We grow up with an image of what marriage is, but that image is not all truth. For many of us it’s more lie than truth.
In the first place, our thinking about marriage is far more shaped by the media than we realise. We all know what a joke most Hollywood marriages are; why would we think Hollywood could show a true image of marriage even if they wanted to? Distortions about marriage (and sexuality) permeate media; any resemblance to a healthy marriage accidental and unintentional! Even if you are free of those false ideas about marriage, you are influenced by others who have seen those lies.
Then there is the example of those around us. Human nature being what it is those who have bad marriages tend to make more noise and be more evident than those who have good marriages. What’s more, human nature being what it is, we are drawn to look at marriages that resemble train wrecks more than marriages where the couple are committed and happy. We take perverse pleasure in seeing the difficulties of others, but in the process, we learn bad messages about marriage.
I find those who have good marriages are often reluctant to speak up. Maybe they don’t want to make others feel bad. Perhaps they have learned saying you have a good marriage is taken as bragging or pride. Some try to make great marriages a rarity, a curiosity others cannot possibly replicate. I can’t tell you how many times my marriage, or the way I treat my bride, or the way she treats me, has been dismissed with “They blog about marriage, they have to do that.”
Most of our modern marriage examples are horrible, and nothing like what God intended. What we see is not what we should be living. It may be what we get, but only if we decide to settle for it. We can have better, and do better, if we choose better. You do not have to be in marriage ministry to be a good and loving husband, and your bride does not have to start writing a marriage blog to be a good and loving wife.