The rhetoric that has flown around over the last couple of months concerning same sex marriage has been thought provoking to say the least. If you have been reading my blogs or my articles you know that I often come back to this important subject. It amazes me the different ramifications that have been offered for the acceptance of gay marriage. I have heard that the very fabric of American society is under attack. I have heard that traditional marriage has been irreparably harmed. I have heard about how children can now be adopted by gay couples (something I am not exactly thrilled to learn). I have heard how divorces rates are going to rise, and the list goes on.
While there are some legitimate concerns in these discussions, it is the comments about traditional marriage that have me perplexed. How does gay marriage make me a worse husband? I mean should my wife be concerned that our marriage will not be as strong because if things donít work out with her I know can marry another man? That is ludicrous. Does my neighbor being a gay man make me a worse father? Does his sexuality all of a sudden make me a worse provider for the home? Does my childís gay teacher now make me incapable of exercising self control in my life? Of course not. We know that is not the case. The only reason why divorce rates will go up is that we have a new demographic that will now be able to get divorced (and yes we are now seeing that take place). The truth is, a broken home is not caused by the Supreme Courtís decision. A broken home is not caused by a gay neighbor. A broken home is not caused by a President who pushed this agenda upon us. A broken home happens when the mother and father permit it to be broken by their behavior.
A broken home is caused by a unfixed breaking relationship. We can see the problems. Sure, we might argue that we didnít know it was that bad. Sure, we might argue that we didnít realize that she/he was ready to leave. But rarely, very rarely can we argue that a broken home truly came from nowhere. In other words, it is not that we are ignoring the warning signs, we just consider the warning signs as not that serious. We might be considering the bickering with the spouse as a level one on the tension scale. The spouse on the other hand may be sitting at a 6 or 7. We might view that blow up we had in public as not that big of an issue. Our spouse on the other hand may be so hurt by it that her/she finds it greatly difficult to move on. You might deem the lack of intimacy in your marriage as no big deal. Your spouse on the other hand might be deprived and feel the need to look somewhere else. Or what usually happens in that situation, someone else offers intimacy and the attention starved spouse takes it because it looks like at least someone loves him/her enough to offer a level of closeness that has been lacking in his/her marriage.
More often that not the reason why these warning signs are seen as no that big of a deal is because our communication skills are breaking down. In this day and age of multimedia outlets like Facebook, Twitter, email, instant messaging and texting communication is not thriving, but dying. Even a phone call conversation cannot provide the same level of communication that a face to face conversation can. If it is true that 90% of all communication is non-verbal then consider what message you are really sending in that text. Whatever it is you think you are saying 90% of it is lost (and by the way a wink or happy face is not the same thing as actually smiling at a person). And to this other distractions like music, television, books, work etc it can be easily seen that many husbands and wives donítí really talk to each other anymore. Sure, words are said, but the game is on. Words are said, but she is also busy chasing the kids around the house. Sure, words are said, but he is reading the paper. Sure, words are said, but you are also texting your buddy, your boss, your parents, etc at the same time.
If we really want to keep our homes from breaking we have to find time to actually talk to each other. Some husbands and wives will pay thousands of dollars in couples therapy to do what should have been done years ago. Turn the TV off. Turn the cellphones off. Call mom and dad and have them watch the kids. And finally, sit down at the table and talk to your spouse. Find out what is hurting him/her. Find out what you can do to help. Find out if you need to make some changes. Laugh together. Cry together. Pray together. Take an active role in mending the marriage before it is not a breaking home, but a broken home. WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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The Breaking Home
Volume 6 Issue 33