- not giving up (statistically, unhappiness in marriage now doesn't mean you'll be unhappy later)
- biblical submission (which starts not with figuring out "who's in charge?" but with submitting to Christ)
- being best friends (living out the 35+ "one another" commands toward each other)
- speaking the truth in love (letting your spouse speak into your life)
- the dangers of "keeping score"
- the difference between consumer & covenant marriage (with a big tip o'the hat to Tim Keller for so succinctly writing/teaching on this)
One of the most widely held beliefs in our culture today is that romantic love is all important in order to have a full life but that it almost never lasts. A second, related belief is that marriage should be based on romantic love. Taken together, these convictions lead to the conclusion that marriage & romance are essentially incompatible, that is it cruel to commit people to lifelong connection after the inevitable fading of romantic joy.I see the same thing Tim Keller sees - a culture that worships romantic love (just take a look at the public obsession with Rob Pattinson & Kristen Stewart) but is convinced that it will burn out and/or blow away. (Again, Rob & Kristen are worth referencing.)
Note: for those of you who live under a pop-culture rock, these two are the leads for the Twilight series of films whose off-screen relationship has been tabloid fodder for years. If you're older (than me, I guess), think Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor times ten.
Biblical marriage offers so much more than this. It's not devoid of passion or romance - for those who question that, your homework assignment is to read Song of Songs. In addition to those wonderful gifts of God, it is anchored in the love of Christ - a love the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes in this way:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.And it's not cruel to commit people to a lifetime of that kind of marriage... is it?