Marrwiage. Marrwiage is what bwings us together today. Marrwiage, that bwessed awangement, that dweam wifin a dweam. This is a quote from the movie The Princess Bride, one of my family’s favorites. Marriage is a common topic around our home. As a marriage counselor I try to help couples make fun of their marriage.
Marriage is a funny thing, isn’t it? It has been likened to flies on a screen – those on the outside looking for a way in, and those on the inside looking to get out!
Why is it that marriage – one of the most universal relationships in the world, found in every culture throughout history is so difficult? Let’s take a humorous look at marriage in the next few minutes together, with the intention of identifying some of the common struggles in marriage. Just by identifying them we have taken a step to improving our relationships.
One of the problems in marriage may be a lack of role models. Do you know who has the longest-lasting marriage on TV today? Homer and Marge Simpson! How’s that for a role model? I don’t think so. In fact, I think that they had some genetic disorder – have you noticed that their children never grow older? When I was a kid we had great role models, like Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, Ward and June Cleaver, and Ricky and Lucy Ricardo. Though, I don’t know about Lucy and Ricky. How good could their marriage have been sleeping in twin beds! Makes you wonder how they got Little Ricky!
Are role models really that important? What about Adam and Eve? They did not have any role models, do you think they were happily married? Let’s see, they did’t have a mortgage payment; they had a home with a beautiful view; a lot of pets; no telephones, which means no telemarketers calling at dinnertime! They had no supermodels trying to convince Eve she needs Slimfast, no pager telling Adam that his boss wanted to talk to him. And they had no inlaws! Yes, I think they may have been the happiest couple ever! So, what happened? Let’s think about it…
It was a Sunday afternoon in the Meadowlands, and Adam was watching the Eagles and the Broncos play. He had earlier watched the Bears and the Lions play, and later that evening he was planning on watching the Seahawks and the Rams play. As you know, it would be centuries before he would be able to see the Vikings or the Raiders, and even longer still before he could catch the Jets in action.
While Adam was vegging, Eve was working with the veggies in the garden. Eve loved it in the garden. She loved smelling the fragrances as they wafted through the flowers. She loved the touch of the silky leaves on the trees, the explosive colors that danced in her eyes. Yet, there was something missing for Eve. What could possibly be missing in such a perfectly beautiful, peaceful place? Some of you ladies have already guessed it – Eve was dying to talk to someone! She had 5,000 words a day to speak and they were beginning to back up on her. Adam was busy, she couldn’t call her girl friends on the telephone because, duh, there was no 10-10-220 back then.
Eve was so desperate for discussion that she was willing to overlook a few peculiarities, to ignore some social norms. First, she was willing to talk to a stranger. Now I know that she did not have a Mom to warn her of such dangers, but isn’t this just common sense? Think about it, this snake comes slithering up to her, and the first thing he does is stick his tongue out at her. Then, she immediately gets drawn into a discussion about politics and religion! What was she thinking? By the time Adam got clued in, they had had apple pie for dessert, Eve was planning to go buy a new wardrobe, and they did not know it yet, but they were going to be house hunting very soon.
So we see, right from the beginning, one of the most common struggles for married couples – communication. Ever since that garden experience men and women have struggled to communicate.
One other challenge to marriages today is our society. We live in a culture that does not promote healthy relationships, let alone healthy marriages. Think about it. 150 years ago men spent 12 hours a day at the south end of a northbound mule. By the time he came home at the end of the day his wife looked pretty good! Now we have Hooters on billboards and busses, TV ads and the Internet throwing images at us so fast that you would have to be a Jedi to deflect them all.
Marriage is a funny thing, isn’t it? Sure, it is a challenge to communicate, to understand one another; there are struggles to handle finances, divide the workload, and defend against outside influences. Yet, it is still the most meaningful adult relationship that most of us will ever have. If you find yourself one of those flies on the inside of the screen wanting to get out, let me offer you an alternative. You can make the journey of marriage more enjoyable – if you make fun of marriage!