Saturday, September 24 2022 - 9:36 AM
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Marriage and Stability

I rode to a weekend conference with several young mothers who are counselors. Even though I am old enough to be their mother, we had some good conversations about situations with clients, family, and our personal histories. And I heard perspectives on life, love, and marriage from those young enough to be my children.

Talking About Marriage

In the course of getting better acquainted, the conversation turned to the age of marriage. We talked about how one early 30s friend had been with her husband for 10 years but married for five years. She voiced her generation’s concern about taking their time to get to know a prospective mate, getting established in careers since both must work, earning some money, and then considering marriage.

I gingerly approached the topic of commitment as a potential issue for some young couples. My friend replied that she recognized that it might be easier to get out of a relationship that doesn’t involve marriage. She noted that she had desired to make sure that there was “stability” in her life before having children.

Pursuing Stability

So it seems that many young, educated people looking for love believe they are pursuing “stability” through years of cohabitation and delaying parenting. That may reflect an outcome of half of their parents’ marriages ending in divorce. Undoubtedly, they want more security for their children.

I shared that my 45 years of marriage haven’t always been smooth. I told my friend that my in-laws were married 76 years before the wife died. And I added that my parents were married 55 years before my mother died. Those weren’t storybook marriages, but they highly valued commitment and providing a home for their children. Through lots of prayers and forgiveness, they somehow worked it out.

A Commitment Issue

Over the years, I have seen marriage as a place of personal and spiritual growth. However, I recognize that growth is not always consistent. I think the how and when of marriage is a commitment issue. It starts with a personal commitment to trust and partner with God before committing to a lifetime with another person. Stability happens inside each person when they make God the center of their life, not their spouse or child. Then stability is the fruit of commitment and love.

Jesus said: “I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built” (Luke 6:47-48, NIV).

Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:

  1. Is it possible that one of the deceptions about stability is that you can be confident when you have arrived at that stage and that it is humanly achievable? What is your definition of stability?
  2. Many people in U.S. culture don’t live near the support of family members after they marry. Are our expectations for marriage partners and lifestyles too lofty, leading to disappointment?

If you liked this, you might also like Elohim, Marriage, and Community 

Karen Spruill writes from Florida.

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About Karen Spruill

Karen Spruill

writes from Orlando, Florida.

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