In 1962, Malvina Reynolds (a folk and blues singer-songwriter) wrote “Little Boxes” which later became a hit for Pete Seeger. The song was about the conformity of the growing middle class; they all looked the same, did the same things, and lived in cookie-cutter tract houses build with cheap materials (ticky-tacky).
I wonder how many people are living in ticky-tacky marriages. Cookie-cutter marriages built on a cheap foundation. We copy what our parents did, or we copy what we see others doing, as if marriage could be a one-size-fits-all relationship. We don’t invest much, and what we most care about is looking like others – at least on the outside. We know the outside doesn’t show the truth, and we occasionally wonder if most marriages are less than they look like from the outside, but we just go on because it’s all we know.
This is not what God intended!
Marriage is two unique individuals becoming one. How could there be a cookie-cutter format for that? Sure, there are some parameters for right and wrong, and what usually works well and what usually does not, but there should be a huge amount of variety. Some of what works for my wife and me will not work for you and your spouse. Some of what works for the folks next door will not work for us. Some of what worked for our parents will work for us, while some will not, and some things that did not work for them will work very well for us.
You can learn a great deal from other couples. You will see things and say, “That might work for us.” You will also see things and say, “That would be a huge mistake for us.” Examples can thus be both what to do, and what to avoid.
Get your marriage out of “little boxes”, and let it be what God intended it to be. Find God’s limits, and then explore within those. Be willing to try things others would call weird and stop being afraid of being different.