You’d think this article wasn’t for me. First, for years, I was anti-marriage. Didn’t need it, didn’t care. Still don’t really, though I do consider myself happily married. I like to think I would be happily partnered even if I weren’t married. Second, I’m atheist, and it’s a Christian publication. But I can still find value in the main messages, regardless of the packaging.
The article from Relevant Magazine has some excellent points that I can vouch for in my own experience. I would prefer it replaced marriage with partnership, and we should acknowledge that the concepts presented in the article should be interchangeable for either spouse, and applicable to straight as well as same-sex couples.
1. [Partnership] isn’t about living happily ever after, but more about having someone to trust with our dysfunction.
“I once read a book that alluded to the idea that marriage is the fire of life—that somehow it’s designed to refine all our dysfunction and spur us into progressive wholeness. In this light, contrary to popular opinion, the goal of marriage is not happiness. And although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight. It is designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on fire and help us grow.”
2. The more you give to a [partnership], the more it gives back.
“Notably, on the days my wife genuinely felt valued, I observed her advocating for me to invest deeply in to my work. She no longer saw our relationship and my career pursuits as competitors for my attention, and as she partnered with me in my career, I have experienced the benefits of having the closest person in my life champion me.”
3.[Partnership] can change the world.
“The point is that marriage has a higher goal than to make two people happy or even whole. Yes, the investment we make into our marriage pays dividends for us. But, concluded by Medina and his colleagues, the same investment also has significant implications for our family, our community and eventually our culture.”
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My husband and I write down annual goals each year (we avoid the term “New Year’s Resolutions”), and we mostly hit them year over year. In the coming year, with Baby on the way, we each added the goal that we would continue to prioritize our relationship while awaiting Baby’s arrival, and once Baby comes. We’ll see how it goes.