You know what I did before I married?  Anything I wanted.

My wife and I were happy for twenty years.  Then we met.

Before marriage, a man declares that he would lay down his life to serve you; after marriage, he won’t even lay down his newspaper to talk to you.

This weekend, my husband I rented The Artist (which we loved and would recommend), but it had one of the saddest portrayals of marriage I have seen recently.  The husband and wife hardly talk or even make eye contact.  The wife spends her time drawing on pictures of her husband, mocking him.  The husband’s only friend appears to be his dog; his wife appears to be his enemy. 

I don’t know about you, but almost every time I turn on the television or watch a movie, I’m bombarded by what has become the stereotype of marriage:  the husband is incompetent, a cheater, lazy and uncaring, and the wife is cold, nagging, overspending and sex-denying.  Marriage seems like such an awful, awful thing.  According to our culture, marriage is the place where happiness, sex and love go to die; the person you love becomes “the old ball and chain”.

A morning segment on the Today Show talked about the phenomenon of the “sexless marriage”; as Elizabeth Bernstein highlighted, stress, kids, money problems, diapers and exhaustion all seem to get in the way of sex in marriage.  Husbands and wives have stopped communicating, and instead, they are retreating into their own fantasies (like reading Fifty Shades of Grey or watching pornography). 

Sadly, as Christian parents, we aren’t doing a much better job than the culture at making marriage work.  Divorce rates, adultery and pornography addictions are just as high inside the church as outside the church, and as a result, our kids are learning that sex is all about pornographic excitement rather than an experience based on intimacy, trust and love.  As parents, one of the most powerful ways we can help our kids make wise choices about their bodies, sex and relationships is by modeling a healthy relationship with our spouse.  Someone once said “there is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage”, and I think that’s true.  For the sake of your kids, are you taking time to connect and care for your spouse?  Are you being quick to forgive?  Affectionate?  Loving?  And as your kids are the primary recipients of the jaded messages about marriage in our culture, are you doing your part to talk to them about the beauty, joy and life-giving blessing that marriage can be?