Does Marriage Get Better? Is It Worth It?

Recently a young friend, a fairly new friend, stood within the circle as four of us discussed the hurdles and highpoints of marriage. All of us, except for Ellie, are married to Army officers and were looking forward to a brief season of reprieve as scheduled leave drew near. We were being vulnerable, recalling couple and family vacations that we’d rather not remember, but balancing them with occasions we’d love to repeat tomorrow, and every day, forever.

Ellie, living with and deeply involved with an Army man, piped up, “You guys aren’t making this sound very optimistic!”

Quickly, I backtracked to highlight all the positive moments we’d shared. “Truly, it gets better! Not necessarily easier, but I promise marriage is worth it! It gets better!”

So what do you think?

  • Does marriage get better with age? Easier?
  • Does it ripen and become more flavorful, or does it grow stale?
  • Does time make it more succulent like a fully ripened peach, easy to peel, falling from the pit and sweetening every season of life?
  • Is marriage worth it?

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Value Added

I’ve been hearing lately, incessantly actually, on the radio about the Golden Eagle Coin. Doubtless you’ve heard it too.

The ad argues, in an attempt to persuade casual listeners that their life is incomplete without this coin, that gold has intrinsic value. But paper money is valuable only because we arbitrarily assign worth to it.

The green, flimsy sheets in your wallet are nothing in and of themselves. We see proof of this all the time as the stock market fluctuates and the relative worth of American currency to that of other countries, varies constantly.

What if we woke up tomorrow and the powers that be decided that paper money is no longer “in”? What if we simply bypassed the frightening run on the bank, and tomorrow’s sunrise illuminated the collapse of our entire economy?

But I wonder, isn’t gold the same way? Isn’t everything the same way? If it were not for the value that we as individuals or society place on any given thing, what good are they?

Why does sex sell? Because in today’s cultural climate, easy sexual gratification is highly valued. However, only a few decades ago, the same risqué images that ply our greedy minds and draw us to dirty movies, provocative magazines and trashy TV shows would have repulsed the average consumer. While today the clip of a woman gasping in the shower sells a bottle of shampoo, our grandmothers would have boycotted the company. Value assigned.

Why is there a steady climb in the number of eating disorders among most demographics? Why are young children getting plastic surgery? Why do 90% of the headlines on consumer magazines promise to unveil long-held secrets of beauty?

It is because we have arbitrarily assigned a high value to beauty (a subjective term in itself) and specifically to thinness. Take those same messages to a rural African culture and their power is forfeit. It isn’t that Victoria’s Secret is the objective definition of beauty, but for the time, for this culture, she is the image of what we hold in high esteem: The model of feminine beauty.

So my question is this: Is it really fail-safe to invest in gold? Is there assurance of happiness in the pursuit of sexual appeal or a beautiful body?

Resoundingly, No. Value is assumed and people are finicky things.

The only indisputable value, the only unmitigated quantity, the only absolute insurance is Jesus Christ. For He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Heb. 13:8

Too Much of a Good Thing

Too much of a good thing?

I remember as a kid, my mom telling me, “You can’t play with Julie today. You’ve seen her every single day this week. You’ll get tired of each other and get into fights. That’s what happens when you get too much of a good thing.”

I know you’ve seen the woman who took a beautiful shade of blue and put too much of a good color on her eyelids.

There’s probably a food you used to love until you indulged yourself one too many times and it’s no longer a welcome taste.

Everywhere we turn these days, we’re reminded how good exercise is for us.

There’s a demoralizing quote by the Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, “A woman can’t be too rich or too thin.”

If that’s true, then there is truly no such thing as too much of every effort to achieve a woman’s highest goal – rich and thin.

But, let me confess a few things that I feel God has brought to my personal attention about the innate value of fitness.

There is no innate value in fitness. 

That’s a hard thing for a fitness professional to admit. There is no eternal gain in being able to run a marathon, no lasting reward for being able to see indentations between your abdominal muscles. Even though our jealous minds might try to tell us otherwise, no one is a better person because they get up at 5 a.m. to jump up and down like they have ants in their pants or perform pull ups from suspension cables like a monkey.

I recently was called to take a hard look at the money I spend in the fitness industry. Money for the gym, money for certifications, magazines, sandbags, other equipment, DVDs, online tutorials, special clothing. If I spent that money on my “adopted” child in Guatemala, wouldn’t I being making a bigger, more eternal difference?

Energy. I love that bone-deep fatigue that results from a killer workout. I love being able to actually feel the EPOC (oxygen deficit) as my metabolism rises to compensate for intense exercise. I love longing for my pillow at night because I “worked” so hard. But did I work? Did I change someone’s life? Did I get to know Jesus more deeply than yesterday? Did I serve my husband, tend my home and if so, did I find satisfaction in these things? Or was my greater happiness derived from my tiny personal success?

I’m not denying the value of exercise. I know it is essential, and I personally love it! I’m so glad that God gave us durable feet to pound out frustrations on the pavement when we run. I worship my Creator when I experience the pleasure a stronger accomplishment and when I see the amazing things He has made me capable of. However, I am firmly convinced that the only reason God endowed me with these abilities is for His Glory.

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” I Timothy 4:8