When I was the editor of Marriage Partnership magazine, I used to tease my husband: "You know I'll never leave you, Babe. It would kill my career!" While I wouldn't have left him anyway (love that guy!), I have to admit there was an ounce of truth to my joking. I mean, how much of an advocate for marriage could I have been if I were to have thrown in the towel in my own marriage?
But I didn't have to throw in the towel to doubt my effectiveness as an advocate for marriage on those days (weeks or months) when our marriage was less than stellar.
That's why I liked this set of Reflect questions from today's devo: "Have you felt pressure to present an exemplary, ideal marriage to those you lead? How have idealistic ideas about marriage had a positive or negative effect on your relationship with your spouse?"
To the first: Heck yes!
To the second: Idealistic views have actually had a positive effect on my relationship with my husband as I watched my own parents' marriage crumble. While their's was a mess, from other positive role models and from these "idealistic ideas," I had a vision for what a marriage could be - or at least what we could work and hope toward.
But these idealistic views also have a negative effect: comparison traps and jealousy. It's easy to look at other couples - especially when we're going through rough patches or when we find ourselves continuously aggravated by our spouses - and think they've got it all together. And then fall into the "grass is always greener stuff."
So while we leaders should certainly strive for the best marriages we can, we should also be honest and open (without being disloyal and without trash-talking) about what real marriages look like and go through. I think that's the best example.