Monthly Archives: February 2017

Together In the Dark Nights

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I remember being in the hospital as a young married spouse. I soon came to realize how dependent I was on my wife. She stayed too long with me in my room as I recovered. I kept trying to get her to go home. But as we reflected on the experience and in light of subsequent hospital stays (our own and those of friends and family) we have come to realize how essential it is to have someone close by for so many important reasons.

  • You need an advocate to help communicate (both ways) with hospital staff and doctors. Who can remember what’s going on at 5:30 in the morning when they make their rounds, or when you’re heavily medicated and roused out of your stupor to hear detailed instructions?
  • You need someone else to be there and constantly remind you with their presence that you really aren’t alone. Recovering in the hospital isn’t just a physical effort. Having another person there – or even a visitor, reminds you of the essential connections that keep you healthy and whole.
  • All those other people in your life need to practice their faith. Helping to take care of you, to keep in touch, to pray, to be consistently present in so many ways – it’s essential for your loved ones to have opportunities to live out their faith.

A recent report from the Pew Research Center tells us that the number one reason Americans choose to get married is because they are in love. Romantic love remains the primary motivating force behind marriage these days. This report is entitled, “5 Facts on Love and Marriage in America.” Love was the number one fact, number two on the list was that the number of Americans who are married is at its lowest number than ever before.

Together, do these two “facts” mean that love is getting scarce in America?

Maybe.

When it comes to real love, maybe people aren’t as certain as they thought. What if it’s becoming more difficult to tell what real love looks like? If that’s true, then isn’t it even more important for people who are in love to demonstrate what it looks like in the good, the bad and ugly of life?

Love is probably not so much an internal feeling that you catch like the flu as much as it is a series of everyday acts of unselfish sacrifice. Love is something you have to do and then keep doing.

It looks like our world still needs us to love one another.

“Real magic can never be made by offering someone else’s liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.”  ― Peter S. Beagle

Who Stays Married Longer?

It looks like people who have had less sexual partners before marriage.

There is a National Survey of Family Growth with numbers from 2006-2010 that indicates, after the first five years of marriage, almost 95% of both men and women (who had only one sexual partner – each other) were still married. That percentage dramatically declines as the number of sexual partners before marriage increases.

It’s just a correlation – it doesn’t tell us which causes which. Does promiscuity before marriage cause the union to crumble afterwards? Is being married too much of a commitment for people who were promiscuous?

But it does indicate that lasting marriages and promiscuity don’t mix well.  Marriage has always been about someone else. Promiscuity has always been about me.

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Our values about sexual behavior have dramatically changed in the recent decades.  Our behaviors may not have changed that much, but the stigma associated with having sex…

  • as a teenager, still in school,
  • before marriage,
  • on a first date,
  • with a stranger, or
  • with someone of the same sex

has faded as our values (what we believe) about freedom and sexual activity have changed, especially for women. People are acting and thinking differently about sexuality because American values about personal freedom, social liberty and individuality inspire new values and come into conflict with others.

If the local Christian community can’t demonstrate and communicate effectively the reasons and rewards for marriage, faithfulness, commitment and sacrifice, values that have sustained the family will never stick. Families will continue to fragment.