Saturday, June 1, 2013

What Makes a Great Marriage?

There are things that have been swirling in my head for quite some time now. Things that I have been too muddled about to share with anyone other than Jake and couple of trusted friends.

To say that the last couple years have been challenging is an understatement. They have been excruciating at times, full of wonder and joy in others, and a great spectrum of gray in between. The wonderful moments fit in with all our conventional ideas of a "great marriage."

But what about all of our excruciating moments? There have been so many days, weeks, and even months in our marriage over the last couple of years that simply do not fit into the traditional understanding of "great" or "good" or even "kinda ok."And as we've experienced difficult life circumstances such as the loss of a pregnancy, IVF, foster care, adoption, unexpected natural pregnancy, moving, job issues and so forth I have been wondering......

What really constitutes a good marriage?

I mean there are like a million books, blogs, and resources out there that tell me what a good marriage should look like. (Heck, including our own book and blog and articles.) And more often than not, my marriage does not meet those standards. And all around me I see marriages that are just like mine. Marriages that don't fit into the good category that has been created, but that are slogging through because we believe that loving one another, keeping a commitment, honoring God, and spending life together counts very much.  

If you notice, I have not written much on the blog in the past year. I've honestly been struggling with what to say. When you're constantly pondering, "I think we might all be getting this marriage thing wrong," but yet you don't have any answers to what will make it right, it's easier just to stay silent. Totally admit, my bad.

I believe in marriage. And I believe in order for it to stay healthy and strong in this day and age, it's time for things to change. For us to go about it in a new way and to understand relationships in a new way. But I don't know how. For example, I just read Tim Keller's book, The Meaning of Marriage. The whole thing was fantastic, spot on, so true. And yet...I wanted more. I wanted new ways to say the truths about marriage found in the Bible. I wanted to cut the Christan-ese. I wanted a different perspective on how to live out some of this stuff on a day-to-day basis. I wanted fresh insights into 21st century relationships.

Because sticking together is hard and it's not working for a lot of people and I don't have any tried and true answers for how to make staying easier. Jake and I will continue to share what we learn as we go along. But we're figuring out how to stick it out in our own unique marriage every day. 

So, deep breath, that is what I would like to say. I believe it's time for a massive cultural shift in the way that we think about, talk about, understand, and practice marriage. I have some inklings of what this might mean, but overall I'm as clueless as everyone else. I look forward to the future and hope that people start talking about marriage in new and groundbreaking ways. Because I'm eager to hear what we all have to discuss.

What do you think? Does marriage need an overhaul? If so, what do you think needs to be talked about in different ways?



  1. I love the book The Meaning of Marriage. It gives us a history of why marriage has lost cultural value & why marriage was created in the first place! It is definitely a start for those who want their marriage to last. I agree with you Melissa, there is still so much more to learn and discover. I've only been married for 3 months and already I've seen the realities that shake a marriage up. I'm tired of formulas that mean well; I'm ready to embrace all that marriage can be. Marriage has been an institution for so long that, it has been defined by everyone else but the individuals who make it up.

  2. Mutual understanding and trust.That's it.The whole life is depend on this.

  3. I have read that book Ashley and it's absolutely one of the good ones! Thanks :)

  4. I too agree with Melissa to a point. I don't think marriage needs an overhaul; however, the way we view marriage does. For many years we, society, has viewed marriage as an "institution". When you think of the word institution it congers up negative thoughts and feelings. When the truth is that marriage as God designed is an organism. It is living, breathing, and interdependent on many different parts. I have been married for thirteen years. What I have found is that when I view my marriage through the eyes of the world, self-fulfilling, I become empty and bitter but when I look at my marriage through the eyes as God designed it, I find joy and love. Marriage grows and changes just as we grow and change.

    It is time for us to capture every negative thought and turn all the dead we have labeled marriage with and replace it with what God's vocabulary of marriage. We believe that God's word is living and breathing, then so is marriage. Marriage is alive!

    And just as a human body can't survive with only one organ functioning, neither can a marriage. This is why it is so important for us to start being honest with one another about the true state of where our marriage is and allowing our flaws in our marriage to be discussed openly with fellow believers. There is a lot us younger married couples can learn from airing our "dirty laundry" with older married couples. We can learn a lot through mentorship! That's what Jesus did for the disciples, he mentored them through transparent behavior, acting in the best interest of kingdom work not individuals, and love.

    How do we overhaul marriage? Capture every negative marriage thought and turn it over to Christ, view marriage through God's eyes, and become truly transparent about our marriage, especially the hard parts with others who can and are willing to help, not tell you what you want to hear. Marriage is kingdom work!

  5. Marriages in India are the most memorable event of one’s life. Marriage is just like a Indian culture where all Indian tradition are accomplished under society like horoscope and kundali matchmaking, Many consider the practice of Indian society, economic, geographic, and the historic significance of India.


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.