Marriage can be wonderful, but conflict is usually part of the equation. There are differences to work out, hurts to deal with, and misunderstandings to overcome. Some people will barge into conflict with little concern for how it hurts the other person. Other people will bottle their feelings in until they’re ready to explode. Either way, the consequences can be devastating. Learning how to deal effectively with conflict in a marriage can be helped by laying down some simple ground rules on how to fight fair. I was helped by Brian Orme’s article in this regard. He gives five do’s and five don’ts for more constructive conflicts. This week, we’ll look at the five things to avoid.
In 2006, for the first time since national census records were first reported in 1871, unmarried adults in Canada outnumbered the number of married adults. Ironically, this was just one year after Canada passed the law, legalizing same-sex marriage. More people than ever could legally marry, but fewer people than ever did. Obviously, it was a sign of a cultural shift. And over the last decade, the trend has only continued. More people delay marriage for education and careers. Increasing work demands make it more difficult to find time to meet people. The rise in divorce means that more people who were married now no longer are. And more and more people who have been hurt by divorce have a cynicism about the value or relevance of marriage. Given these new dynamics, I’m grateful that thoughtful Christians are doing research and addressing these trends with biblical solutions. This spring, Crossway Publishing released the results of a 7000-person survey on singleness and dating as part of a book release for Marshall Segal’s, “Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness & Dating,” and the results are worth considering.
Great marriages take work. And with the challenges to marriage and faithfulness in our society today, that work is probably more needed than ever.
While the Bible does use the word “marry” and “marriage,” rather than add an eleventh commandment, “Thou shalt have a wedding,” there is a commandment not to commit adultery. And you begin to realize that if it’s a sin to sleep with someone who’s not your husband or wife, then there must be some formal process to identify where a marriage begins and when it ends. In a world without weddings or marriage, you’d never have adultery. Because the lines were never formally drawn, it would be impossible to nail down when you’d actually crossed them. I think church membership is a little bit like marriage.
This morning I woke up listening to a podcast interview on marriage with Matt and Lauren Chandler. They’ve gained attention for their book on marriage entitled, “The Mingling of Souls,” and are promoting an upcoming conference that will be offered on-line in February. Several things stood out to me.
This week, GraceAnna Castleberry made waves with her article on “The Dior Woman and True Freedom.” She was commenting on the new commercial from perfume maker Christian Dior. In it, Natalie Portman stars as a runaway bride, who abandons the altar, casts off her white wedding dress, and runs in a black cocktail dress to a nearby cliff where a handsome man is waiting in a helicopter to fly her into the sunset and the “freedom” she craves. The clip is just over a minute long and so we’re left to interpret the details, but Castleberry has a healthy suspicion of its message. She says this:
“Have we really reached a point where freedom is portrayed by such petty play things like a little black dress, a helicopter ride, and a man to kiss but not commit to? Is freedom merely the absence of responsibility? If that’s the definition of freedom, I don’t want it. It has such an achy hollow feel it hurts.”