“All-in” Marriage

“It is very disquieting when “perfect” marriages end. The ones that are agreeable, orderly, peaceful, the ones that display no rancor, no rages, no infidelity, no egregious acts of galloping selfishness — when such marriages end, everyone is dismayed. How is it possible? They had no troubles at all, we say in disbelief. Maybe that’s the key: “No troubles at all” may mean — no challenge, no emotion, no surprises, no change; in other words — boring. Some marriages do die of boredom. Boring marriages are much more likely to suffer from sins of omission than from sins of commission. What isn’t done gets such marriages into more trouble than what is done” (“Relationship Boredom Can Be Deadly”, Dr. David Sanford,

Contrary to our world’s very common perception of marriage, God’s intention for matrimony is actually based on mutual enjoyment, satisfaction, challenge and stimulation. We are actually expected by God to savor the relationship that we have with our spouse. It is only when we allow selfishness and boredom to creep in that the fire dies. “Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life…” (Ecclesiastes 9:9). “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:18). Having a satisfying marriage results in exhilaration (Proverbs 5:19) for both parties.

Boring Marriage Is Minimal, Never Excessive

“Boring marriages are minimal marriages, not marriages of excess — minimal because they exclude all the excitement of relationship — conflict, differences, spontaneity, feelings, irrationality, passion” (Sanford). We keep marriages minimal because we do not want to get hurt. There is always the possibility that a spouse may harm us, or we will have our hearts broken by tragedy, so we keep a tight lid on our deepest sense of commitment. Certainly, we do commit to our spouses, but only in a guarded way. We see a very different kind of love than this in Song of Solomon 5:6-8. “I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and had gone! My heart went out to him as I spoke...I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, as to what you will tell him: for I am lovesick.” It is powerful that this woman was so invested in her love that she would endure ridicule (also see Song of Solomon 3:1-4) and abuse in his absence, and feel lovesickness.

“All-in” marriage may be more challenging, but it is also more rewarding. I may open myself to criticism and disagreement, but I also experience the power of maturation, growth, and experience. “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Does the person you are with make you want to be better?