Thinking Out Loud

July 16, 2010

Did You Get The Person You Married?

Jacob thought he was getting married to Rachel.    He wakes up the next morning to discover he’s actually married to Leah.

It sounds like another one of those Old Testament stories, but in fact, it happens all the time.   People wake up one day maybe a month, a year, or a decade after the wedding; they look at their partner and they say, “This isn’t the person I said ‘I do’ to.”

Sometimes the changes are minor; the person gains a little weight or suddenly wants to take up ballroom dancing.   Other times it’s more severe.

The balance of this blog post first appeared here a year ago, but the problem of “expectations” in marriage is one that doesn’t go away…

glasbergen - marriage

  • When she married him, D. was a party animal. The first year of their married life, a quarter of their budget was concert tickets. But now he sits in the recliner reading John Grisham novels.
  • S. made it quite clear about seven years into the marriage that she was no longer into church. Just stopped going. Her husband is a bit perplexed, and ends up taking the kids himself, which leaves the people there asking questions.
  • M. said she was a dog lover, and J. didn’t like cats, so it seemed perfect; but now M. says she doesn’t want a dog in the house.
  • Y. knew when she married F. that he had smoked a cigarette or two, but never expected all these years later to be married to a confirmed smoker; especially in view of all the scientific data we now have.
  • T. was the picture of health when they got married, so V. never expected he’d be spending his life playing both husband and nurse.
  • R. had never spent a lot of time around kids; was never a babysitter; and made it clear to B. she wanted a small family. That was five kids ago.

A lot of people wake up one morning and realize that they’re not married to the person they walked down the church aisle with. (A strange expression, since most brides walk down the aisle with their father, to whom they had better not be married.)

Much of the tension in marriage is due to a crisis of expectations. It reminds me of the book title, This Isn’t The Trip I Signed Up For. Judging it from Day One, it didn’t look like it would be like it is today.

Today’s question is, do you think this is the norm or the exception? Is it better that “people change” than if they don’t change at all? Does it matter how long a couple dated or were engaged, or do the “surprises” in marriage happen regardless?

And of course: What changed in your partner after the wedding? Did you change? Did the marriage survive?

And yes, you’re allowed to say, “My marriage is fine, but I have this friend…”

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March 21, 2010

The Top 100 Issues That Divide Us

When the blogger at Free In Christ started his blog in July of 2008, he noted his indebtedness to a book by Cecil Hook also called Free in Christ.   Not being a regular follower of that blog, and so not having read everything in between then and now, it does appear that 21 months later, he hasn’t stopped blogging his admiration for the book.

Recently, he cited Cecil Hook’s list of 100 things people disagree on in the churches of Christ.    Rather than simply link to it — many of you never click anyway, and even fewer leave comments — I wanted to have this list recorded here.    I’m not sure about the order in which these are listed, but here it is:

1. taking of oaths
2. serving in the military
3. inflicting capital punishment
4. using force to defend oneself or others
5. voting for political candidates
6. serving as a government official
7. engaging in political activism
8. Christmas or Easter programs
9. letting a non-member lead prayer
10. lifting hands while singing
11. joining a ministerial alliance
12. indwelling of the Holy Spirit
13. work of the Holy Spirit
14. baptism of the Holy Spirit
15. prayer for healing
16. the Trinity
17. special providence
18. how God answers prayer
19. fasting
20. translations of the Bible
21. use of Thee and Thou in prayer
22. authority of elders
23. who selects and appoints elders
24. qualifications of elders
25. tenure of elders
26. elders presiding at the Lord’s Table
27. qualifications of deacons
28. deaconesses
29. enrolling widows
30. addressing disciples as Major or Doctor
31. long hair on men
32. midweek contributions
33. dimming the lights during prayer
34. singing as the emblems are passed
35. use of church buildings for secular activities
36. use of pictures of Jesus
37. use of symbols such as the cross
38. use of steeples and stained glass windows
39. use of the term Sunday School
40. passing of the collection baskets
41. eating in the church building
42. grounds for disfellowshipping
43. support of colleges from the church treasury
44. divorce for any cause
45. remarriage of a divorced person
46. preacher officiating at a wedding of a divorced person
47. disciples marrying non-members
48. preacher officiating for a mixed marriage
49. use of an instrument in “church” weddings
50. method and type of inspiration of the Bible
51. re-baptism of Baptists and Christian Church members
52. the “five items of worship”
53. use of choirs, choruses, quartets, solos, etc.
54. serving the Lord’s Supper on Sunday evening
55. serving the Lord’s Supper other than in assemblies
56. integration of races
57. smoking
58. total abstinence from alcoholic beverages
59. membership in fraternal orders
60. contributing to public charities
61. use of Bible class literature
62. youth directors, youth rallies, youth camps
63. the six days of creation being literal days
64. the extent of evolution
65. the operation of Christian hospitals
66. awards and prizes for church activities
67. debating religious issues
68. ministers of education, ministers of music, etc.
69. benevolence to fellow-disciples only
70. the baptismal “formula”
71. formal confession before baptism
72. going to law against disciples
73. dedicating babies
74. signing contribution pledge cards
75. children’s homes under eldership or a board
76. dancing
77. women wearing shorts and slacks
78. women wearing slacks to church services
79. girls leading prayer in family devotionals
80. girls leading prayer in youth devotionals
81. clapping hands during singing
82. buying VBS refreshments from the treasury
83. the present day activity of demons
84. applauding in the assembly
85. use of God’s name as a by-word
86. use of euphemisms of God’s name in by-words
87. use of contraceptives
88. abortion
89. adopting out an illegitimate child
90. women working outside the home
91. Children’s Bible Hour
92. busing children to services
93. “What is to be will be.”
94. bodily resurrection
95. if we shall know each other in heaven
96. degrees of reward and punishment
97. whether heaven and hell are literal places
98. dress code for men serving the Lord’s Supper
99. whether Christ came in AD 70
100. a name for the church

The unnamed blogger follows the list with a brief discussion here, but I’m wondering if you think there’s anything there that shouldn’t be or anything that got left out?

And now, for today’s bonus item:

This is the “disagreement hierarchy.”  Anyone know the origin of this?   Here’s an article (without the chart) which would seem to attribute this to Paul Graham.

February 21, 2009

Is Smoking a Sin?

Filed under: Christianity, ethics — Tags: , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:18 pm

smoking“I know lots of Christians who smoke and it has never really caused me to examine the idea of a conflict between that action (or addiction) and their faith. But I know that for some people …  the action of smoking reveals something about a person’s heart or even about his spiritual state.” ~ Tim Challies

Tim Challies and nearly 100 comments provide the definitive answer here.    I especially appreciated those who brought scripture into their answers.   But I didn’t get the people who felt that cigarettes were wrong, but pipes and cigars were okay.   Even if this issue isn’t an issue to you; check out how people respond.

Personally, I believe that not only can you smoke and still get to heaven, but I believe you’ll get there faster. (Rim shot!)

Photo:  Tim had a simple shot of No Smoking sign.  I was going to go for shock value and use one of those pictures of babies smoking; but you know, those pictures are really, really offensive.

UPDATE (Feb 22nd):  Turns out I wasn’t the only person to link to Tim’s post.   Over at Christians in Context, Andrew Farris posts this statement, which doesn’t seem to disturb his readers:

My basic thesis is this: smoking can be enjoyed to the glory of God, or it can be enjoyed sinfully, but the sinfulness is not intrinsic to the action

Continue reading that article  here.

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