Watching Elaine and George together in the same room is like watching two male rams clashing at the peak of mating season. Just being around them for any length of time you discover your shoulders are raised from tension, teeth gritted, and a tightness develops in the small of your back. These have to be the least compatible people to be around, much less candidates for a serious relationship. But they are not on a blind date. They are not only friends. They have been married for 35 years. And in recent times they have been asked if they were newlyweds when others have seen them together. Very loving when they choose to be. Extremely difficult the rest of the time.
Thy are two alpha personalities.
Many people set a course for marriage and family life based on the superficial elements of hormones and sex drives which defines their "love" more than most realize. As any seasoned married couple will tell you there are times when they fall in and out of love over the course of the marriage and nobody has done anything wrong. That the commitment of marriage is what the marriage is really all about not the love*.
Just knowing this IMHO would save most marriages that end up in divorce.
* Let me qualify this statement by defining love. For the English word is really rather vague and can be applied to inanimate objects or ideas or refer to a general fondness as well as to the life changing passion and affections that fill the pages of scripture, books of poetry, song lyrics, etc. But the Greeks had very specific words and definitions for love.
- agape (often called God's love) is the least self-involved love
- phileo (brotherly love) is a lesser self-involved love
- storge (friendship) is a love balance of self-involvement and selflessness
- eros (erotic / lust) is all about self-involvement with a small amount of regard for others†
† The only thing that puts eros in the category of love is the concern for the object of your affections as opposed to just plain lust.
"Only in marriage can you experience all four definitions." Ravi Zacharias
But there is an even greater definition IMHO by the Christian singer songwriter Don Francisco:
"Love is not a feeling it's an act of your will."
So, when Elaine and George are in the same room (say, in the kitchen) both trying to accomplish independent tasks both getting in each others' way at every turn... they have long since placed the commitment of their marriage above all the things that would surely have driven them to divorce court years ago by the sheer frustration. Every turn interrupted, every thought disagreed with or take the wrong way... alphas are simply this way.
I know, I am one. I did some major searching fearing the worst that I was just some major A-hole from all the conflicts in my life (as far back as I can remember) and I sincerely wanted to remedy this. Then I discovered most of the clashes were with other alphas, and the only way to avoid that is to stop being yourself. Which to a certain degree is mandatory if we are going to exist and function in society... propriety, protocol, courtesy, etc. But to avoid these clashes entirely is to shut down being a person and when I actually tried this it blew up in everyone's face (steam kettle scenario).
In this thread I am trying to philosophize and to equip fellow believers and to warn them as well. Just because society has made the habit of divorce (as high at times as 52% of marriages ending up that way) does not mean it is right or that it is easy. God joins married people together spiritually. As to split what God has joined is not done easily no matter how you try or how you run from it. A Christian lady who survived the Nazi concentration camps of WWII (and who lost her entire family there) said the pain of divorce was worse than that pain when her husband declared he did not love her anymore and ran off with his secretary.
Romantic love is blind. So the odds are already against you. But as best you are able, know what you are about to get yourself into and with whom you are about to get into it. Beauty is passing. Chemistry is passing though it can be rekindled at times. Love comes and goes. But the commitment you make is what seals the deal and your two spirits. Is the prospective spouse a nut? Look at their family. In most cases the nut doesn't fall far from the tree. Are they self-absorbed? We all are far more than we should be (which is solved only by love thy neighbor as thyself, but so few of us practice this to any degree). But there are some people who are self-absorbed.
A secular comedian once said about marrying the wrong (woman, in his case), you' be better off just finding a woman you hate and buying her a house. The same is true about men btw. Point being you must consider what marriage is beyond the illusion or mirage of what it appears to be. Because God honors the commitment regardless of the stupid decision it might be at times. And your end of the bargain is expected.
Love and marriage can be the greatest things in the world to experience, and gifts from God. But most marriages end up in divorce or in empty shell marriages because people are too impulsive and do not investigate what they are about to get themselves into. No one can know 100% what the future will bring. Chances are just as likely as not that you might end up with a spouse who is invalid (handicapped) and you are just as married to them as you were before. Aside from Jesus Christ and his salvation there are no guarantees in this life. Just use caution and use your brain especially in matter of the heart.
[edit: fixed title]