Sunday, November 28, 2010
The Death of a Well-Intentioned Marriage
They were young and naive and so in love. He had lived a sheltered life of insecurity and couldn't believe someone with such grace and sophistication would glance at him, much less love him. She was raised under the harsh authority of a cold, bigoted father. Neither had any idea or insight into the impact of their past upon their present nor the impact each of them would have on the one they loved. They would soon find out.
They were devout in their faith. Their faith context was deceptive--not by intent, but in the outcome. They married in bible college, preparing for the ministry. The axiom--and myth--was "Bible college marriages are made in heaven." Unfortunately, they're lived out on earth.
It wasn't long at all before their differences and dysfunction--nesting dormant under the surface--became triggered in the crucible of intimacy. Within a year the frustration, the misunderstanding, the incompatibility reached intolerable proportions. They were embarrassed to seek help. A person preparing for the ministry was supposed to have it together; a Christian couple was assumed to be exponentially intact. What would others in their subculture think? So the secrecy slowly destroyed them. Three years later, they finally sought help, but the cumulative damage was lethal--like a cancer discovered in the final stages, having wrapped its tentacles around all vital organs. The therapist's role. at that point, was not to attempt restoration, but to acknowledge the death and proceed with the burial of the relationship.
The saddest day and, ironically, the most tender day of their marriage was the day of their parting. They sat on their apartment steps and sobbing as they embraced, they each said they were so sorry, they regretted the hurt they had caused each other, and they said good-bye. They never saw each other again.
There are times when good intentions, blind faith, and being "in love" amount to nothing. Being in love may have nothing to do with knowing how to love.
If they had only known.
Life can be cruel like that.