Whenever I preach on marriage or any topic, the responses vary but are often the same regardless of the topic. Money tends to bring out the same in people.
Some are excited about the possibility of change. Seeing marriage, money or pace in a new light. What would it look like if a couple started to serve and pursue each other. I love this response.
Another response is one of anger. Often when something new is presented, it pushes up against what is expected or what is known. This is the response when people say, “I’ll never give, I don’t see the need.” “I won’t slow down, because that’s how I’ve always done it.” “I won’t be in community because I don’t need people.” Underneath this response is always hurt, disappointment, letdown, broken promises, but ultimately sin and fear.
Another response to me is the saddest response, although the previous paragraph is equally heart breaking. It is the response of resignation or excuses.
This mostly comes up in marriage topics, but easily shows itself in other places. It is the person who longs to see something change but for whatever reason feels like nothing could be different. It is the, “I wish my spouse did ___, but because they don’t I’ll start to talk about why that is okay or ‘just the way it is.'” So heartbreaking.
I remember talking with a couple and they had all kinds of reasons why they weren’t pursuing each other, why they didn’t spend time together, and I tried to push on it and nothing. The next day the husband was on Facebook talking about why their marriage didn’t need that, almost like a badge of honor that they didn’t date each other anymore. The comments were astounding. Person after person affirming him. “You don’t need a date night. I know all kinds of couples with great marriages who don’t have a date night.” What all those people on Facebook didn’t know was how his wife was dying. The sin no one knew about because of the spiritual facade they put on.
I’ve yet to meet a couple who did that religiously get a divorce though or say they wished they had less date nights or less getaways.
I’ve met lots of couples who excused why they didn’t have a date night or getaway spend years in a mediocre marriage or get divorced.
Great things do not just happen, they happen through intentionality and through good, godly advice.
When Katie and I first started Revolution, we knew a couple who was a leader at another church in another state, a couple many people looked up to. She could not handle money at all. In fact, the husband kept a separate account so that his marriage did not go bankrupt financially (again). Yet, they would always talk their marriage up in classes, online. And every time I thought, “if people only knew.”
So, why do couples do this?
There is a sense of failure if your marriage is not as great as you make it sound online.
There is a fear we have of being found out, of admitting we don’t have it all together.
Yet, in that fear is misery because until we admit our need for help, we can’t ever move forward.
I remember the first time I said out loud that Katie and I went to see a Christian counselor when we first got married. The person gave me a weird look for a second and then I said, “What? We want to make sure our marriage is as great as possible and we’re not faking it anymore.”