[Rector]

Creating a marriage

 

There was an interesting line in the film "She's Having a Baby" which sums up much of married life. It's a film about a young couple learning to live together, from the wedding to their first child. Yes, it's another relationship movie. For some reason, for the last thirty years we have been fascinated with the development and maintenance of human relationships. This has spawned a whole breed of films dealing with questions like; "How will my marriage work now that my husband has contracted cancer, lost his eyesight, lost his job and is having an affair with his eighteen year old secretary while my friendship with my old schoolmate has turned lesbian?" How indeed? Life just hasn't been the same since the Brady Bunch left the little screen.

The last statement in the film was made by the young husband. His discovery about marriage was this: "What I was looking for was not to be found but to be made." Of course, this is an example of "short talk" and needs to be expanded slightly for the sake of meaning. He had discovered that the elusive element he was looking for in marriage was not something that could be found, but rather something that must be created by devotion and application.

Before going into the church for his marriage, he asked his best man whether he would be happy in marriage. His mate's answer was simple enough, "You'll be happy, but you won't know it." In the early years he never did quite know it. In fact, he was reminded on a number of occasions that he didn't really know what he was looking for. He was like any young bloke, somehow believing that it was a matter of discovering in marriage some ultimate source of self satisfaction, rather than finding in it the opportunity to create deep and abiding relationships.

False expectations. I wonder how many marriages have been destroyed by false expectations. Even just in sexual fulfillment, film after film, dreamt up by some middle aged expert with lots of experience but little capacity, promotes the sexual experience as if it were a cosmic discovery. As we all know, limitations, misunderstanding and embarrassment is the norm. When it comes to children, they get promoted as a unifying principle between a man and a woman. Couples even have them to try to hold together a shaky marriage. As it turns out, midnight feeds and dirty nappies are more likely to break up a marriage than bring it together. No, a good marriage is a creation. It is the creation of abiding, developing and expanding relationships. It's not so much what we find in a marriage, but rather what we can put into it.