Lately, the “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” spoken word poem by Jefferson Bethke has been ridiculously popular. It has been falling on my Facebook news feed, as well as the blog roll here on WordPress. That is NOT what I am here to talk about. Thousands of people already have.
This video is the one I think should go viral. But, in a sense, the message in this video is even stronger and potentially more difficult to swallow than the Jesus>>Religion video. The video is entitled “Sex, Marriage & Fairytales.” I originally stumbled upon it when one of my friends posted it on Facebook stating what I said, that this is one that everyone should watch. I watched and agreed wholly with the message. Please watch:
The rate of divorces and failing marriages is something that affects people all over the world. We are so selfish, so self-centered that we cannot serve another person, that we can’t hold true to a few vows. We are presented with all kinds of lies about sex and marriage from a young age. We are shown that marriage makes people happy, sex is almost always perfect and that marriage is not necessary to have a committed relationship. This video addresses some of these issues.
I was fortunate enough to be raised in a family where my parents and grandparents are happily married, not necessarily perfectly married (because nobody is truly perfect), but they are all still married. I had a strong faith foundation. I feel that God prepared me for Patrick and vice-versa. We were friends(ish) for about two years before we dated. We are still best friends. We had enough supports to show us that marriage is not just a cake-walk (interestingly, Cake Walk is the show that just came on TV… It is about wedding cake design competitions. Who knew?). We have been taught divorce is not an option. We were advised by friends that love is a choice, not just a feeling. That we need to have agape love (unconditional love, like the love of God).
We agreed we wanted our marriage to have a strong Biblical influence. Our foundation needed to be Jesus, the only thing that would not crumble. We believe that Biblical submission is the way things should be. Submission does not mean that I do every single thing Patrick tells me to do. It means that I respect him and do what he believes is best under the guidance of God. He does the same. Biblical submission is mutual. It doesn’t just say wives submit to your husbands, but also husbands are to love their wives like Christ loves the church. That is pretty huge, if you ask me.
I like how the speaker does not sugar coat things. He says point blank that it is difficult to be married, that it takes work and that friendship and Jesus should be at the foundation of marriage. He reminds people that the vows are ‘til death, not until we get tired of one another. I love how he restates the church being Jesus’s bride and how that should be how we treat our marriages.
I also like how he pointed out from the start the lies society is feeding us today. These are the same lies that make people think marriage has no meaning or is only about sex. The lies about how divorce should be an option for everyone (don’t get me wrong, in cases of abuse, I think it is an option, just not when people “fall out of love”). The lies about how we need to be happy all of the time and that marriage will achieve this. I like how it countered those points with a realistic perspective of friendship and choice and hard work. We have to like each other. We have to choose God and choose love and choose marriage. It is a partnership, not just cohabitation. How we can’t just be pleasure seeking because that leads to heartbreak and pain, but God seeking.
There were also the points about how, in marriage, when people expect happiness, it is often because they treat their spouse as a god. While dating, people become infatuated. They think the person they love can do no wrong. They become the focus of everything they do. This can persist into marriage. I have caught myself doing it from time to time. The thing is, your spouse can’t make you happy. Your spouse can’t fill a hole in your heart or change you. Only God can do that. And when we put our spouse or the idea of marriage above everything, including God, that runs us into trouble. It leads to disappointment and heartbreak. It leads to people feeling unhappy and unfulfilled.
On the same spectrum, people describe marriage as a prison. Those who don’t expect full joy anticipate torture. You’ve heard it, those who think of marriage as a life sentence to torture. The end, as it were. The thing is, we shouldn’t be slaves to our spouses. And we shouldn’t anticipate being miserable. Marriage was put in place for a reason. Not to kill our spirits, but to make us into teams to better serve.
A few people are surprised that we were married so young (even though many are married younger), that we are still going strong despite the busyness of life and all that goes along with it. It seems easy when I look at things on the surface. It isn’t. Some days I make a conscious choice to love Patrick (and not kill him). Other days it just comes naturally. When we are apart, we try to make sure we have time to talk (really difficult with the whole several time zone differences) or at least email and text. We reserve quality time together when we are together. He tucks me in to bed every night (because I sleep far too early for his night hawk ways). We do devotions together most every night before bed (except last week, because I would go to bed well after he did). We pray for and support each other in all of our endeavors. We laugh and play and share responsibilities and friends. It is like a fairytale, but not because I would think it is lame to actually call it a fairytale, we are nowhere near perfect (we bicker like the best old married couple ever) and realistically, no marriage is perfect because we are all flawed. The good part is, the next best thing to a fairytale comes when God is at the center of our relationships.
I’m not saying we are perfect. We have plenty to learn from and lots of time to learn in. We haven’t been married for long, just two and a half years. The thing is, we know what God wants from our marriage and we are willing to try with His help to do it.
If people watched this and took it seriously, it would offer the basis for further assessment of their plans for marriage, their hopes for love and how they can improve upon these things.
What are your thoughts on the video or marriage today?