Monday, April 5, 2010
Do You Really Know Why You Got Married?
I saw the movie this weekend and as with the first one it was time to reflect on marriage in general. In my opinion, the first movie handled the complexity of the topic beautifully. But the second one muddled up the complexity of marriage with Hollywood drama. There were varying degrees of issues with each of the couples. Terry and Diane's relationship seemed plagued with infidelity, Marcus and Angela's relationship dealt with trust issues, Troy and Shelia's relationship tackled the intrusion of an "ex" as well as the unemployment of a spouse, and Gavin and Patricia's relationship was the most traumatized with the unresolved issue of the loss of a child. I believe the movie took on too much to fully develop in 2 hours. If I ordered the couples' problems to solve from easiest to most difficult they would be in this order:
1) Marcus/Angela - needed Marriage Counseling and Communication 101
2) Troy/Shelia - needed Marriage Counseling, Communication 101 and Individual Counseling for Shelia
3) Terry/Diane - needed Marriage Counseling
4) Gavin/Patricia - needed Individual and Marriage Counseling and the marriage still might not have been salvageable
What both movies brought to light is that marriage is a very unique, complex, spiritual, and fragile institution that requires full attention and work from both partners. It requires both people to have individual strength as well as joint strength to ride the tides of life. Mostly, a couple must solidly and jointly know why they got married and keep that in sight at all times, so that when life throws a curve ball they have a foundation to weather the storm. Not all storms can be weathered, so there may be a time when a couple needs to face the realization that both are no longer on the same page and there isn't a path to get there.
Ultimately, marriage needs unconditional love which I believe has the following attributes trust, affection, respect, admiration, empowerment, loyalty, intimacy, and appreciation. Without the combination of those attributes a door is opened for problems. Whatever the situation may be, the key to surviving in my opinion is really honestly and deeply understanding why you got married and drawing from that to fight for the marriage. I keep why I got married close to my heart everyday. I wanted to be a part of that TEAM called marriage! I realize that while I am an individual with individual desires I can't go through marriage being just an individual.
My marriage has seen many hills and valleys over the last 14 years and I know it will see many more. I believe with our spiritual grounding, God's grace, and both mine and the frog's hard work with genuine love we will continue to know why we got married.