There is a marriage myth that few people know about before they marry. (We sure didn’t!) But spouses NEED to recognize it. That’s because the health of their marriages depend upon it. We’re talking about the Marriage Box Myth. It’s a myth we fell into and then climbed out of (and continue to climb “for as long as we both may live”).
To give you an idea of what we’re talking about here, regarding this myth, read the following:
THE MARRIAGE BOX MYTH
Most people get married believing a myth.
They believe that marriage is a beautiful box full of things they have longed for… companionship, intimacy, friendship, etc.
The truth is that marriage at the start is an empty box.
You must put something in before you can take anything out.
There is no love in marriage.
Love is in people. And people put love in marriage.
There is no romance in marriage. You have to infuse it into your marriage.
A couple must learn the art and form the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising, of keeping the box full.
If you take out more than you put in, the box will be empty.
(Written by Dr J Allan Peterson)
The Marriage Box Myth is True
Anyone who has been married beyond a month or two, KNOWS how very true this is! If we’re serious when we say our wedding vows to “love” each other for the rest of our lives, we need to be proactive in continuing to grow our love. It’s not a once for all time type of situation.
We didn’t know that when we first married. We should have. But we didn’t. Naively, we thought our love would just naturally grow more wonderful with passing time. However, that was a fantasy! The opposite happened. Our relationship grew to be ugly. That’s because we didn’t do what it takes to put love and romance into our “marriage box.” We just took and took and took and didn’t even notice that it was depleting our relationship of love. So that didn’t work out well for us at all!
We can only take a relationship for granted for so long before it goes into deficit mode of not having anything left in reserve. If we want love, we have to feed it, or it will starve to death. (At the very least it will become anemic.)
We found out the same thing to be true that Darlene Lopez wrote about in her “Marriage Box” article:
“Marriage truly is like an empty box. Many people get married for all the wrong reasons and have an abundant of expectations when they get married. I was one of them. I thought marriage was going to be filled with all sorts of companionship, sex, love, romance, intimacy, prayer, Bible studies, understanding, deep friendship and love. Boy, was I wrong! I found out that marriage truly is empty unless you are infusing into it daily.”
With that said, we want to ask you:
What are you doing to continue to grow your love relationship with each other?
Yes, we know that life gets busy. We fight that all the time (as does everyone)! But we still need to find the time to grow our love for each other. We cannot get so caught up in daily routines that we allow them to become our continual main focus.
“Marriage is a long journey, and any long journey requires occasionally getting off the road to eat, to fill up the car with gas, or simply to rest. Is your marriage slowly getting buried under the daily routine? What can you do differently to break out of the box and renew your love for each other?” (Gary Thomas)
Furthermore, we want to ask you: are you infusing love, or are you just taking what you can get? Here’s a truth to prayerfully consider:
“When we love another person the relationship isn’t just about us anymore. When we love someone we don’t starve them; we give to them. When we love someone, love becomes a verb that allows us to put stuff into the box. We give to the other person in a way that is meaningful to him or her and work with their schedule, not just ours. And we work with their tastes and preferences, not just ours.” (John, from his article, “What is Real True Love?”)
Further down in this blog John writes another truth:
“When we don’t put stuff in the box, we starve the relationship or marriage. We are takers, not givers, narcissists, not lovers.”
That is point on! If we are to love each other as Christ loves, we will be intentional in finding ways to show love in selfless ways—not selfish ways.
Humbly Fill Your Marriage Box
“Being married is an active process where we daily make our lives about each other and not about ourselves. There’s a quote that says: ‘Humility is not about thinking less of our self, but rather thinking of ourselves less.’ I need to practice having more humility in my marriage. I need to focus more on filling our box, rather than taking from.
“And when the time comes (and it will) when my hand reaches from corner to corner to find an empty box, may I be the first to fill it.
“Here’s to every husband and wife in their journey. May you always fight for your marriage, seek counsel when you need it, show grace where sin abounds and love like crazy.” (Lovelace, from her article, “The Marriage Box”)
We couldn’t say it any better! May we love each other extravagantly! That’s how Christ loves us. Now the challenge is for us to do the same. In Ephesians 5:1-2 we are told to “be imitators of God.” We are to “walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” Another way of saying this is presented in The Message:
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
THAT type of love is what we are to keep putting in our marriage box.
Your Marriage Mission
Make it your mission to find out what you can put into your marriage box. You need to find that, which will help you to love one another as you originally vowed to do. This is what God would have you (us) do as husbands and wives. It’s also what God wants us to do as His children so we display His love to a world that needs to witness His love in action.
God wants us to live with each other in such a way that our love reveals and reflects the love of Christ. God can use this to prompt others to say, “I want to know their God better.”
“A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
May it be so, Lord! May it be so!
** By Cindy and Steve Wright at marriagemissions.com / Photo by Suzy Hazelwood at Pexel