So, I just passed 16, count ’em, 16 years of marriage this fall! And the universal consensus is that I got a good one in Jeff. He is a wonderful husband and I am so grateful we are still best friends, still in love and still have lots of dreams of things we want to do and accomplish together as long as God gives us breath.
While I would in no way claim to be an expert on marriage, I am nonetheless an experienced married person. And like most married people, I have opinions. (If there are any of you married-more than 25+ years reading this, please try not to chuckle.)
Surprisingly though, my thoughts aren’t centering around what practices and behaviors married people should incorporate into their lives. Instead, because Jeff and I are passionate university student workers, I am thinking about what still-dating, engaged or recently-married couples can do in order to grow the type of marriage they want. In other words, my thoughts on marriage are something like this, “It is easier to build something right the first time then to try and repair it later.”
I read the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell a while back. Fascinating read. He studied and wrote about a particular researcher who claimed he could predict within 10 minutes of meeting a couple, with astounding statistical accuracy, whether or not their marriage would end in divorce. In other words, there are clues, noticeable ones too that predict relational trajectory: where a couple will end up. I found the concept to be fascinating, as Jeff and I both have seen couples together and can pretty much instantly tell something of the quality of their relationship. You can too I suspect.
So I want to write a few blog entries in the coming weeks about what I’ll call “marriage predictors” – those character qualities, behavior patterns and practices that young couples integrate into their marriage, either on purpose or accident. And like road signs, they tell us all where the relationship is heading. They predict trajectory. Either to greater intimacy, trust, friendship, affection, commitment, togetherness, mutual sanctification and spiritual maturity – or to separation, whether physically or emotionally. There are lots of couples out there who might still live under the same roof and might even share the same bed, but who are already single people again in their hearts. I find this incredibly sad.
I hope you will come along and contribute to the discussion.