Hope Springs? . . . really?

15 08 2012

Last night my wife and I went to see “Hope Springs” with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, and like last spring’s “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” we were surrounded by senior citizens. Clearly we’ve crossed the line into that age where movies about vampires and caped crusaders no longer interest us.  These days we’re far more attracted to films about growing old with grace and keeping our marriage strong and healthy after the kids are gone.  (Ok, almost gone!)

So “Hope Springs” did not disappoint us!  Yes, there was a lot of talk about sex, but the message was still a good one.  And both my wife and I walked away thinking about how hard marriage can be, but how well worth it such work really is!  That was one of the messages of the movie; and unfortunately I fear it is a message that will not be heard by the people who need to hear it most today — and that is the young people in our culture.

We live in a world that is preoccupied by weddings — and I’m sorry if this offends my female readers, but this is particularly true among young women.  Before girls even make it to their senior prom they are on Pinterest planning their “big day.”  The wedding ‘industry’ in our country has distracted couples from the real task of preparing for marriage, and instead focused couples’ attention on celebrations that are little more than lavish displays of excess and extravagant examples of self-indulgence.

Is it any wonder that two years after the party has ended, when the reality of a life lived committed to another person becomes challenging, she gets up and just walks away?  Did no one model for her that a healthy marriage is about acknowledging that health requires work?  Did no one tell him that a wife’s job is not to make him happy — he has to work at that himself?  Did no one teach them that good marriages are not without problems, but rather learning to work through them?

I am the first person to say that I have absolutely no desire to go back to those days when people stayed together no matter what!  Far too many husbands and wives missed out on all that God has for them in this life because they were trapped in marriages that lacked the health, joy, and love that should be the fruit of healthy unions.  But why are people today so quick to give up?  And why are people so lazy that they put less time into the planning of their marriages, than they do in the planning of their weddings?

Perhaps the conversation that needs to be had in this country is less about gay marriage, and more about marriage in general!  What is the future of this bedrock relationship?  Why are people so afraid of it?  And is there a way that we in the faith community can do a better job of preparing people for the most important relationship in their lives?

If there is any hope for marriage, this is it!  Its work . . . and sometimes hard work!  In many instances, the work is so hard that couples can NOT do it on their own, and they need professional help.  But in the end — its worth it.  My wife and I know that.  Meryl and Tommy know that.  And many of you know that!

Now, let’s make sure our kids know that!  Because if they don’t, hope doesn’t spring, it dies!

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