A New York Times article came out this weekend with the above title that depicts a mixed view of marriage: first, romance is a deceptive fantasy and you will both fail each other; second, that we should instead search for a person who can negotiate disagreements (and presumably low expectations).
As someone who is not yet married, I suppose I am still in the starry-eyed phase, just waiting for the inevitable fall into disappointment. And yet, rather than being pessimistic about it, I take a different view.
Take a look at Meet The Patels, the documentary I blogged about earlier this week – arranged marriages have no such preconceptions of romance or blissful idealizations of the other person, and yet happy marriages can grow out of them. Is that not just the same as what the NYT article author is saying, but perhaps from a different take? Rather than being sad, it is beautiful that two people, through compassion and understanding, can grow to love.
Or take a look at Hosea and Gomer, a depiction of God’s abiding love for his unfaithful church. There was clearly no romance there or misconception that the person met an ideal – God specifically told Hosea to marry Gomer, a prostitute who would be unfaithful to him. And yet each time Gomer left him, God told Hosea to return to her not with harshness but with words of love. For that is how God loves us, imperfect and unfaithful though we often are to Him.
I look at my own relationship with Pat. Pat is not perfect. We do not agree on everything. We have discussed the flaws in our personalities, the places where we are liable to rub each other wrong. He thinks that I am judgmental, I think I am decisive. I think that he is too obsessed with his dogs, he thinks dogs are the best creatures on earth. But he is a good man, generous and kind, patient in dealing with adversity. Just as the article advises, I have found a man who is excellent at compromise and negotiation, and I know those things will help us have a good marriage. But rather than seeing that as boring and mundane, those attributes are part of his personality and are what make me love him even more. That IS love.
God often does the unexpected. Jesus took everyone’s expectations of the Messiah and turned them on their head – there is no loss in that, no darkness, no less-than. He was not our ideal, but He was God’s. That is beautiful.
What do you think? Read the NYT article and come back and let me know. Is it speaking truth or is it missing the mark?
Photo credit to Death to the Stock Photo