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Monday, January 31, 2011
I posted last time about the recent Pew Research study in which 39% of poll respondents agreed that marriage is on a general trend toward obsolescence. Of that percentage there were probably many who didn’t see that as a big deal, maybe some who welcome the idea, and possibly others who are alarmed by the notion. For the record, I count myself in the final category.

For those of us “pro-marriage” types, this study begs the question:
“What are we doing to promote marriage?”

Now as important as I think political engagement is, such as voting in leaders who support a biblical view of marriage and the like, that’s really not what I’m asking about. So maybe I need to rephrase the question to focus a bit more narrowly:
“What are you doing on a regular basis to demonstrate how important your own marriage is to your life, to the fulfillment of your hopes and dreams, and to your daily happiness?”

You see I’m convinced that the attack on marriage comes primarily from the high profile of so many failed and miserable marriages, not only in the general media and among our pop star culture, but also from individuals among their friends. How many of your friends gossip together about how wonderful so-and-so’s marriage appears or how happily-in-love that new couple in church seems to be or even how much you love and admire your own husband or wife?

How many positive marriage role models do we hold up to others?

Honoring what is honorable

In my church we talk a lot about honoring what is honorable to the Lord. What we mean by that is that we want to support, shine a light on and glorify those things that God sees as good, right and holy. I can’t think of many things the Lord would want to honor more than strong, happy, successful, and enduring marriages.

With that in mind, I’m going to toss out a few ideas as to how we can, in our own sphere of influence of friends, family and co-workers, honor marriage. The idea is NOT to promote ourselves as being better than other married folks, so some caution needs to be added to the way in which this is done, but here are a few low-key ideas:
  • Don’t hold back from saying “I love you” or using other words of affection to your spouse when you are talking to them on the phone when others might overhear.
  • Tell your friends about great date spots you and your spouse have found. Mention how important it is to you that you have regular date nights.
  • In an appropriate setting, re-tell something special or thoughtful your husband or wife has done for you recently.
  • Hold hands in public. Depending on your comfort level with PDA, even hold each other and/or kiss in public.
  • If you see an obviously happy couple, don’t deride them to your friends but praise them. ”Isn’t it great to see such a strong and happy marriage.”
  • Ask another couple how you can pray for their marriage. Then do it.
  • Ask another couple to pray for your own marriage. Offer to exchange regular prayer support.
  • Get involved in the marriage blogging community: read, comment, and pass on good stuff you find to your friends and family via email, Facebook and Twitter (I’ve got easy links at the end of each post, as do most bloggers).
  • Ask your church to start a marriage small group or Sunday school class. Better yet, offer to start one with your spouse. You don’t have to have all the answers, just a willing heart.
  • Never tear down your spouse in front of your friends. Rather, praise them and express thankfulness for marriage and your spouse. Be generous with positive words.

These are just a few ideas off the top of my head. There are tons more possibilities.

But I’m Not Happy!

Maybe you are saying to yourself, “My marriage isn’t all that great and I’m not really so happy.”

Go back and re-read the list above. Almost nothing on that list requires you to first be in a joyously thriving marriage. You can take concrete steps to support strong marriages regardless of the shape your own marriage is in.

And here’s the thing, I can almost guarantee that if you start doing those kinds of things, your own marriage WILL be happier. Period.

So what do you think? Are you ready to promote strong marriages, the institution of marriage, and your own marriage in particular? Can you think of other ways to do that besides what I have listed?


7 comments:

andrea frazer said...

Hi Scott -

Thanks for being my first commenter on my new site! I loved this post. It's something I really needed to hear particularly tonight, so thank you.

I suppose I would add a few things since you asked!

* Compliment your spouse frequently, even if it's as simple as "hey, you did a nice job on the floors." As a writer who also adds cook/maid/taxi driver to my resume, I appreciate Rex's compliments in this arena. I need to do the same for him.

* Surprise your mate with something they aren't expecting

* Write a card to them once in a while

I think you're probably looking for more public ways to show you care for your marriage, but I thought I'd add those anyway since I was inspired.

Thanks!

Andrea

Strong Man said...

Good points. It's always helpful to remember we make our own choices and are personally responsible for them.

If we decide to do good things and to commit to our marriages, we'll be blessed with improvements, regardless of how the other person is currently acting.

I'm pleased to have found your blog!

Scott said...

Thanks Andrea - yes, private support works too! Glad you were inspired, and looking forward to following you at your new blog home.

Strong Man - glad you found me and I hope you'll chime in often.

Karen said...

Hi,
Just wanted to share I am a Christian woman married to a wonderful man who doesn't have a personal relationship with Christ. I've had to work through how God promises to be in the midst of his command and faithfully strengthen me to 'not leave my spouse' over this if 'he chooses to stay.' (1Cor7:12,13) Just want to encourage other gals that when we love our guys whether they know the Lord or not amazing things happen in our relationship with them. Guys love to be the hero and my husband in no exception. I praise him when he thinks of creative ways to solve problems, often times involving ways of saving money. I always try to share a good thing he has done during a bible study with other women, especially when it ties in to the lesson, which is usually often because studying Christ and the Church reflects into our marital lives. I also strive to bless him physically/sexually. Sometimes I have seen how women in Christian marriages are encouraged and even a bit convicted :) It takes practice, lots of practice so keep trying, God is faithful to bless you. First and foremost, though...the imperitave step I have taken; I have learned to find my deepest needs met at the foot of the Cross. I have been doubly blessed because my relationship with Christ has been transformed into a real and meaningful reality which gives me the capability to bring His offer of Life back into my marriage.

Scott said...

Such great comments, Karen! Full of truth! Thanks so much for sharing your story and your encouragement.

Fawn said...

Absolutely! I do my best to promote it every day. Thank you, Scott, for showing me this post. Now, I have a question for you. How in the world did you do this so it referenced on my blog? That was very cool and I thought I was pretty knowledgeable with blogging but you just showed me something completely new :).

Scott said...

Fawn,
Glad to hear you proudly promote your marriage, and I'm very excited about your project at the Happy Wives Clutb.

As for the link to my blog, there is a link just above the "author" box in your comment section that says "My response is on my own website »" If you click that you get a different style comment box that references a link on another blog or website.

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