“What?” You say, “even a week to commemorate marriage?” Even my use of the word commemorate might be the way you think about marriage – something from yesteryear. Well, there are obviously enough people around who still want to celebrate it as an institution. The idea is not that we look back and remember what those marriages of grandma and grandpa used to be like but it is looking forward to what is still relevant in marriage today. The institution of marriage and the recording of it has been going on for thousands of years. It is still popular even if we measure it by the number of divorces. Obviously you have to get married to get divorced. By the way I am hearing that the number of marriages is going up and the number of divorces is going down, so maybe granny and gramps got it right after all. Any demise in marriage seems to say to me that we don’t know how to do marriage very well, not that the idea itself is dead. Of course, whether you marry or simply live together, the results are about the same. If marriage is your option, then think about the foundations that need to be laid. In my younger years as a builder I saw many poor buildings that were the product of poor foundations. Even last week on Channel Nine’s ACA Program we saw a new house having to be pulled down because of badly built foundations. As a counselor now I see many broken and shaky relationships that are the result of poor foundations. We spend thousands on the wedding day for the dress, the cars, the flowers and the multi-thousand dollar honeymoon to an island somewhere and very little of the foundational construction of the marriage. In my pre-marriage counselling I ask, why marriage? Why not just live together? I get some interesting answers like, well, I have always dreamed of getting married in that lovely little church down the road. Sometimes for the guy it is so that all my mates from the GT club can parade with their cars and we can get to use my best mate’s GTS as the bridal car. Or I have always dreamed of being dressed in the beautiful white gown with the veil and train and six bridesmaids. The history of marriage as we know it, has Christian roots where a couple make vows together and in front of their families and friends and to God that they are committing to each other for life. They call upon God to bless them on the journey and invite Him into the relationship to be their guide and comforter. Millions still do this each year and this week, those who have a track record will be thanking God together for His love and guidance over the years. So now we should direct our minds to the foundations. Two of the absolutely not negotiable foundation stones are respect and trust. Without these the honeymoon will end on the honeymoon. There is a secondary layer of ‘stones’ that are still essential if the relationship is going to work. These are more of the out working of love and they are, commitment, flexibility, a willingness to communicate, sincerity and a willingness to honor each other. This is getting closer to what love really is and we can go further to say that there needs to be a good dollop of self sacrifice, a preferring of one another. Sounds like hard work? Well it does take work. You don’t get a degree without hard work or much else in life, so why do we think we can just cruise into this almost mythological thing called marriage and live happily ever after? Couples around Australia will be celebrating marriage during Marriage Week from the 13th to the 19th of this month, so why not be in it if you are married. It will give you a good excuse to do something romantic or you might need to do something drastic to save the marriage and get some counselling help.
Graeme Dawson B.Min. Grad.Dip.CC.
Co-ordinator Focal Point & Valley Care Counsellor
Valley Care Counselling Service 0409 517273.