Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Whispers of Lucifer: The lips of a PhD, part II

I can say anything. Whether or not anyone harkens to what I say depends upon whether or not it jives with reality. I can say it, but can I support it.

About a month ago, I began to look at a train-wreck of an essay by Dr. Keith Ablow of Fox News (essay here and my two-cents here) where he announces that marriage in America is terminal. We've gotten to a point in our national discourse where, when we disagree with another man's position, we just roll our eyes and move on. I would love to do that here, but considering the tires on my car will last longer than most American marriages, we must assess the merits of his argument.

In this section of his essay, Dr. Ablow points to the erosion of pleasure in a long term relationship as a key reason that a marriage cannot last.:
Once human beings understood that they could express themselves emotionally, romantically and sexually without necessarily creating multiple families and perilously dividing their assets, the psychological pain of living without sexual passion (even by choice) was significantly intensified. And, make no mistake about it, marriage that includes cohabitation is a really tough environment in which to preserve such passion. The vast, vast majority of men and women, in fact, are no longer physically attracted to their spouses after five or ten years (that’s being kind), if they have seen one another most of that time. Human beings just are not built to desire one another once we have flossed in the same room a hundred times and shared a laundry basket for thousands of days.
In a nutshell, passion makes the marriage.

He goes on to describe how familiarity not only lets the air out of the ardor, but it also sets us at odds with one another:
Very few normal people who live together for long enough want to keep on doing it. Roommates tire of each other. Sons and daughters grow up and move out. Siblings end up at each other’s throats.
If you want to find a more shallow foundation upon which to anchor your marriage, look no further than passion or pleasure.  Solomon had all he could have and cried, "Meaningless!" (Ecclesiastes)  Louis Jourdan in his role as Gaston in "Gigi" had everything a man could ask for from dollars to dames.  His conclusion?  "It's a bore."

The high octane kinematics that makes up an early relationship soon fades. What will replace it? This is where love comes in, not Hollywood's version of "ooh, what a feeling" love, but commitment--heart, soul, and body--to the good of another person. Does God's love cease for us? NEVER! Neither should our seeking of the good cease for our spouse.

Here's another thing, an embarrassment, really, to us as Americans. We can never know all there is to know about our bride. She is a person as deep and dynamic as you. She has nooks and crannies in her heart and mind that you have never discovered. You may have made your bed with her for a quarter century, but you do not know--nor can you know--all there is to know about the sweet treasure beside you.  That's why Peter tells us to "dwell with our wives in an understanding way" (ESV) or "according to knowledge" (KJV) in 1 Peter 3:7. We are to know our wives better than a PhD knows his thesis, better than Phil Mickelson knows the greens at Augusta. Even then, we should be stoked because there is so much more about her that we do not know.

And that takes me to excitement.  Ablow is right; the passion does fade, but that does NOT mean that it has to end. When eros (nitro-glycerin, sexual love) fades, it fades because we let it fade. To have a lasting marriage, we must kindle romance. Some thoughts:

  • What lights your woman's fire? LIGHT IT!! You don't know? Dwell with her with understanding--i.e. find out.
  • Get away. One of the surest ways to lose that loving feeling is to not date your woman. You find the sitter. You pick the place (not a sports bar unless she REALLY likes the food there). Have a rose pre-positioned on her plate.
  • Get AWAY. Ask the grandparents or some close friends to watch the kids for an overnight, a weekend, or longer.  If you haven't gotten away alone with your woman on an overnight or more, sir, you are missing out on some of the best time to have with your best friend and lover.
  • Talk. Yep, talk. Turn off the tube. Push away from the computer and talk to the filly that stole your heart years ago.
Is marriage doomed because we're now aware of one another's bodily functions? For many in the church and in our nation, the answer is yes, because we're shallower than a kiddie pool. But if we understand that passion and pleasure are byproducts of a marriage that is functioning properly, most especially where the man is loving his woman as Christ loved the church, it can last until you go home to be with the Lord.

The choice is yours!

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