Secrets to a good marriage. Take a good marriage to great. Have a healthy marriage.
These phrases ooze out of book titles, sermons, and conversational pleasantries. They are as pleasant as losing your keys. What is a ‘good marriage’ vs a ‘bad one’. Can I get a tester at the hardware store? Is there a list of ten key items so that I can grade my relationship? This would be useful and absurd.
Yet, that is what we are looking for. A test to objectively critique a relationship. What measuring rod do you use for two human hearts? The modern desire for measurable knowledge turns a rod intended to measure into one used as abuse. Yet sparing the rod spoils the relationship.
Without any clear guidepost we won’t ever find what we are looking for. If we don’t know what a good marriage is we won’t ever be satisfied in one. We may find it. But we won’t know we have found it. “This is cool. … Better keep looking” the search never ends.
“It is always in the last place I looked” Is true bey comical definition. I never found something and thought to myself, well, better keep looking under tables and around corners (except in the hunt for a spouse). Once you find it the quest is completed and there is satisfaction. But if you don’t know what that ‘it’ is, then the looking can never stop.
Not all who wander are lost. But some who wander are most definitely lost. If the destination is the goal, but you do not know the destination you are most assuredly lost when wandering. If you are enjoying the journey as the goal then you can wander to your hearts content and be satisfied. If you want a destination as the goal then the destination must be known.
Though I have not written on this in depth, mostly because I am still figuring it out, one of the ways in which I cope with a belief that nothing is worth it, is relationships. My relationships with people make life worth it. They fill me with joy and love. (Though I have my own set of struggles when it comes to valuing people).
However, the more relationships I have, the more I see brokenness. As I watched The Croods tonight with my family, I was struck by one of the scenes. As the father was about to throw his daughter across a ravine to be safe, which would leave him behind unable to cross, the daughter resisted shouting about things left unsaid and a broken father daughter relationship she doesn’t have time to fix.
Time to fix. Words to say. I went to school in another state. Every single time I left from school, or left home I always had a deep feeling of having not said enough. I wanted to tell my friends how much I cared about them and how much they meant to me. But never could find the words. Eventually I came to not worry as much. After enough trips back and forward I realized that those relationships I really cared about were always there for me to pick up. Goodbye became, “see you later”
But this doesn’t apply when a relationship comes to an end or is broken. Even if you see some friends again, you may never be in a position to say what you wished you could have said. I can think of several friendships, where I will never be able to tell them how much they mean to me. I will never be able to apologize enough, or fix what I had left broken. I will never be able to share the dreams I had with them.
And this bothers me. It is a brokenness. And I want to fix it. I want to leave everything at peace and in good order. But I find, that at times I can’t. I know that I am trying to earn love. To earn their memory of me being one of a good friend and not one that ran out. But I cannot.
There is a way to respond to the darkness and brokenness in life, which I will write about next, but there are so many things that the solution moves outside of our grasp.