Marriage and divorce and public school

Today’s journal topic in class was about divorce, citing a study that suggests that children of divorce often have trouble establishing intimacy as they grow into adulthood.  Of course, real trusting intimacy is hard for anyone, especially those who have been wounded.  It was very emotional for me mostly because of what I could not say.  I gave some wisdom I have learned about marriage and divorce.  I talked a little about my own marriage and what I have learned through it.  And in one class I even pointed out that dating doesn’t prepare you for marriage, it prepares you for divorce, because it teaches people to make decisions based upon emotions rather than commitment.  In dating, you can always have one foot out the door.  And when the sparks grow dim, the other foot joins it.  What we learn is that marriage must be when the sparks finally stay.  But married folks will tell you that the sparks come and go, and if it’s just about the sparks, you are in trouble.  Committed intimacy in marriage is so much deeper and yet more real than sparks.

So when I said that, a student asked me, “So how do you prepare for marriage?”  I managed a lame, “grow your character and learn how people work.”  Oh how I wish I could have said:

“Pour yourself into Jesus!  Learn to let Him romance you and teach you what intimacy is supposed to be!  Surrender to him your choices and attitudes, learning to submit to His authority.  And let Him love you in a way that a spouse never can.  Once you have been loved by the Father through Christ, you will know better how to love someone else, putting their needs before your own.  Practice loving your family and friends like this.  Then in marriage you will also not be overly dependent upon a spouse’s love, as they are only human and cannot meet all your needs.  Then you are both free!  Free to become who God wants you to be without fear of rejection and loss.  Put the Father at the center of your life now, so he can be the center of your marriage later.”   Father, may I pursue this myself!  Knowing and doing are often so different!

But alas, I am a public school teacher.

Jeremiah 20:9:

But if I say, “I will not mention him
or speak any more in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.

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1 Comment

  1. Ellie

     /  April 21, 2010

    we did a journal on the link on my facebook wall from youtube about a “lost generation.” & talked about whether or not they are doomed for divorce…some of them mentioned “I guess if we had problems we could try counseling.” & I asked why not try counseling before marraige? Most looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language and one asked “Is this like one of those Mark Twain jokes where you’re the only one who gets it?” I pointed out that we go to doctors for imunizations and preventative checkups a lot when we’re newborn babies so that we grow up healthy, so why not take a newborn relationship for checkups & imunizations? I got inspired and carried on with the metaphor and said that if a parent doesn’t take a newborn to the doctor it could be because the parent thought their baby was perfect and had no potential problems, but it’s more likely because that parent is too busy and doesn’t make it a priority. In reality, that parent is setting that child up for serious problems. There’s so many things I pray my students consider more seriously.

    some of them seemed suprised that I mentioned on facebook that drugs do not relieve stress. They asked me in class what I meant and I was able to share that the obvious reasons why, and then they seemed lost and one asked “well then, what are we supposed to do when we feel stressed?” It does feel lame to only be able to say “seek out a mature person you trust, communicate honestly, and imagine how you will look back on the stressful situation 10 years from now, and if you haven’t laughed by then, seek out a good-natured joke.” Of course the rebel in me had to throw in “if you’re curious about the mature people I seek out when I’m stressed, I am a literature teacher so I’ll just tell you to read the world-wide, most translated & best selling book of all time.”

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