Friday, August 06, 2010

Shopping for a Life

Marriage has no guarantees.
If that's what you're looking for,
go live with a car battery.

Erma Bombeck

Whenever we shop for an appliance or an electronic gadget, we start researching the possibilities. The options can be overwhelming. We look at the features, read the reviews, and examine the guarantees.

We are enamored with the gadget that does more/faster than anything we have owned. About a month after we buy the latest/greatest, a new gadget is out that has even more features. Discontentment sets in, but no guarantee covers this kind of discontentment.

The business world spends millions of dollars trying to discern the next trend. Some experts describe consumers of today as more individualistic. “Personal values rule, not social ones. Consumers are promiscuous shoppers. Smart consumers aren't loyal.” (Miriam Sultzman)

The leading sellers provide the best services. The buyer can return the product - no questions asked, no penalties, full refund.

Many people are approaching marriage and shopping for a mate with the same criteria.

What are the features I want in this person (product)? What are the criteria for performance? Will the person (product) make me happy?

Very little or no thought is attributed to my part in the relationship. If my happiness wanes, something is wrong with the person (product). I have no loyalty or long-term commitment to the person (product). Another person (product) would make me happier.

Our culture and laws make it possible to discard the person (product) with no questions asked (no fault divorce). The other person has no rights to stop the process. Many want 100% satisfaction guarantee when discontentment sets in.

Are we “shopping” for a happy life - or are we committed to our spouse and to pursuing godliness?

Side Effects
Two-thirds of divorces today end low-conflict marriages. They’re ending marriages that are not characterized by abuse or violence or very serious and frequent quarreling. They’re ending marriages that are often ending for reasons like people grew apart. They’re not sure if they love each other anymore. Somebody else at work is more interesting. Sometimes they’re ending for reasons that we can be sympathetic for — the people in the marriage are hurting. But a lot of this stuff is not on the radar screen to the child. What’s on their radar screen is the day their parents come and tell them they’re getting a divorce. That’s when that child’s world falls apart. (Elizabeth Marquardt, author of Between Two Worlds
About a third of high school girls do not expect to be successful at staying married, despite their desire for a life-time marriage.

Most people who initiate divorce are primarily concerned with their own feelings - regardless of the impact to the spouse, the children, or the society.

At the Fall, humans became self-centered and selfish, quick to blame others for their misery. Another way of life appears through God’s grace.... Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.  (Matthew 5:6)