, learn and adjust. The marriage machine parts are learning how to work together for their common good. Over a period of time, they develop a system of covert agreement – agreements that are never really talked about or discussed. The relationship is now conditioned on these agreements; and there develops a fragile peace accord between them. The peace accord is fragile because if one stops doing his or her part, the other sees no reason to perform his or her part. Problems will occur when there is a strong deviation from the terms of these unwritten agreements. If this continues they soon reach an impasse. For a better relationship, the couple must communicate freely. Unspoken emotion explodes like the bomb at the least provocation.

The Fifth Rule of Marriage: Your marriage must be based on God's Choice

Marriage must not be based on external beauty and expectations only but must seek God’s direction and be based on His choice. Our love for one another must first be rooted in our love for a common denominator. The denominator must be Christ and His Word.

The Sixth Rule of Marriage: Play your role

Every member of the family has a God-given role to play and we should play these roles. They are complementary and work for the good of the family. Passages like First Peter 3:1-6; Ephesians 5:25-29; and First Peter 3:7 specify the roles of wives and husbands. They are not exhaustive but if we comply with the specifications, there will be no reason for disharmony in the home.

The Seventh Rule of Marriage: Appreciate what God has given to you

There is no other one outside there better. Let whatever he/she has satisfy you; let whatever he/she does give you great pleasure; do not try to find a better companion than when you are with him/her. The Bible put it in the following poetic language, “Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountain be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not from strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love.” (Proverbs 5:15-19)

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Enjoy your family

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