A Kinda, Sorta Attempt at an Explanation.
“Curmudgeon, you don’t much believe in marriage, do you? After all, in your last three articles, you compare the Church’s teachings on Marriage to idolatry. In your series on Happy vs. Holy, you condemn the idea that God made marriage to help us be better Christians. In your last post, you say, with its teachings on marriage, that the Church “constructs a prison.” So you don’t believe in the institution of Marriage, do you?
The short answer is, “If I don’t believe in Marriage, I am one of the biggest hypocrites in the Church, as I’ve been married to the same wonderful Christian woman for 43 years, and the “till death do us part” is a given for us. It’s our mindset.
The slightly longer answer is “No, not the Institution of Marriage that the Church teaches. My articles, past and future, make that clear.” But you do need to understand that this is a relatively new answer for me. Up until four years ago, I held to every one of the ‘tenets’ I now argue against. I would be the first to jump, with both feet, into any discussion of marital problems with the catchphrase, “God hates divorce!”, spraying Mal. 2:16 about me as hard and fast as I could.
So what happened to me? What changed my perspective? Believe it or not, the beginning of the improvement of my marriage was the trigger.
For years, Wife and I moved along in our marriage and Christian faith together. We served our church, and we organized our lives so that my income would be able to support our family as she home-schooled our children. Like many homeschooling Christians, family came first.
In addition, Wife and I were Sunday School teachers and became ministers in our denomination. Outside of our church activities, I played chess and played with computers in my free time, while Wife worked with the homeschool co-op. We were the perfect Christian couple.
But while we were serving, we weren’t satisfied. Some background is needed here, to tell why we became who we were.
First, in 2001, I suffered a knee injury that has apparently sent me spinning down the path of physical disability. By 2010, due to painful arthritis in my hip, I was unable to sleep in my bed upstairs, but could only sleep in the “zero gravity” position of a recliner chair. I had to take early retirement from my librarian position due to the pain.
Second, our differing attitudes toward intimacy and how we viewed each other in this area led to a misunderstanding that was, in retrospect, massive. And, of course, the failure to communicate about it was an example of wall-building at its finest.
Third, my dad died in 2007, and Wife says that, to her, it seemed to send me into a long depression. Dad died as he lived, dreading the very mention of God. He and Mom seemed to be fearful that those children who were Christians might try to take advantage of his dying condition and try to ‘trick’ him into heaven. Yes, it was hard to accept that I will never see Dad again, here or there.
Be that as it may, the upshot of all this is that we were a couple who were slogging through our marriage to the “Death us do part” phase. We weren’t ‘unhappy’, but we couldn’t say we were ‘happy.’ Depressed? Yes, but not ‘unhappy.’
to be continued…