Monday, April 27, 2015

Till Death Do Us Part

image used under Creative Commons license,
courtesy of it.wikipedia.org
Our title is part of the marriage vows.  I read a Yahoo story about Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard that really got me thinking about marriage, our society's throw away mindset, parenting, commitment, etc.  The article is actually a shorter version of an upcoming Good Housekeeping Magazine interview.

The picture at the left is a good start to our discussion.  Kristen looks like a California girl, Dax is blue jeans casual.  Every interview I've seen of the two of them, they sound different from each other.  Kristen can rock an evening gown.  Dax is like most guys -- a suit doesn't suddenly turn him into another George Clooney.  Dax is casual in his speech.  Kristen, while more precise, can be pretty blunt.  In other words, they're basically opposites who make you wonder how they grew together and stay together.  And that's what we want to look at.

First, despite that we're a Christian blog talking about Christian topics and the Bible, I've seen nothing to indicate whether Dax and Kristen are or aren't Christians.  So, we're not going to claim that it's their religious beliefs driving what is, so far, an apparently successful marriage.  And whether or not they approach their relationship from a Biblical viewpoint, they do some things that are absolutely right.

When Kristen and Dax met, the only two sure things they had in common were that both were from Michigan and both were Detroit Red Wings fans.  They met at a game.  She was highly positive, had a sunny disposition, was very trusting.  He, on the other hand, had a tendency to see the negative.  But they both had qualities that attracted each other.  Their differences could have seemed insurmountable or they could become things to overcome together.  Which is where we start learning some good lessons by example.

The interview indicated the two stuck together like glue after that Red Wings game.  Dax was still more negative than positive in outlook, with a ton of distrust.  The article suggested that he thought there was something wrong with the sunny attitude Kristen and her friends had.  Perhaps they were in a cult.  But Dax also recognized that he wanted her and what she had as a part of his life.  They dated, his attitudes began to shift.  They became inseparable.  Let's shift gears for a moment.

Kristen and Dax have been married for several years and have two children.  Like most couples, they really weren't sure they wanted kids -- maybe more for the sake of the kids than themselves. Kristen said she asked the friends who were likely to bluntly be against it if there was a reason. And they all echoed that parenthood was a blessing.  And that's been exactly what Dax and Kristen discovered.  The thing I really liked about their attitude toward parenthood was that they were, perhaps, more interested in doing it right for the children's sake than for their own comfort.  With that as the basis of having children, the likelihood of success became much greater.  Having said that, let's get back to where we detoured.

Both Kristen and Dax recognized that they wanted each other in their lives.  But they also distrusted that possibility, because of large differences in thinking and attitudes.  So they did something that more couples ought to do -- they committed to the importance of the relationship.  Very early in their relationship, they started going to couples therapy.  It sounded like they did that even before they got married.

One of the things Dax pointed out in the interview was a news item about another Hollywood couple whose marriage was on the rocks and were now getting counseling.  He pointed out that it wasn't likely to help because the time for the counseling was when the marriage was good, strengthening it before it broke.  Kristen suggested that we do better in the gym when we have a trainer.  And she pointed out that food comes out better when we have a recipe.

There's a joy in a good relationship and there's a joy in good parenthood beyond the norm.  Yes, I would have been happier had they said they were getting Biblical counseling.  But that doesn't mean that there isn't any quality in the secular therapy.  There are some valid Biblical principles we see, here.

  1. They committed to each other,
  2. They committed to the relationship,
  3. They committed to the well being of the children, and
  4. They were willing to do what it took to live in those commitments.
Sure, they're missing what we know to be an essential component by leaving God out of the equation.  But that doesn't make all of secular counseling wrong.  If we're careful with what we accept as input, our relationship with God can give us Godly principles in places others might not see that.  And, for the unbeliever, it just might be the path to salvation, as they recognize that the principles came from God.

You may have noticed that this may be the first post, here, where I didn't include any verses.  There are a ton of them.  And we each have our own favorites.  Apply the ones that speak to you.  And then ask yourself, "Am I ready to make that kind of commitment to my relationships, from God on down?".  Are we serious about "till death do us part"?

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