|Print | Back||July 02, 2015|
This is Not a StoneSaving Marriage
by Hannah Bird
This past Friday, half of my Facebook feed devolved into sackcloth and ashes while the other half erupted in rainbow-colored jubilation. I am happy to rejoice with those that rejoice. I also understand that there was real heartbreak. There were a lot of decent people who were profoundly saddened by the Supreme Court ruling on marriage.
But as I watched the happy dances and sorrowful resignation, I was taken aback but what had not happened.
The Supreme Court of the United States of America did not create marriage. They did not end it either.
For more than 25 years, one of the most popular TV shows has been “The Simpsons.” For more than a quarter of a century, viewers have tuned in to watch Homer Simpson bumble through the simplest activities. He is a terrible employee. He is an ineffectual father. He is a useless, if occasionally sweet, husband.
Homer is in good company. TV is populated almost entirely by families without fathers or with the father as a punchline. Fathers on commercials trash the house, can’t care for babies, and are constantly rescued by their capable wives.
See, it’s funny because men are dumb and useless. Women had their turn. Silly, illogical, overwrought women worried about dresses and men indulged them while calmly running the world. Advertisements suggested a wife might need a spanking. Women were cautioned that their dishpan hands would cause their husband to stray.
I have been in Relief Society and heard jokes about men. Good men.
How do we create vibrant partnerships with people we don’t respect? How do we build a family with someone who is a punchline?
Our culture portrays falling in love as the high note of a relationship. In movies, getting together is the obstacle that must be overcome. Once together, we cannot imagine anything interesting or glorious or passionate happening.
Movie Stars who have been married for a matter of months give advice on how to keep marriage “hot.” People complain about the lack of romance in an old marriage.
We have not made long marriages a treasure. We do not make many movies about the sweetness of always and forever. We don’t see or hear depictions of the indescribable bliss that comes after too many fights and lots of years and lots of heartbreak that fade away to leave two people at peace and welded together.
We make passing mention of long marriages. But we do not remind others or ourselves of the joy and peace and beauty those many years represent.
We have made much about being young and beautiful and even foolish. How do we value marriage when we overlook the glory and power of all the unromantic silences and gentle moments?
We have twisted marriage. We have made marriage a container. In it must lie happiness. Should the container empty, there is nothing more to be done. We are assured that children will be better off with happy but separate parents. Marriages end because people are not happy or no longer feel “in love.”
We do not mention that the griefs that make happiness difficult may also make us better people. I started my own marriage as a giant pile of prickles and sharp edges. The ensuing years have knocked a great many edges off. I still have many. But my husband knows me through and through. So he just steps carefully over the sharp points.
I am better for the hardness and harshness I had to forsake. I did not enjoy the breaking and wearing down of my edges. But I love life without them.
I am not suggesting that no marriage should ever end. That some marriages must be ended illustrates the way we treat marriage. A cruel spouse is destroying marriage with every ugly word or deed. An unfaithful spouse has twisted marriage and destroyed the precious gift of fidelity. It is a heartbreaking and ugly attack on marriage when a spouse is not safe at home.
There are implications. Marriage is being delayed. The divorce rate is high. But the cynicism rate is higher. Every marriage that wounds or injures feeds the notion that marriage is a dicey proposition. Participation in marriage dwindles each year.
We had already endangered marriage. We have made a mockery of “I do” by meaning “I might.” We have forgotten that the intent of this life is to become, not to be.
Let’s save marriage. We can be more patient, more grateful, more tender and kind. We can make sure that our children know how much we value our marriages. We can share the joys that come with the years. We can fail to laugh at unfunny jokes. We can defend and protect our marriages and spouses with renewed vigor.
While others rule on the rights of marriage, we can honor the privileges of marriage. We can let the battle for marriage remind us that marriage is a treasure to be won. We can let the cheering and jubilation remind us how sweet and precious marriage really is.
|Copyright © 2022 by Hannah Bird||Printed from NauvooTimes.com|