Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Affairs Never Help a Marriage

It's funny when you do a little research into the history of technology and what people thought it would do for us, our jobs and our lives as it advanced. I remember hearing or reading somewhere that the general perception early on was that technology, and specifically computers, would provide us with more time to spend with our families and in leisure activities because our jobs would be completed quicker. How has that worked out for us?

The exact opposite has happened. Technology has only heightened and increased the competition among businesses and increased our work loads. No only has our work load increased but now it follows us around no matter where we are because of cell phones, Palm Pilots and Blackberries. Not only are people getting home later from work but work seems to follow us there and rings or vibrates throughout dinner with our families.

This is something that Melissa and I have really struggled with over the past year.

I love my cell phone and tend to be on it a lot. I actually forgot it at home today and all day I keep grabbing for it and looking for it. You don't realize how much you actually use something until you don't have it.

My phone, up until two weeks ago (I'll explain the change in a moment), has been a huge point of contention in our marriage because I would get home and instead of paying attention to Melis and talking to her I would be constantly checking my phone. Writing texts to friends or youth group kids, checking my personal or work e-mail, checking the Red Sox scores and latest news or simply playing solitaire. I even would take my phone to the bathroom with me if we didn't have any new magazines.

Basically, I was acting like I was married to my cell phone and my constant need, addiction really, to constant information and contact. I was having an affair with my Palm Pilot!

Melissa has been talking to me for a while about this and expressing how much I was hurting her with my constant attention to my phone vs. my lack of attention to her but I am stubborn. I would always just excuse her feelings and tell her she wasn't being realistic. "I need my phone with me at all times!!"

What happens if a kid is having a crisis and needs me? What if there is an e-mail about something important going on tomorrow? What if someone needs to get a hold of me? What if the Red Sox come back in the bottom of the ninth and I'm one of the last to hear about it?

Really...all those excuses are either selfishness, pride and buying into the worlds notion of working all the time!

I really came to the realization of my addiction in Mexico. Through the teaching of the staff and missionaries, some insightful comments by some brilliant high schoolers and by my own observations of the Mexican culture and their value of relationships my eyes were open to my misplaced energy and time.

So what did I do? Well...I didn't go to the extreme of getting rid of my phone, but there is a part of me that really wants to. But instead I deleted all the games on my phone and got rid of the internet. No more solitaire...no more e-mails...no more Red Sox news. (I did this all without Melissa even knowing I was doing it by the way).

On top of that, when I get home from work I try to put my cell phone in one place in the house and leave it there as opposed to it following me around in my pocket. Some nights I turn it off as well. And you know what, it has really helped Melis and I over the past two weeks. My attention is beginning to be placed on my wife and not constantly checking my phone.

It's not completed fixed because I still get phone calls (it's our home phone too) and texts but things are much better. Partly due to the canceled internet and deleted games but also because of a little disciple to avoid the phone and love on my wife.

Now, I know I am not the only one who has struggled with this issue of allowing technology cut into real relationships. Melis and I were at a bar last week to watch the Red Sox-Yankees game with some friends and everywhere I looked were people "hanging out" but yet texting people who weren't even there at the same time. The room was half full with people just staring at their cell phone screens...sad really!

I would really challenge you to assess your technology use? Is it cutting into real, physical relationships? If so...don't let it anymore. Do something about it. Get rid of it or part of your plan and commit to not letting it take away from conversations or time with your spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend or others.

Ask your spouse or significant other if they feel like it's a problem.
Talk about the issue and figure out a plan to make it a non-issue!

You're relationship is worth it...

Jake

Funny quote: "I just went and bought Madden 10 and was gunna pick up condoms too but I thought that would be a pretty oxymoronic purchase."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Arranged Marriage

Hey everyone. So a couple people have e-mailed us about the differences between the Western view of marriage (getting married for love) versus the way many other cultures view marriage (arranged, or spouse chosen by family members).

What does everyone think about arranged marriages? In many other cultures...family members chose your spouse or you go to a matchmaker. In the Middle East many marriages are made to benefit the financial standing of the family or clan. This is really, really different than what we in America and Europe are used to. It often sounds/feels barbaric and backwards. But if you look at marriage statistics....cultures that have arranged marriages have a significantly smaller divorce rate. Something to think about.

Part of my family is from India...through marriage, not blood as anyone can tell by looking at my white skin and freckles! But when you marry into an Indian family you become part of the entire shebang :) And thus I grew up going to many Indian weddings, gatherings, and baptisms. I have been to two extended family member's weddings that have been arranged marriages. And in my experience...the man chose to have his parents arrange a marriage for him. He could have married "for love" if he wanted, but he wanted his parents to choose. And both marriages, to my knowledge, have worked out. They were committed to each other, learned to get to know each other and learned to love. So I have experienced arranged marriage in a positive sense.

A friend of our is also Indian and he shared that he has seen many arranged marriages stay together simply because it would be shameful to get divorced. So sometimes, it does not work out so well. Sometimes there is NOT love and respect, but there is commitment. Is that good? My opinion is no. What do you all think?

Another couple that are friends of ours, are overseas and shared this quote about arranged marriages:

"My main thought is that marriage has never until recently been this romantic love affair. When Christ calls us his bride he isn't thinking of the big white dress and fancy ceremony; marriage was a uniting of two people and families for life. It is celebrated because it is a life changing matter. Treating your spouse with respect, love, and value is what Christ preached not making someone feel good and happy. Somehow we have taken marriage to equal happiness and infatuation when it used to equal commitment and service. Happiness and infatuation are not requirements of a godly marriage. Maybe joy and love, but those are light years away from what America thinks is important today. [People in arranged marriages] learn to love someone rather than thinking they should be made happy by someone. They have such a beautiful mentality on marriage, I think it could really benefit Americans to take a different perspective on the entire arrangement"

So what do you all think? Post a comment below and lets have some discussion!

-Melissa
Our goal of this blog is to share stories (both good and bad), thoughts and insights about our marriage and we would love for you to jump into the conversation.

The goal is to provide three things:
1) HOPE for struggling couples that they are not alone.
2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.