I occasionally have the opportunity to officiate wedding ceremonies, usually for couples with whom I have been privileged to do pre-marital counseling. I have never stood with two people who have felt that they were a poor match with each other. Quite the contrary. However, I sit with couples in my office who have been married anywhere from a year to thirty years who believe they are a horrible match. What happened?
As author Mark Regnerus states, “Chemistry is the new watchword as we meld marriage with science. Should opposites attract? Or should we look for common interests?” He goes on to say, “There is no right answer to such questions, because successful marriages are less about the right personalities than about the right practices, like persistent communication and conflict resolution, along with the ability to handle the cyclical nature of so much about marriage, and a bedrock commitment to its sacred unity.”
These can be challenging words for us to hear because if successful marriage is more about practices than personality, then squarely responsibility for how I communicate and resolve conflict resides with me. This requires that I do something. I wonder what do I need to do today towards this end? What change in your practices do you need to make today?
Encouragingly, Regnerus notes that “marriage research confirms that couples who view their marriages as sacred covenants are far better off than those who don’t.” You see, “People change. Chemistry wanes. Covenants don’t.”