Our society doesn’t know anything about marriage

Oh, there are certainly some individuals, some couples, that possess immense wisdom and knowledge on the subject; wisdom and knowledge earned from years of experience, crafted with an intuition and maturity that few achieve and fewer even attempt to achieve. Some people in our society know something about marriage. My parents know plenty about it. They’ve been married for over 30 years, they’ve had six kids; they’ve seen the ups and downs, they’ve withstood every challenge and obstacle that the world can present. Their marriage is real, their love is real, and it’s an inspiration to me and my wife. There are some in my parents’ camp, but our society as a whole? No.

No, it doesn’t know a thing about marriage.

Just look at what we’ve done to the institution. Look at the sorry state of the sacrament. Consider how frivolously and arrogantly many of us flutter in and out of marriages, like the union isn’t any more significant than a part time job at Applebee’s. The turnover rate in marriage these days is worse than the turnover rate at telemarketing firms. The “prevailing wisdom” about marriage is bunk. It’s garbage. It’s trash. It’s one of the principle reasons why our culture can not claim to be more “enlightened” or “advanced” than societies past. Yes, I am aggressively, passionately, unapologetically hostile to our culture’s “lessons” about life and marriage; that’s another thing I learned from my parents.

I’ve been married to my wife for two years so I don’t pretend to be some sort of budding marriage counselor. Still, I know enough to recognize lies when I hear them. I know that we’ve weathered the storms and drawn closer to each other by rejecting virtually every piece of marital “insight” this twisted country has to offer. Particularly because we are Christian and we build the foundation of our marriage in Christ — a strategy that doesn’t gel with current trends.

A few days ago a guy named Seth Adam Smith wrote a viral post titled “Marriage isn’t for you.” Of course, the message he conveys isn’t what you’d expect from the subject line. He goes on to make the important and, you would think, completely uncontroversial point that marriage isn’t something you enter into only for yourself. You are in it for your spouse and, when the time comes, for your children. Marriage is an act and an institution of love. And love does not point inward. You don’t find the secret to a successful marriage by plunging down into the Cave of Self. There’s nothing down there but your own old dusty fears and self-centered obsessions. You find the secret in the other’s heart. We pledge as much when we take that vow before God.

I’m paraphrasing Seth’s thoughts, so go ahead and give his post a read. Dozens of people asked me to comment on his piece, yet I initially hesitated. The man is enjoying some great success with a fantastic message about love and unity, and I’m not looking to piggyback on his traffic. But then I began to read how he’s being attacked and criticized by the usual cadre of neo-liberal trolls and eternal naysayers. Somewhere in this sincere profession of faith and love and gratitude to his wife, the legions of modernist fools found something to complain about. As someone who recently met the wrath of this Army of Imbeciles after I — you guessed it — expressed my love for my wife, I thought it appropriate to chime in.

Seth, stay strong, brother. Your message was true, urgent, and “old fashioned,” which is why it’s met with so much anger by all of these tolerant, “open minded” folks.

I understand what you were trying to say. It was easy to understand because you stated it pretty clearly. And, sure, married people are still selfish. Married people in successful marriages still struggle with the urge to be self-absorbed. Nobody is making any Utopianist claims here. But the point — not just Seth’s point, but THE point — is that we have to fight that inclination and always work to serve and love the person we’ve married.

Yes, serve. Oh Lord, how antiquated. You know what? My wife serves me. She does. Does it sting to read that? “NO WOMAN SHOULD EVER SERVE A MAN, YOU CHAUVINIST!” Yeah, take that attitude into your fourth marriage and tell me how it works for you. My wife serves me and I serve her. And our service to each other manifests itself in different ways.

You might say, “well, that’s ONE way for a marriage to work.” No, it’s the only way. I don’t know this because I’m some kind of expert. I know it because I paid attention to the vows I took.

In modern times, we like to pretend marriage is just a “contract between consenting adults,” which makes it about as significant as your lease agreement, or the contract you sign with the guy who’s remodeling your kitchen. But it’s more than that. Those words I said to my wife when we stood on that altar: they meant something. And they didn’t mean something in the same way that a great symbol — like the flag — means something. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that the words did something. Something happened in that church that day. Something mysterious and supernatural occurred. My soul was joined with my wife’s and we became one. That’s not just some nice little phrase: it’s real. It happens. I became one with my wife.

The ring I put on her finger was a symbol. The flowers, the dresses, the myriad of other superficialities, these were all decorations. But the ceremony itself, and the words we spoke, they were neither symbolic nor decorative. They were real. God was there, and He took this physical event and elevated it into something mystical and other-worldy. And He will surely hold me to the vows I took, one way or another.

People went after Seth, insisting that we “still maintain our own identity in marriage.”

Yeah, well, no we don’t. Yes, I am still me, but the nature of me has changed. If you want to be completely your “own person,” don’t get married. What is so hard about that? Coming to the altar with frivolous intentions is like a doctor performing neurosurgery just because he’s curious to see what a brain looks like. “Oh, you want me to actually fix this thing? Geez, I wasn’t trying to get into anything serious here.”

People enter marriage like mercenaries. They aren’t spouses — they’re scalpers. They give only when they get, and the amount that they give will be directly proportioned to the amount they receive. They are calculating and immature. They think their “feelings” are what should guide their union. They drift with the breeze until the breeze no longer carries them. They think of love as a train you buy tickets for and then ride as far as the track will take you. They don’t realize that love is a choice and we must CHOOSE it every day until we die. Sometimes we have to choose it in spite of ourselves and our feelings.

That’s the message about marriage that isn’t popular, and because it isn’t popular it must be shouted all the louder. I say these things not because I think I am an example of how to perfectly implement them, but because they are true. Simple as that.

Our culture is poison to marriage. Our culture is poison in general. Every day brings us more evidence of this fact.


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403 Responses to Our society doesn’t know anything about marriage

  1. HK says:

    Well written.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    “Love – let it be not just a feeling
    But the broken beauty
    Of what we choose to do”

    -over the rhine

  3. Susan, Texas says:

    As my pastor says “Love is not a FEELING, it is a choice!

  4. Kenny P says:

    Matt’s parents are another story in that marriages really meant something back then. Marrying nowadays isn’t wise. Young marriages just don’t work. In fact; they can’t work. And when I say young marriages, I mean couples under the age of 35.

    • alley says:

      I got married at 22-still married at 35-6 children (3 of whom died), I was not finished with college, neither was he, we’ve gone through a war, 2 hurricanes, and I am more in love with my him today than I was the day we married. I’m not fussing at you, just saying that young marriages can and do work. Mine does 🙂

    • Mary says:

      I think you missed his point. It doesn’t matter what age you are when you marry. If you marry in Christ and try to model your union after Him, it can succeed. My husband and I are both 30 and will be celebrating our 7 year anniversary in a few days. We are also blessed with 2 beautiful sons and pray that God will bless us with more children in the years to come. When we made that vow before God, we meant it. We are not perfect, but we CHOOSE to fight for our love and our marriage every single day until death do us part.

    • Matt says:

      Young marriages do work when they are done right. I got married at 21, we had our first child when I was 24 and I currently am 41 with 4 wonderful children. Young marriages work when the people involved in them understand that if they wanted to be selfish they should stay single. Too many people go about life with a “me first” or “what about me” attitude. When you get married with that type of attitude, it is the beginning of the end of the marriage. Oh, and the idea that divorce is normal, ok and no big deal is also part of the issue. I knew when I got married that there were zero divorces in my wifes family and that she was expecting that to remain unchanged. So when we ran into rough times, instead of looking for the eject button, we looked for solutions and ways to get through it and grow together. When folks get too caught up in the idea that the “grass is always greener” instead of looking at the blessings that they have, that’s when they have issues.

    • Mel says:

      My husband and I were 21 & 20 when we got married. Celebrating 20 years and two beautiful daughters. Young marriages can be difficult, and ours had some definite times, but knowing it is a commitment, and following Christ’s example of His love for His Church, we have kept it going. Seth’s post (and Matt’s follow up) resonate a lot. We must understand that marriage is not for “me”, it is for our spouse. My nephew is 22, and will be getting married this weekend. They have based their relationship on Christ’s teachings, and come from great families with many successful marriages. I believe with all my heart they will succeed with this foundation. Yes, I have seen many young marriages fail, and some older ones, too…that doesn’t mean they CAN’T work.

    • Ann says:

      My grandparents married at 17 & 18 and were married for almost 76 years. My parents married at 20 & 21 and have been married for 44 years and are still enjoying each other’s company. I married at 21 and have been married almost 20 years. Ditto for my in-laws & own siblings, married young & still married after many years. Young marriage isn’t what is detrimental, it is lack of commitment and valuing the wrong things in another person when choosing a mate.

    • Jen says:

      sure they can!!

    • THeckman says:

      Wow, where do you get your info? We are approaching our 35th anniversary. We were 20 and 21 when we were married. Yes, we were virgins! My daughter and son-in-law were 21 years old and are approaching their tenth anniversary! Maybe, if people did it the right way to start with, they would be more successful.

    • Kat says:

      I’m 35 and have been married for 9 1/2 years, with my spouse for a total of 16. What about that is not working?

    • I was 23 and my husband was 21 when we got married (as virgins). We’d been together for 5 years before that. This coming April, we’ll be having our 3rd child and then about a month later, we’ll celebrate our tenth anniversary. I’m not going to say we’ve never had hard times, because life sucks sometimes. But I can say that our hard times generally stem from one or the other of us being in a selfish place. And when we break out of that, we come out the other side stronger. And I most definitely love my husband more now than I did the day we got married. I wouldn’t trade our 15 years together for anything else.

      I also want to mention that we both have divorced parents. So we started out with more against us than just being young. We had to be very intentional about the marriage role models we chose for ourselves. And we did a lot of talking about the things our parents did that we did not want to repeat.

    • Mikaela says:

      I don’t think marraiges between couples under the age of 35 can’t work. I think it depends on the people. I personally don’t think age has anything to do with it. It matters what place you are at with yourself in your life and in your love towards the other person. My grandparents married at the age of 19 and still hold hands at every restaurant and when they walk together. Age doesn’t have anything to do with it.

    • Nicholai says:

      My parents got married at nineteen. They’re getting pretty close to their 30th wedding anniversary and I am the third of their ten children. My oldest sister was married at 21 five years ago and she and her husband and their three children are perfectly happy, as are my brother and sister in law who were both 19 when they got married 5 years ago.

    • Andy says:

      I’m 24, my wife is 22 and our marriage is working better than any marriage I have seen. I believe that age isn’t the factor, it is willingness to serve your spouse. Marriage takes constant effort, not age. It is hard sometimes, but when we both put effort into it, it becomes stronger through the tough times.

    • Sara says:

      Attitudes like that are the reason young marriages don’t work. I got married at 19; 7 years and 2 kids later I’ve never been happier.


  6. Thanks, Matt. After 16 years of marriage, my husband and I still work hard every day to maintain our marriage. We were in our mid-thirties when we married, so we had had plenty of time to become very independent and a little selfish, but we had similar interests, we traveled, we had great friends and we were in love. Our struggles have been difficult, but at the end of the day we can sit back, look at our three terrific kids and know that our love and faith in each other has gotten us this far.

  7. Richard Turnage says:

    Your insight an wisdom is well beyond your years. God has given you an audience and they need to hear what you are saying. Keep up the good work. I love your posts. I am a fan in Wisconsin.

    Sent from my iPhone


  8. frankiekay says:

    I am a Zimbabwean, living in Zimbabwe (Africa) My husband and I have been married 27 years, with two children. My parents took the long haul (nearly 50 years – my dad died of a heart attack) No one in our family or close circle of friends are divorced. The same for my husbands family. Although his father was married twice, my husband’s mother died when he was 12. Although brought up Christian with strong Christian morals both of us are atheists.
    Sorry for the long intro.
    This question of the breakdown in the family bewailed in the US and in other developed countries has intrigued me for years. I read Bush, who said he thought it was religion, another one of them said it was the educations system. Lots of ideas, none of which seem to work. I have never visited the US, everything I know is from what I have read and recently, I have been reading blogs written by normal Americans and its very enlightening.
    I deal with children with learning difficulties, Aspergers in particular and one of the biggest hurdles I face is trying to get people to accept that child (later adult) is what we have to deal with. We can’t change much. I have to look at what I have to deal with standing there in front of me, and work around that.
    Because of this background, instead of looking at what we can do to make the institution of marriage stronger, I look at what I see in front of me. Like the Aspergers child, I look at the American society. I see men and women who find it difficult to remain together for long. They practice serial monogamy, they lie and cheat and desert their children. And yes, within the framework the American society offers them, it isn’t good for the children of the partnerships, or the participants.
    So in the end, I wondered if perhaps we hadn’t gone far enough back in our prehistory to look at how humans lived. Did they in fact have these long ‘loves’ like I and my husband have. Are we perhaps unusual?
    I asked my husband if he would like to have more than one wife or woman around and he said, “Yeah. For sure. Except you two would be at each others throats all the time, so it wouldn’t be worth it.” When I asked him if we could find a way so we weren’t at each others throats, if we could find a way to live together, he admitted he probably would like that. He would prefer it actually.
    So I asked myself, would I? And yes, the answer is probably yes. (One reason being he would be happier and I am happier when he is) I would like to live in a larger community where we shared more. I wouldn’t mind sharing him with another woman, just so long as he didn’t lie and cheat and steal and run off without looking after my children. I’m sure by now you think I am crazy. But I am just being honest.
    But my husband and I didn’t do this? Why? Because of society. Imagine the neighbors? What about the law? Here in Zimbabwe he is not allowed to have two legally wedded wives. Only in common law can a man do this. So one of us would be senior, and the problems would begin.
    Imagine a situation where it wasn’t like that?
    I went back in history and discovered in fairly recent times that societies did exist, where men had more than one wife and it was the church (read here European Catholic) who changed the law. The reason: they got the property of a man who died without progeny. This happened fairly often with a man with only one wife, but hardly ever with a man with two wives, probably never with three. The early Church was all about control and controlling money is the first step. Then food. Then sex, education.
    Look again at the facts: most Americans can’t handle the pressure of a monogamous relationship, you said so in your article. You should perhaps stop trying to shoe horn them into a religion or a culture which doesn’t fit. Perhaps you should take your own ‘parenting advice,’ in your last post? Perhaps we were just lucky and found our goose! Within a polygynous society, where the rules of engagement are different, perhaps there would be a small proportion of people, like you and me, your folks and mine. Perhaps we are not the norm???
    I have never written a comment to a post before, and in fact began one in answer to your previous post about Obama Cult and deleted it…because like life, its so pointless.
    In both instances, my question was “So what are we going to do about it? So much has to change in order for people to stop following maniacs, to change our laws, to accept polygamy…we arnt doing very well with what we have now…but how do we change?

    • Laura says:

      I appreciate your honesty. I know in theory you would like those relationships, but how could you be two wives and a husband without feeling jealous or hateful towards her? Do you think it’s actually possible to be close with your husband and feel the same intimacy? Does he feel the same way about having another man in the relationship? If it’s not about producing children and about love then he should feel the same, if not then I would think he is being selfish to want two women but not allow a man. And does it stop there? Could there be more? You are selfless to want another woman for him, but selfless to the point that you may be breaking your own heart, and that is not love. You may not be able to legally be wedded as three but you could still have relations outside marriage, in the U.S it’s called an “open relationship” or “swingers”. Plenty of people do it and yes it can be looked down on, but there is also a large culture of supporters. Personally, my husband and I are honest with each other and know we could have ended up marrying and loving any number of people, but what makes our love stronger and our intimacy greater is that we choose not to. We choose each other. Everyday I choose to not entertain thoughts (or actions) of being with other men because I know it would break my husbands heart. I have chosen to forsake all others in order to gain a level of intimacy I don’t believe enough in the U.S understand. To cheat on him would be like cutting down a beautiful old tree, it’s breaks trust at the base and will take a long time to grow back to full height. Even if we were consenting to have a third person I feel it would do the same. I believe all our hearts are naturally filled with the desire to be singled out, lifted up, sought after, even jealousy for the love (the choice) of one other to make you theirs and him/her yours. I honestly believe desire for a third outside that is lust or self seeking. I just can’t see any woman truly saying “oh yes, I desire my husband to not only share his body but his affections an attention for another”. I watched a video in a college anthropology class about current polygamous relationships (I think it was India) and although the women interviewed understood the need for it to create more children, to have more working hands and make more money, etc. they still couldn’t help feeling jealous of their husbands attention being on the other wives and their children than themselves and their family. This was an unbiased documentary with no religious motives and the heartbreak of those women in that marriage seemed so far from how it should be.

      • frankiekay says:

        Thanks for your reply – but I must reiterate my point – what you have in the US isn’t working – numerous articles confirm it.
        Here in Zimbabwe we don’t have a break down in the family, most of us have strong family feeling and hardly ever are children or grandparents abandoned. Perhaps here, people are closer to their ancient culture…The example of polygamy was not offered as a solution, but rather as a starting point. A radical point of departure. Whilst what you describe above and in the original article, is working for a few of you, its not working for the majority. Many Americans say following God is the only way forward. They have been saying that for years and the problems with ‘the family’ appear to get worse and worse. So I ask again – is it not your culture which needs to change. Should leaders not be looking at what they see in front of them…indiscipline, selfishness, lack of caring, lack of self examination… and ask where to go from there…

    • love2liveby says:

      Ridiculousness. So you are saying that if America would just let a man marry a couple chics, it would solve what ails us? Right, because that worked out so well for Leah and Rachel. But of course, you probably don’t believe that story. When God’s story is removed from our stories, marriage stories included, we make it all about us. Any man, or woman, who would bring another in is SELFISH! That’s, I think, what Matt and Seth were trying to say…if you are selfish, don’t get married. Marriage isn’t for selfish people. It’s not about you.

    • Joe says:

      This is by far the most ridiculous comment I have read in this entire blog. I have never commented on this blog before but I had to when I read this! I am not an American, an Asian by birth and have been working in America for the past one year. I will be back in my country in a couple of years so basically, I am an alien to this country. I am a Christian and support Christian marriages where marriage is a union of one Man and one woman with a lifelong commitment to stay loyal, love and to serve, till death do us part.
      The first problem with your comment is assuming vast majority of american marriages is failing because of religion. The vast majority don’t follow God in America. Not sure if you’ve heard, majority of the american’s follow their “heart”. So the foundation for your argument that religion is the cause of all problem in America’s marriage situation stands void because so far I haven’t met one Christian at work. All my co-workers are atheist just as you are and they have nothing to do with God whatsoever.

      Point number two – polygamy is a good way to solve marital problems?? I am seriously beginning to doubt what is marriage according to you and your husband. Polygamy is adultery (prostitution) and living with multiple partners isn’t going to solve the problem, its going to create more. You are saying that people are cheating because they are expected to stay with just one partner in USA. Actually you are terribly wrong. People are cheating because they follow their own heart and lust and put themselves above everything else and think that the grass is greener on the other side. And looks like you and your husband are also hitting the same lines when you say it would be nice to have more people in your relationship. That according to the dictionary is called selfishness, which is what Mr.Walsh and Seth have tried in their article to denounce. Selfishness is trying to fulfill ones own lust and desires. The grave problem with your comment is that you are camouflaging selfishness and calling it selfless act of letting your spouse enjoy someone else so that you too can enjoy someone else. It’s actually a very disgusting thought! Marriage is a lifelong commitment between ONE man and ONE woman, through thick and thin and even when its inconvenient. You may get bored seeing, sleeping and living with the same person for 30, 40 or 50 years but that’s marriage. When you take that out of formula, you are creating a totally different union and it is not called marriage, it is called prostitution. Matt isn’t discussing prostitution in this post, he is discussing how to make a “marriage” work. Unless that gets into people’s head, its not going to solve marriage problems in any part of the world, let alone America.

    • Sjoe says:

      This is by far the most ridiculous comment I have read in this entire blog. I have never commented on this blog before but I had to when I read this! I am not an American, an Asian by birth and have been working in America for the past one year. I will be back in my country in a couple of years so basically, I am an alien to this country. I am a Christian and support Christian marriages where marriage is a union of one Man and one woman with a lifelong commitment to stay loyal, love and to serve, till death do us part.
      The first problem with your comment is assuming vast majority of american marriages is failing because of religion. The vast majority don’t follow God in America. Not sure if you’ve heard, majority of the american’s follow their “heart”. So the foundation for your argument that religion is the cause of all problem in America’s marriage situation stands void because so far I haven’t met one Christian at work. All my co-workers are atheist just as you are and they have nothing to do with God whatsoever.

      Point number two – polygamy is a good way to solve marital problems?? I am seriously beginning to doubt what is marriage according to you and your husband. Polygamy is adultery (prostitution) and living with multiple partners isn’t going to solve the problem, its going to create more. You are saying that people are cheating because they are expected to stay with just one partner in USA. Actually you are terribly wrong. People are cheating because they follow their own heart and lust and put themselves above everything else and think that the grass is greener on the other side. And looks like you and your husband are also hitting the same lines when you say it would be nice to have more people in your relationship. That according to the dictionary is called selfishness, which is what Mr.Walsh and Seth have tried in their article to denounce. Selfishness is trying to fulfill ones own lust and desires. The grave problem with your comment is that you are camouflaging selfishness and calling it selfless act of letting your spouse enjoy someone else so that you too can enjoy someone else. It’s actually a very disgusting thought! Marriage is a lifelong commitment between ONE man and ONE woman, through thick and thin and even when its inconvenient. You may get bored seeing, sleeping and living with the same person for 30, 40 or 50 years but that’s marriage. When you take that out of formula, you are creating a totally different union and it is not called marriage, it is called prostitution. Matt isn’t discussing prostitution in this post, he is discussing how to make a “marriage” work. Unless that gets into people’s head, its not going to solve marriage problems in any part of the world, let alone America.

  9. Veronica Sauer says:

    The DSM manual is no longer a reference beca use is custom made for pharmaceutics??

    Is That true ??

    Write That ???

    Sent from my iPhone


  10. Katie Ledbetter says:

    After 32 years of wedded happy work, I say Amen!

  11. Shaun Pfund says:

    Matt, both you and Seth have made some astounding claims, the truth these days seems to be an elusive wispy spirit that occasionally drops by visits and in present day for some leaves no memento of its presence. Some in our society reel against marriage unless one achieves the Oprah view of having it all..all should in essence contain

    these few but important ingredients in route to the objective of true bliss. One one another without reservation, compensation, or depth for it is when we freely give ourselves, the abundance of love returned is heartfelt and overwhelming..share..experience..grow and your heart grows also achieving the one obtainable sometimes intangible element called love. Christ by his example gave all for the Father through him loves us unconditionally, how then could I by any measure not strive to do the same, for many years ago he charged us to love one another…

  12. “You Go Boy!” I am so proud of you young man…it is very good to hear such words coming from the male species!

    In a church service I attended recently, they were celebrating married couples; there were couples who had been married in range between a year and 60+ years!

    My prayer is that you continue to weather the storms and hold fast to this profession years down the road!

    The Lord Bless!

  13. Danny says:

    So this guy had been married two years? Come talk to me when you’re in double digits and we’ll talk. Until then enjoy your honeymoon.

    • THeckman says:

      Well, he will because he knows the secret……

    • Sherry says:

      Read all the comments here for examples of longer lasting marriages, Danny. My husband and I have been married for over 10 years since I was 22 and he was 25. We have two little boys. We have been through many rough patches together…mostly when I am acting selfish I’ll admit. Marriage isn’t about two “perfect” people finding one another. It is about two “loving” people committing to one another and yes, serving one another. This year, our marriage met its most difficult struggle yet. Our third child and first baby girl was due to be born just a few days after our 10th anniversary. We were so ready to welcome her to our family, but sometimes life sucks, and she left us at birth due to a cord accident. I am sure you can imagine our heartbreak and devastation. Over the last few months of dealing with grief, we have had to learn more than ever to “serve” one another as well as look to God for our strength. Of course, we could be like some people today who are quick to blame God when something terrible happens. That theology goes something like this: “Oh, I don’t really believe in God. I guess maybe there is some supernatural force that created the universe, but that may or not be God. {bad thing happens} Oh, God, why did you let this happen? Why did you CAUSE me so much pain?” See how selfish that sounds? That’s our culture today. Although we struggled with our anger, we never blamed God because we know he is not the force in this world today that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. God doesn’t kill what he created. We live in a world where evil does reign (because of our choice to let it), and death, sickness, and destruction are the “price” of evil. Anyway, I got off topic there. I just wanted to say that my husband and I could have easily “given up” many times in our marriage over the last 10 years. That’s the “easy” way out. When you choose to marry and stay married, you are choosing to work through the hard times together. That’s what all the successful marriage stories are about…like Matt’s parents and so many others. Read those if you need clarification and inspiration.

  14. Not-a-real-marriage-expert-but-doing-the-best-I-can-with-the-marriage-I-have says:

    I think in modern society, there are two camps of people dealing with marriage.

    There are those folks who side with Matt Walsh and Jenkin Lloyd Jones:

    “Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just like people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, and most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is just like an old time rail journey … delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

    And then there are the “GYPSY” / “Lucy”s of the world: http://www.waitbutwhy.com/2013/09/why-generation-y-yuppies-are-unhappy.html

    To sum it up, one Christian writer put it pretty simply:

    “What if God’s primary intent for your marriage isn’t to make you happy . . . but holy? And what if your relationship isn’t as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God? Everything about your marriage–everything–is filled with prophetic potential, with the capacity for discovering and revealing Christ’s character. The respect you accord your partner; the forgiveness you humbly seek and graciously extend; the ecstasy, awe, and sheer fun of lovemaking; the history you and your spouse build with one another–in these and other facets of your marriage, [a] sacred marriage uncovers the mystery of God’s overarching purpose.”

    • Lisa says:

      Love that. It’s not about me, it’s not even about my spouse. It’s about God. My husband and I have been married for 18 years. The more we die to self, and look to Jesus, the better our marriage gets.

  15. Julie says:

    Really great & true post! My husband and I have been married for 20 years and it definitely takes more than “romantic feelings.”

  16. Not-a-real-marriage-expert-but-doing-the-best-I-can-with-the-marriage-I-have says:

    If you’re looking to get married just to:
    … not be lonely anymore
    … find protection from your inner demons
    … make a financial merger to increase wealth or earning potential
    … further your educational / political / career ambitions
    … find your soulmate / someone who’s “just like you” / “worships you”
    … have a “legal” sexual relationship in the eyes of God
    … stop people from bugging you about getting married
    … have the wedding or lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of
    … have the great marriage that Mr. and Mrs. Jones seem to have
    … get someone else to foot the bill for your “bucket list” or “social causes”
    … have and play with adorable / cute kids (see above re: “lonelyness”)
    … (or any other self-centered expectation)

    then maybe you’re not quite ready for it yet.

  17. steven says:

    I don’t think you know what “neo-liberal” means, nor do I think you can make assumptions about the beliefs of what those critics are from those very limited, and non-political criticisms.

  18. Michael Reaves says:

    Can I have back the five minutes I wasted reading this article?

  19. J M G says:

    “Maybe it’s more accurate to say that the words did something. Something happened in that church that day. Something mysterious and supernatural occurred. My soul was joined with my wife’s and we became one. That’s not just some nice little phrase: it’s real. It happens. I became one with my wife.”

    Any proof of these assertions Matt? We should believe this because you claim it to be true?

    • Steven says:

      Read Mark 10:6. Jesus says a similar thing. And he appeals to what was written in Genesis.
      Although I would correct Matt’s words–the becoming one happens on the wedding night, not at the vows. The vows are what make the becoming one legal. Marriage involves both public vows and private intimacy.

      • Wes says:

        Steven, you can’t back up a claim in a book written thousands of years ago, translated hundreds of times with that same book. That’s not how proof works.

    • Steven says:

      Wes, can you back that statement up? Do you have proof for what makes a proof?

  20. I’m 15 years and 5 kids into my marriage and I’d like to push back just a tiny bit. The best thing you can do for your spouse is to dig in and do the work you need to do on getting yourself right. We all carry baggage and if we’ve experienced trauma, abuse or even just rough patches of life, we picked up dysfunctional habits on the way. If you don’t deal with those things yourself, you WILL make your spouse carry the weight of them. No matter how selfless, loving and serving you are. It will happen. And it will destroy both of you.

    Being selfish and demanding is never good. But taking care of yourself is ESSENTIAL. Sure, two years in, you can ignore your own needs and issues in order to serve the other. But 10 years in? No way. It’s going to fall apart. You’ll end up in a dark, ugly place, feeling completely defeated and wondering what happened.

    Think of it this way – if you don’t tend to your own garden, you won’t be able to give to your spouse of the beauty that grows there. In time, you will be plucking up weeds and offering them to each other. You will be angry when your spouse is unenthused about being given weeds when you’re doing your best.

    This dicotomy between caring for your spouse and caring for yourself is completely and utterly false and ultimately, very, very damaging. It’s one of the main drivers of the tendency of marriages to fail, in fact. A marriage simply cannot work if each person isn’t caring for themselves, dealing with their own issues and then giving and serving each other out of the strength and goodness they gain in doing that.

    BTW, a book on marriage which I simply cannot recommend highly enough which deals with these issues is Passionate Marriage. Since you and your wife are fairly new to marriage, I would recommend in the strongest terms that you check it out. It may be challenging, but, although not written from a Christian view point, it does a better job of describing the process by which God has designed marriage to work for our betterment.

    • Rach says:

      Excellently stated. There is much more to a marriage than just putting each other first with the Creator at center — I think Matt may grow to see that once his views on long-term marriage success are based on having lived it and learning what it means, rather than observations and opinions.

    • Laura says:

      I think what you said is wise and true, I’m not trying to take away from that, especially what is my 4 years of marriage to your 15. But I’m not sure Matt ever meant to interpreted as “Don’t take care of yourself”. I believe this model of servant like love works in every marriage, even one where one spouse might be bringing a dark past with them. Because if their spouse is choosing to do the ultimate good for them then their serving can look like patiently waiting while they go away to a clinic or take time for them self during counseling sessions. But their spouse is fully part of that healing process, because they are in it together. I’ve seen this model still work through my brother’s marriage as he’s struggled with depression and bi-polar. His wife had to hold strong during the down times because a big part of love is patients. But after he got his meds right and took action through counseling he is now able to serve her to his best. The appreciation he has for her because of her selfless love during that time has only made their commitment to each other stronger and his desire to serve her all the more.

    • Such a good point, Rebecca. I echo your sentiments in my rebuttal to Seth’s original post here: http://centerforwomenspsychology.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/marriage-isnt-for-me-really/?blogsub=confirming#blog_subscription-2

      I think there are important nuances to consider from a woman’s perspective (and that is, after all my, my specialty).

  21. Ragnarok says:

    It’s adorable when people who’ve been married for two whole years dispense advice on what marriage means. If 20 years of marriage have taught me anything, Matt, it’s that marriage doesn’t work just one way, and as comforting as such confident (and vague) pronouncements can be to make that comfort is most often false. Here’s some wisdom from a man who has only been married once: Spend more time working on being the husband you need to be to your wife and less time telling everyone else what they need to be to their spouses. Your parents’ marriage doesn’t really add to your qualifications since you and your wife are not your parents. Stop co-opting their example. Build your own.

    By the way, you start off by making the following claim: “The turnover rate in marriage these days is worse than the turnover rate at telemarketing firms.” That’s a misleading statement insofar as the average turnover rate for telemarketing call centers industry-wide is 26% (http://smallbusiness.chron.com/standard-employee-turnover-call-center-industry-36185.html) annually, but the most recent data available (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/key_statistics.htm) indicates the divorce rate stands at 29% within the first 10 years of marriage. An annual average and a 10-year average are not really comparable in any statistical sense. Careless claims of that nature tend to erode your credibility.

    • Kyle says:

      “Spend more time working on being the husband you need to be to your wife …” – Ya’ll are saying the same thing, just differently.

      “Spend more time working on being the husband you need to be to your wife … Careless claims of that nature tend to erode your credibility.” – Come on, that’s hyperbole.

    • mgh says:

      I like they

  22. Kaisu says:

    What happens when one partner serves the other and the other partner serves themself; Years and years of service to another with no tending to the needs of self? How sustainable do you think that will be?

    • Penina Adler Herskovitz says:

      Obviously things don’t work then. Both sides have to be committed to the relationship for it to work. But if one side is working hard and the other isn’t, seek out therapy, don’t just give up the second it’s hard. Sometiems you have to give 50% and the other person gives 50%. Sometimes you give 100%. Sometimes you have to be the taker. If it’s ALWAYS one sided, get counselling.

    • Not-a-real-marriage-expert-but-doing-the-best-I-can-with-the-marriage-I-have says:

      A man named Hugh Nibley once defined charity like this: “For charity there is no bookkeeping, no deals, interests, bargaining or ulterior motives; charity gives to those who do not deserve, and expects nothing in return; it is the love God has for us, and the love that we have for little children, of whom we expect nothing, but for whom we would give everything.”

      Selfless service and charity change people. Any spouse who serves allows themselves to be changed to become more like Christ because of the service they rendered and the charity they freely gave. But, if they served in a manner that “kept score”, then it wasn’t really charity and selfless service after all. If one spouse doesn’t serve and just “takes”, then the missed opportunity shall be their reward.

      C.S. Lewis said something that I think can be applied to marriage:

      “If you think of [marriage] as a[n institution] intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place for correction and it’s not so bad. Imagine a set of people all living in the same building. Half of them think it is a hotel, the other half think it is a prison. Those who think it a hotel might regard it as quite intolerable, and those who thought it was a prison might decide that it was really surprisingly comfortable. So that what seems the ugly doctrine is one that comforts and strengthens you in the end. The people who try to hold an optimistic view of [marriage] would become pessimists: the people who hold a pretty stern view of it become optimistic.”

      If we see this earth life or marriage as a “hotel”, then there really is no point to virtue at all, and we should just desperately grab for any fleeting pleasure we can attain through any means necessary until our utter existance is ended through death. If we see it as a place of learning and correction, then our perspective shifts to realizing that there is a whole lot of eternity that depends on the changes that we seek that can only be made through the grace of Christ during our mortal journey.

      So, hotel (hell) or prison (heaven). You decide.

    • Not-a-real-marriage-expert-but-doing-the-best-I-can-with-the-marriage-I-have says:

      … Now, if there is abuse in the home, that’s another story all together. Wifes and husbands are to “be one” and preside over the family together, but that doesn’t mean they are to follow the other even one inch towards Hell.

      There is also the understanding that wifes look to their husbands for support and children can look to their parents for their nurturing and protection, (1 Timothy 5:8). There needs to be personal responsiblity in the roles as husband and wife, but if one spouse isn’t pulling their weight, then the extended family, church, and community at large can be asked to help fill in to make sure that the children don’t suffer the consequences of the “lukewarm” parent.

      • Penina Adler Herskovitz says:

        In Judaism, the man is responsible for the physical direction of the home, the woman is in charge of the spiritual. As the old joke goes, they spend the rest of their marriage arguing about what falls into which category. But each side is definitely better at one thing, and the point of marriage is to meld those talents and create a loving, livable environment. If one is too strong or too weak, it can really hurt the harmony of the home.

  23. willhouk says:

    Listening to your marriage advice is like listening to a teenager talk about investing for retirement. Get back to me in 10-20 years when you have some experience.

    • Curtis says:

      So instead of attacking the claims made, probably because you know them to be true, you attack the person who wrote them, who learned by example of those who succeeded before him?

  24. Brenda says:

    Brilliant, as usual Matt. Thank you for fearlessly addressing the issues the way you do. I heard a great sermon by Tim Keller the other day about marriage. I’ll attempt to paraphrase but will no doubt struggle to be as eloquent as he or you. He talked about how dating is essentially marketing. Living together is marketing. Marriage is a covenant. When we date, we put on our “best self” to try to impress and earn the love and respect of our partner. We don’t reveal all our vulnerabilities or secrets. In trying to secure love, we “market” ourselves with the hope of pleasing the other person enough so they won’t leave. When people live together, essentially they are saying, “I’m going to try you out. If you don’t annoy me too much, I may stick around. But if at any time, I’m bored or unhappy or I see something else I want more – I’m outta here.” Sex outside of marriage is marketing. Trying to either please the partner so they stick around, or use the partner to please self – but it’s still marketing. In marketing transactions, a person or people present a product or service as attractive, needed and wanted. As long as the satisfaction continues, the relationship continues. When the consumer becomes dissatisfied or sees something better, they go elsewhere. Not unlike dating or living together. Marriage, as created by God, is a covenant. In the covenant, each partner commits to be faithful and to stay married for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health until death parts them. Doesn’t sound like marketing to me. There is no – “When you get sick, I’m outta here. When you gain weight I’m leaving. When I start being bored with you, I’m gone.” It’s a commitment to love the person (a choice – not a feeling) and stick by them whether or not you are always personally satisfied. It’s way beyond thinking of the other person only in terms of how they please you. It takes us out of ourselves and commits us to a higher purpose. We commit to consider, care for and be faithful to someone else. Not use them to fulfill ourselves until we tire of them and move on. Living together is completely counter to this covenant and in no way prepares people for marriage. No wonder those who live together are way more likely to divorce. They are entering into marriage with one foot in and one foot out from the start. Marriage is the only institution that creates the possibility of safety, the opportunity to start to let down our walls, our guard, our masks and reveal who we truly are – fears, vulnerabilities, warts and all. Marriage teaches people how to think of someone besides themselves, how to commit to a higher purpose, how to become less selfish and more giving, less demanding and more patient, etc. In marriage, if people truly commit to stick by each other no matter what, they can become better people and become a much better potential parent. The commitment of marriage, when worked at – creates a deeper bond, deeper love and richer relationship than is ever possible in dating or living together. Why do people think it’s so freeing and valuable to continue in relationships where they are or their partner have no intention of sticking around when the going gets tough or the grass looks greener? What is so freeing about that kind of shallow attachment? What is so lovely about using someone as long as they please us and tossing them aside when we are no longer fulfilled? How can that make for anything other than a selfish, empty relationship and life? Anyway, thanks again for articulating these tough issues and making us all think and feel more. God bless you!

  25. Carly Jurica says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…

    Great marriages do NOT belong exclusively to Christians.

    Also, real biblical marriage is a far cry from what you Christians are always peddling as the “only” right way to do marriage.

    Seriously. Go read your Bible. And then maybe some decent science. Also, “Passionate Marriage” by David Schnarch.

    And this little practice in scraping the surface of the issue: http://penciledinexistence.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/marriage-does-not-belong-to-christians/

  26. Penina Adler Herskovitz says:

    The Hebrew word for love is “ahava”, which literally means “to give”. It’s only by giving that we find real love. We see this is true in many non-marital situations. The harder I work on something, the more of myself I give to a project, the more important it is to me, the more special. It’s known in modern terms as the Ikea Effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikea_Effect), where “labour enhances affection for its results”. The harder I work, the more I treasure the results. The same in marriage. The more I put into my spouse, the more effort I expend toward my partner and my kids, the more love I’m going to feel toward them. The more I focus on myself, the less loving I am. I’ve been horrified by the concept of Hollywood romances since I was a child. Just because someone is pretty or makes your heart flutter when they walk in the room doesn’t make you “in love”. You’re in lust. Your brain is sending chemical signals to parts of your body telling you that you like what you see/smell. But until you’re willing to give yourself over to the other person, to work at a relationship from the other person’s perspective, to try even if it’s not “fun” or “working out for me”, you don’t know what a relationship is. And you’ll never know true love. Most people who’ve stayed happily married for many years did not begin their relationship with “falling” in love. They worked. They tried. They gave to each other. They built something that they love together.

    I’m not an expert on marriage, I’m only at year 5. And as “in love” as I am with my husband now, I know that I still know nothing of the love that’s waiting for us 5, 10, 50 years down the road. I can’t wait to find out.

  27. Laura says:

    Hey Matt, I think you’ll really enjoy this speaker Brad Hennings. He goes around to different schools (usually high schools) speaking on this point; that love is a choice, and does it with such humor and conviction. I lead a group of younger girls and we watch the video of one of his talks every year and get something new out of it every time. You can order the video through his website, it’s worth every penny. I recommend it for any age, but I think it’s awesome he speaks to middleschool-highschool aged kids because that’s where the cultural idea of marriage really starts becoming a reality. If super heroes can be balding with high-waisted shorts, high socks, and mustaches then Brad is my personal hero. He defined Love for me, but I’m the one that’s had to hold to that definition through 4 years of marriage (at the age of 20) and our now 7 month old son.

  28. Buddy says:

    What percentage of women have you been married to?

  29. Hayley says:

    Ok. So I want to print every one of your posts, take them to an office supply store and have them bound into a book so I can highlight, dog ear pages, and write “Amen” in the margins. Thank you for what you say and how you say it.

  30. Jean says:

    Good grief. Straw Man much?

  31. meganmneedham says:

    I feel like the “marriage isn’t for you” idea is oversimplified. I’m Mormon, female, and two years into a marriage. I believe that marriage is hard work and that both parties have to throw themselves into it, but I also feel like the traditional, often religious views of marriage dismiss the importance of women and their value as human beings. So I think generally, men really need to hear the message that marriage isn’t about them, and women need to know it’s okay to do some things for themselves. My husband is applying to MBA programs and studying for an exam called the CFA. He helps a little bit at home, but since we had a baby and I quit my job as an attorney in Manhattan, he has started to help less. However, my work load is constant. Not only do I put in full days of childcare, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc., but I also have to work at night tutoring so we can pay for all of the professional things he wants to pursue because he doesn’t make enough at his job. So I’m well aware this marriage isn’t about me. It’s not for me. It’s purpose is not to make me happy. But I think it’s fair to create an environment where I feel like a human being rather than a slave and where my personal development matters just as much as his. Strictly traditional models don’t lend themselves well to that, and I think over-internalizing the “marriage isn’t for you” message has actually caused me a lot of unhappiness.

    • Perfectly articulated, Megan.

    • Penina Adler Herskovitz says:

      Absolutely. I get so frustrated with my husband, who works full time (for part time wages) and is in class in the evenings. I work part time, and I’m a mom every other second. There are hundreds of things I take care of every day that he takes for granted. Laundry, supper, groceries, getting my kids dressed… For the most part, my husband takes care of himself. Only, when I got really upset and suggested we sit down and really talk (something that’s really hard for him to do), I found out that he thinks about us constantly. He knows he’s putting in long hours to take care of us. He sends me random texts during the day, texts I used to dismiss as annoying, as his way of showing he’s thinking about me. He stopped helping so much with the kids because he realized he doesn’t really know what to do, and that I seemed to have it all under control. He really heard me when I told him I don’t feel appreciated sometimes, and no, that doesn’t mean fanfare and a “Great Job!” poster, but recognition of the work I put in, and he’s started to try to notice more. He offered to watch the kids so I could go to my doctor’s appointment alone – for the first time ever.

      Yes, your marriage is not about you, but that doesn’t mean you should become a slave and totally lose your separate identity. You put in what you are able, and try a little harder than you sometimes think you can, but if it’s too much, it’s too much. No one can ask you to put in more than you are physically able. Talk about it with him, discuss your feelings, work something out. Of course you matter, and you as You shouldn’t disappear into a marriage.

  32. Stacy says:

    As usual, you make me feel sane. Thank you for your insight.

  33. Sara says:

    I’m not sure exactly what point you were trying to make with this piece. Your writing is erratic to say the least. This is what I heard when I read it:

    OUR ENTIRE CULTURE IS HORRIBLE AND KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT MARRIAGE!!!! I think that the “Marriage isn’t for you” guy is right and everyone who thinks otherwise is INFLUENCED BY OUR HORRIBLE CULTURE THAT KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT MARRIAGE!!! I have been married for 2 years and make no claims to be an expert at marriage, EXCEPT THAT I KNOW MARRIAGE BETTER THAN AN ENTIRE NATION FULL OF PEOPLE!!! If you want to maintain your identity as a separate person from your spouse don’t get married!!! MY WIFE SERVES ME. and i serve her. YOU OFFENDED BY THAT?! HUH, HUH? DOES THAT OFFEND YOU?!

    So there you go. That’s my take. Many generalizations without any solid backing whatsoever. And yelling. For some reason I pictured this dude yelling and shaking his fist throughout most of his inane diatribe like we’re all a bunch of kids who need to get off his lawn.

    • Steven says:

      Why do you take his blog so personally? He’s attacking the cultural consumerist attitude toward marriage. He’s telling married people to love each other unconditionally. It’s a simple message. What part of it offends you?

      • saratorvik says:

        He’s claiming that our entire society knows nothing about marriage and commitment, but he, Matt Walsh, a man who has only been married for two years, has it all figured out. I’ve read a few of his blog posts before and he always comes off completely bitter, arrogant and self-important and seems to think there is a one-size-fits all approach to life and relationships. The truth is that there isn’t. Not by a long shot.

        At the end of the day Matt Walsh is just yet another young white straight Christian dude who seems to be under the deluded impression that his two years or less of marriage gives him a uniquely valuable perspective on the entire institution as it has existed from time immemorial. He’s a classic know-it-all, but the truth is that he really doesn’t know that much of anything.

      • mgh says:

        He is condescending and presumptuous.

        • Steven says:

          Examples, please. Not trying to pick a fight, just wanting to understand how he is being rude to you personally.

      • saratorvik says:

        Uhhh, I didn’t say he was being rude to me personally. That is not the point. His entire worldview is arrogant to the max because he assumed that everyone who doesn’t live exactly like he does is Doing It Wrong. He is pretty much the reason why so many people want nothing to do with Christianity. He doesn’t represent Christ, he represents his own narrow-minded opinions and passes them off as truth. If you can’t see how many straw-man arguments and presumptions he makes all throughout this post, and in fact, much of his posts, then I don’t know what to tell you.

        • Steven says:

          Granted, his post, and his style, is on a grand scale in order to get peoples’ attention (and dare I say it got yours). Some people agree and applaud, some disagree and say he’s gone too far. But the latter need to show exactly where he went to far. Which statement in this post is not true? Name it and claim it, then the discussion can move forward. But naming the man (self-righteous duche) rather than his fallacies doesn’t help your cause. What exactly do you disagree with in regards to his arguments?

      • saratorvik says:

        I disagree with pretty much everything but it REALLY bothers me to hear someone married all of 2 years critique people who are divorced as ‘flippant’ and ‘flighty’ as if they didn’t take marriage seriously. As if their divorce probably wasn’t one of the most painful events of their lives. Seriously, how dare he make an assumption like that about people’s lives?. He doesn’t have a clue what people have gone through and what led to their marriages ending but yet he thinks he can sit in judgement of them and act like they are what is wrong with society. Screw that.

        Generally speaking, the first years of marriage are relatively easy, especially if you get married while you’re both earning good, post-college salaries and there are not kids in the mix yet. Wait until 10 years pass, and you have encountered kids, deaths, unemployment, disillusioned dreams, and have burnt the candle at both ends for a decade … THEN if you’re still together and in love and working towards the same goal, THEN you have something to say. Until then maybe you should just keep your moronic opinions to yourself.

        Seriously, I can’t even believe I’m having to spell this out. Matt Walsh is an idiot, and I don’t say that lightly. He’s the WORST kind of idiot because he thinks he’s smart. If you read his comments on his Facebook posts you see a pattern of him playing the victim, being persecuted, being misunderstood, etc, etc, etc. It’s nauseating.

        • Lisa says:

          When the argument is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser…Socrates. I’ve read several of your replies and when someone asks you to provide something other than name calling and finger pointing, you simply launch into yet another tirade. It’s not very impressive or compelling.

          You may belittle Matt’s comments because his marriage is of short duration so far but in reality what he says applies whether or not someone is a newlywed or celebrating their Golden Anniversary. Again, if you have something other than ad hominem statements please make an argument.

          I’ll pray for you. You sound incredibly agitated about a blog post in a world where there are far greater concerns.

      • saratorvik says:

        Oh Christians and your condescending “I’ll pray for you.” That’s a classic one. And you know what? Sometimes it’s just okay to call a spade a spade. There’s no need to beat around the bush. Some people are dumb, or at least mind-numbingly ignorant to the various nuances and shades of grey in the world, and Matt Walsh one of those people. I’ve read several of his posts and he has yet to ever make a point that was grounded in reality. He has shitty, Fox News verified opinions that the touts as fact and people buy it hook, line, and sinker, showing that their critical thinking skills are just as poor as his are.

        Maybe what some of you need to step outside of your little bubbles, and see that the world is in fact not black and white, but full of shades of grey. And just because people have different lives and values does not make them less moral than you or their marriages/relationships less meaningful. Get over yourselves.

        • Lisa says:

          Still no cogent argument? Just more tirades and rants?. Your hostility is really unfortunate. Angry people are not only unpleasant, they are hurting themselves by bathing their bodies in stress hormones.

      • saratorvik says:

        I HAVE made an argument, just because you don’t like my argument does not mean that I have not made one. I have stated that I think Matt Walsh’s opinions on marriage and divorce are not rooted in reality. There isn’t a one size fits all way of doing things. And marriage does not even belong to Christians. It never has. So what exactly is it it that you want me to say? I explained what bothers me about this post and it’s author. He claims to speak about “absolute truths” but there really isn’t anything to truthful to what he says. He can’t even properly define neoliberalism, for crying out loud. It’s embarrassing. I can’t even begin to take his ramblings or “absolute truths” seriously.

      • saratorvik says:

        P.S. I love how you assume that because I’m annoyed with this blog that I must be an Angry Person ™. You don’t know me in real life. I don’t spend my days being angry. But I’m a little ticked off at this particular moment because people who have a “I’m a Christian therefore I know better than you despite having little-to-no experience” attitude do kind get under my skin.

        • Lisa says:

          Sorry this blog makes you so angry. My Spiritual Director has explained to me that most human distress comes from not having control of a person or situation. You have no control over Matt Walsh. You have no control over those who have responded. You are the world’s greatest expert on your own opinion and thus you are angry that we do not share it, nor do we find rants, tirades and name calling particularly compelling. You will be much happier if you focus on those things you can control. God bless!

      • saratorvik says:

        LOL, more condescension. Seems to be your specialty, Lisa.

        Satan’s blessings upon you,

      • saratorvik says:

        By the way, Lisa. I think you might want to read Matt’s post again because he uses name-calling towards those he disagrees with, as well. Army of Imbeciles? What do you call that, exactly?

      • saratorvik says:

        I don’t believe in Satan.

        • Lisa says:

          Satan believes in you! He also believes in God. As to the name calling, again if you want anyone to take your argument seriously focus on particular statements with which you disagree and counter them with a cogent and credible argument. Just calling Matt names or saying “He did it too” makes you sound like a child in a playground.

      • Mather says:

        sara has made valid points….

        • Lisa says:

          Do tell? I couldn’t find much but an hominem attacks on Matt, some name calling and a tirade against Christians. i’m not sure how that counter’s Matt’s points.

    • saratorvik says:

      Lisa, you’re still ignoring the fact that Matt himself has often used insults and ad-hominem attacks against those he disagrees with. In fact, he did so right in this blog post. But it’s only bad when I do it, apparently.

      • Lisa says:

        As noted before, instead of making a cogent argument for your position you throw bombs attacking the messenger, impuning his motives, claiming you know and dismissing his sources…all without providing a single phrase supporting your opposition to Matt’s words and his Christian faith. You apparently know not of what you speak so the only thing you can do is make disparaging remarks about him. Slander, the tool of the one losing the argument.

        As to demanding I acknowledge that Matt has used hyperbole, once more, you sound like a little child on the playground pointing at another child and saying “Well he did it too!” Don’t know about your mom but mine called me out when I tried such lame excuses. Didn’t work then, doesn’t work now.

      • saratorvik says:

        You do not know what slander means, because I have not slandered this man at all. I have explained myself thoroughly several times now about exactly what I did not like about this post and why. At this point I’m not sure what you expect of me.

        And I’m sorry but if you think I am such a terrible person for insulting Matt then why do you let it pass that he constantly insults people himself? Why am I being held to a higher standard than the man who writes the blog posts? That hardly seems fair. Is it because you agree with what he’s saying and disagree with me? So he can call people fools and imbeciles all he wants but I can’t call him out for some of the idiotic, out of touch with reality opinions that he holds? I mean, really, Lisa. Come on.

      • saratorvik says:

        I also can’t help but notice that you have not responded to the source I sited that says that Christians actually divorce at HIGHER rates than other groups (including atheists). I know that reality is hard to deal with for people like you who are stuck in your conservative Christian echo chambers that tell you that everyone else in the world is bad and a sinner except you, but I know you can do it. I believe that you can do it if you try. Reality sucks sometimes, but you’ve gotta face it.

        • Lisa says:

          How delightful! Having failed to come up with any cogent argument and realizing the an hominems launched toward Matt have also failed, you have now set your sights on attacking me personally. Will this work? Inquiring minds wish to know!

          I am very curious if Matt follows the comments. I wonder if he realizes the impact of his columns? Quite entertaining I am sure!

      • saratorvik says:

        All I’m asking for is a little intellectual honesty, Lisa. I have not attacked you. I am inquiring about why you insist on denying reality. So far you just keep denying instead of actually responding to anything I’ve said. You’re deflecting by acting like you’re a victim of my “attacks.” Cute game, but I can see right through it.

  34. Craig says:

    All forms of “special” love lead to a belief in separation, not true love. Love doesn’t know bodies, but the ego lives in them.

  35. Loved this SO much, you have no idea. So SO glad there are still some people (though we may be few and far between) who are traditional!

    I am in a similar place in life as you (Christian–Mormon specifically, married two years, conservative (logical) views), so check out my blog if you want to read similar stuff! (Though I am admittedly jealous of how clearly you write on your first go…)

  36. Steven Taylor says:

    DOES NOT COMPUTE! My dad is barely a believer and my mom’s an Atheist and they’ve been happily married for over 50 years. If your way is the only right way, then how do you explain that?

  37. Steven says:

    Oops misspelled douche

  38. Sundown says:

    Matt, are you a Protestant? If so, then you are in theological error in calling marriage a sacrament.

  39. Mather says:

    Steven, the underlying premise of Matt’s post seems to be that spouses should serve one another. That is good counsel. His over the top hyperbole and unsupported generalizations are extremely narrow minded and unfair. All of the below quotes from his blog are not supported in any way, they are preposterous claims, unfair assumptions about people, and pretty insane conclusions about our country and culture:

    “Consider how frivolously and arrogantly many of us flutter in and out of marriages…” – I’m fairly certain, other than Kim Kardashian, most people don’t treat marriage this way. Most people probably intend on having a successful marriage and make it work.

    “I know that we’ve weathered the storms and drawn closer to each other by rejecting virtually every piece of marital “insight” this twisted country has to offer.” – What insight has the country given that is so awful and “twisted?”

    “You might say, “well, that’s ONE way for a marriage to work.” No, it’s the only way.” -Pick your quote about ‘absolutes’ and place it here.

    “In modern times, we like to pretend marriage is just a “contract between consenting adults,” which makes it about as significant as your lease agreement, or the contract you sign with the guy who’s remodeling your kitchen. ” – Another assumption that is baseless and, in my opinion, preposterous.

    “People enter marriage like mercenaries. They aren’t spouses — they’re scalpers. They give only when they get, and the amount that they give will be directly proportioned to the amount they receive.” – He really thinks that people should be generalized like this?

    “Our culture is poison to marriage. Our culture is poison in general. Every day brings us more evidence of this fact.” – Some expansion here is really necessary. What culture is poison to marriage? America in general? That’s just a preposterous claim. How do you support a conclusion like this? Overly pious and/or self-important people have been making claims about how awful their country/people/culture are for as long as you can find historical literature about their words.

  40. Mariana says:

    Sundown: “Theological error” according to whom?

    • Sundown says:

      If he is Catholic or Eastern Orthodox, then I won’t contest his statement as it at least would be consistent with his theology. If he is part of a Protestant denomination, though, then he most likely doesn’t understand his own denomination’s theology (unless there are some Protestant denominations that do believe that marriage is a sacrament rather than a rite that I haven’t heard of).

      Also, either way, his pronouncement doesn’t describe the theology of those who don’t agree with him anyway. I’m Lutheran; we only have two sacraments (baptism and communion).

  41. Mariana says:

    Saratorvik: Get a grip. I am divorced and I agree with Matt. He is talking about our society as a whole and you’d have to have your head buried in the sand to not see the giant disintegration-of-the-family problem we currently have in this country and world. Obviously you are insecure about your divorce or your choices in life. This is why his article bothers you so much. Matt and his wife were fortunate to have included God in their marital union, which is why their marriage is blessed and will probably last. I was too foolish to appreciate the importance of consulting God when I made that crucial decision. But now I am happy to say that my relationship with Him is better than it has ever been. I know He has forgiven me and loves me. I have chosen to remain single and take care of my kids. I pray for my ex everyday. If you reach out to Him He will pour out his graces upon you and your life will be filled with peace and joy.

    • saratorvik says:

      This article bothers me because I’m divorced? Oh goodie, another Christian making a baseless assumption about somebody they’ve never met!

      I’ve never been divorced, actually. In fact, I’ve never been married. I’m one of those evil independent women that Rush Limbaugh has surely warned you about.

    • saratorvik says:

      Also, Christian couples get divorced all the time. Surely you’re aware of that? Surely you’re aware that it’s not just Godless Heathens who find themselves in broken marriages, right? Did those Christian couples who ended up divorced not included God in their marital unions? They probably did. So how do you explain why things didn’t end up a magical fairy tale for them? Maybe because life isn’t black and white. Give that a ponder.

      • saratorvik says:

        Ha! Thanks, Mather. You made my night.

      • Liz says:

        You know, Matt never said that it was JUST Christian marriages that lasted, or JUST marriages that ‘included God in their marital unions’ that turned out. I don’t think that was his point.
        Rather, whoever you are, Christian/non-Christian, marriage is simply about serving your spouse. Loving and caring for them even sometimes if that means putting your own desires on the back burner. (not to say you totally ignore yourself and needs, it’s about having a balance)

      • renaeliz says:

        You know, Matt never said that it was JUST Christian marriages that lasted, or JUST marriages that ‘included God in their marital unions’ that turned out. I don’t think that was his point.
        Rather, whoever you are, Christian/non-Christian, marriage is simply about serving your spouse. Loving and caring for them even sometimes if that means putting your own desires on the back burner. (not to say you totally ignore yourself and needs, it’s about having a balance)

        • Lisa says:

          Exactly! So much fulminating over things that were NOT said. Self giving love is a Christian concept but one does not need to be a Christian to provide this kind of love to your spouse.

      • saratorvik says:

        Liz, I agree that relationships should be about balance, however that is not what Seth and Matt are saying. They both seem to take extremist views, or at least that’s how it reads to me.

        This post from the Center for Women’s Psychology does a way better job of explaining balance in relationships way better than either of them did.


      • Sjoe says:

        sartorvik: what exactly is the problem you have with Seth’s and Matt’s position. I am unable to understand!

    • Lisa says:

      My sentiments exactly. Thank you! FWIW I am also divorced and it was due to not entering my marriage with a true commitment of two becoming one, God was not a part of our life, in fact at the tiime I was an atheist. Who needed God? I was so brilliant I could do anything without His help. I was wrong. Our marriage didn’t have to begin or end with a lie but it did. Hindsight is 20-20. Had I taken Matt’s advice (although he probably hadn’t been born then) I would have done things much differently.

      God bless you in your care of your children!

      • saratorvik says:

        George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group, commented:

        “While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages.”


        When will you people stop denying reality? You’re no better than anyone else.

  42. TheOrangeMask says:

    Reblogged this on The Orange Mask and commented:
    What a wonderful post!!!!!!

  43. Kristin says:

    I’m sure you’ll get haters just like you did on your stay at home mom post. Just remember that there’s a lot of us out there who think you are ONE HUNDRED PERCENT RIGHT ON! Sometimes we’re just not as loud. Keep speaking your mind. I love it!

    • Mather says:

      His judgments on people, his absolutes, and wildly speculative opinions are hardly right on.

      He is right in that being selfish can make marriage more difficult and performing acts of service for your spouse can typically help it. This concept is in no way groundbreaking or revolutionary. He doesn’t need to pour all these baseless thoughts and opinions about others into his blog to prove this point.

      • Curtis says:

        You’re right, these aren’t revolutionary values. However, they are not the values that are embraced by today’s general society. Also, I’d like to point out that some form of absolutes must exist in the world. Without absolutes, there is no right or wrong, no good or evil, nothing is consistent and science is rendered invalid. Just to clarify.

      • Mather says:

        There definitely some form of absolutes that matter, such as don’t hurt other people. Creating an absolute for the ‘only way a marriage works’ is not about right/wrong, good/evil, consistency, or valid science.

        When marriages end, blaming arbitrary societal values is a cop out. People are imperfect, and subsequently, make bad decisions of many kinds that can lead to a marriage failing. Sure, my surroundings have something to do with who I am. I was brought up in a religious family in a Christian community, I’m not going to blame the societal values (religion/christianity) around me if my marriage fails. And I definitely wouldn’t blame whatever societal values (seemingly negative ones) you are alluding to that are embraced by general society. Especially because they’re not as prevalent in my life as they seem to be to most everyone else in here.

        There is information available that shows that people are getting smarter about what marriage is and divorce rates are going down.


  44. This goes in perfect harmony with the post I just wrote on my blog a few days ago about the difference between want and love. The main difference is that want is temporary while love is eternal.

  45. Jana says:

    I truly agree with a huge portion of what Matt said here. I have seen some of the criticisms of the “Marriage isn’t for me” post & had a similar reaction to them as Matt had…that they were missing the point. I suspect, however, that some of their objections are rooted in a situation that has not been touched on. That is the situation where one spouse gets that marriage isn’t for them and the other spouse doesn’t. That is a really tough place for the one who is committed to giving. If the giving spouse continues to serve & serve while never asking for or receiving anything in return, it can lead to very low self-respect & quickly turn into a codependent, unhealthy situation. I believe that “Marriage isn’t for me” with all my heart. It is the ideal & the best way to have a fulfilling, happy, long-term marriage & a stable, happy family for sure. But I also see that there are times when a giver is married to a taker & the giver really does need to look out for themselves & have some good boundaries. To continue to give in that situation enables the bad behavior & is not good for either party. Neither ends up happy. I suspect some of the criticism of the original post comes from people who have seen or been in this uneven situation. Many givers can fall into the trap of “if I give enough, my taker spouse will change & I will get the love I deserve.” Not going to happen. The only thing that can change the taker is a realization from the taker that what they are doing is wrong & a conscious decision within themselves to change their perspective & behavior. They canNOT be “loved” out of their taking ways.

    • Lisa says:

      I think you have made a great point here and one that counters many of the objections to Matt’s comments. I find no fault with Matt’s philosophy regarding self giving in a marriage, not “keeping score” and thinking of the other. As with those who criticize Christianity or other societal structures, criticizing the faith or the societal norm is not valid when the real issue is the persons involved. Comments such as “Christians get divorced at a higher rate…” are just red herrings. That people who self describe as Christians are flawed human beings would not come as a surprise to anyone. That someone describes themself as Christian does not mean much if they are not following the teachings of the church. This gets right to the heart of what can happen; as you said two people marry but sometimes only one goes into the marriage with proper intent, maturity and judgement. Sometimes they go into the marriage with these characteristics but something changes…addictions, mental illness, etc.

      However I see you and others arguing against something that was never stated by Matt. It’s a strawman set up to be knocked down. Matt points to the Christian faith that can and has sustained him and many others in marriage. He is not demanding a theocracy as some claim. He is not demanding that everyone join his church, believe its particular teachings. But one does not need to be a brain surgeon to see the devastating impact of our government trying to become our “family,” the husband and father of children. I don’t know your age but the dysfunctional situation of “baby daddies” who ignore their women and children are actually being promoted by society and our government. The government cannot withdraw until people step up and take responsibility for their lives, their children and their actions. In a marriage, in a city, in a country, when someone is self absorbed and ignores the others, chaos ensues.

      • saratorvik says:

        “Comments such as “Christians get divorced at a higher rate…” are just red herrings.”

        No, it is not a red herring, Lisa. It is relevant. It is relevant because many people here, yourself included, are acting as though having “God at the center of your marriage” will somehow ensure longevity. Clearly that is not the case, as the divorce rates for Christians are higher than they are for non-Christians. You are saying that all Christian couples who get divorced are not REALLY Christians because if they were then they would have successful relationships. That is not a logically sound argument, Lisa. You don’t whether or not those couples “followed the teachings of the church.” You literally know nothing about them or their relationships but you are, once again, making assumptions. You’re assuming that they didn’t follow the correct teachings or that their faith was not as strong as it could be or that they lacked the maturity, but you don’t know that. You’re also presuming that the church is giving people good marriage advice to begin with. That was another part of the Barna Research Group’s findings:

        “But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages.”

        So maybe it’s time that Christians and The Church start looking inward and dealing with some of the problems in their own backyards, instead of constantly blaming secular society for their problems. The research shows that secular society is actually doing better than Christians in the area of marriage and family. How do you explain that? Yes, Christians are flawed people, but so is everyone else. But yet Christians are having marriage problems at higher rates than everyone else. Strange phenomenon. And it’s something that I don’t see anyone here dealing with in an honest way.

        • Lisa says:

          You continue to argue against claims never made. Did Matt claim or did I claim that one MUST be Christian to have a good marriage or that non-Christians are unable to do so?

          Didn’t think so. Quit spending so much time arguing about non-existent statements.

      • saratorvik says:

        Lisa, several of your comments have infact made that claim, and so have comments from other people in this post, and Matt himself. You might have not outright claimed it, but you have implied it. You are all blaming “society” and a lack of connection to God for failed marriages but many failed marriages are happening because of Church teachings, not because of society as a whole. Christian Culture sends damaging advice to people about relationships a lot of the time (see hannahdevries comment for details) and it is affect divorce rates. But you people skirt around that issue and blame a secular society that doesn’t understand marriage in the narrowly defined way that you think it should.

        • Lisa says:

          I have control over what I say, not what you extrapolate, imply or assume I meant. Projecting your apparent hostility toward Christianity into a specious argument against statements that were never made is not a very compelling argument against your apparent target.

      • saratorvik says:

        Lisa, you are being dishonest. I can read. I see what people are saying. The consensus seems to be that secular society is what is wrong, and that if people did things in a more traditional and Christian way then their marriages will be stronger. You can try to deny that that is what is being said, but that IS what is being said, by Matt and several others in this post.

        • Lisa says:

          Again you are projecting your erroneous impressions on Matt and other posters. Matt speaks of “serving one another…he serves his wife and she serves him…” yes that is a Christian concept but it is not limited to Christians and certainly Matt has not stated this. Again you have apparently rejected Christianity but I suggest you are not well versed in its teaching as you continue to “argue facts not in evidence” to quote my favorite TV attorney Perry Mason. Quit fighting an enemy that does not exist. You’ll be happier in my opinion.

      • saratorvik says:

        “I’ve been married to my wife for two years so I don’t pretend to be some sort of budding marriage counselor. Still, I know enough to recognize lies when I hear them. I know that we’ve weathered the storms and drawn closer to each other by rejecting virtually every piece of marital “insight” this twisted country has to offer. Particularly because we are Christian and we build the foundation of our marriage in Christ — a strategy that doesn’t gel with current trends.”

        Right there. He pits people who have Christ at the center of their marriages against an entire society that doesn’t. That is just one of several places in this post that set forth a Them Vs. Us mentality. Christians Vs. The Evil Secular Culture that Opposes Christ and Doesn’t Understand Marriage.

        I really don’t understand how you can’t see it.

        • Lisa says:

          No, he said Christian values do not “gel” with our modern society. If you cannot see that, you haven’t been watching the news. Quite reading more into what was said than actually existed.

      • mgh says:

        Lisa, I’m certain that there are core Christian teachings that can help nourish a marriage. Mr Walsh even might have hit on a couple of them. Why he felt it necessary to throw in all of these baseless judgments on society and people in general with such a negative and uncivil tone is beyond me. The message should be serve your spouse. By the end of his post, all I could think was how much Matt Walsh looks down upon everything and everyone that isn’t like him.

        • Lisa says:

          Matt’s judgments are not baseless. All you need to do is look at statistics regarding marriage, single motherhood, increased demand on social services to conclude that marriage is not considered with the seriousness it deserves. As to his hyperbole, that’s why people are reading his posts and not yours or mine. He’s a great wordsmith with a fine turn of phrase, weaving a bit of acerbic humor into a serious subject. I think he’s made an effective argument. YMMV

      • saratorvik says:

        I do not believe that I have read anything into it, but at this point we will have to agree to disagree. We seem to both be reading completely different posts, or at least getting completely different messages from the same post, though I’m hardly the only one who got a very divisive and presumptuous vibe from Matt’s words. Several other people have pointed out the exact same problems with it that I have.

        I also do not see America as rejecting Christian values, rather I largely see Christians in charge of what America’s values are. Most Americans self-identify as Christians and most politicians, at least the Republicans, but also many Democrats,are Christians as well. You have God Bless America on your money. You have Republican senators constantly trying to limit women’s reproductive rights and access to contraception. You have abstinence-only education in public schools. Most states still have no legalized gay marriage. And yet you claim that America rejects Christian values. Interesting. The truth is that America is actually the single most religious first world nation that there is. That is a fact.

        • Lisa says:

          AHA now I realize your agenda. Ohhhh those evil Republicans who want to pull birth control pills out of women’s purses! Yes I’ve seen about as many of them as leprechauns but then when has the truth been a value of the Left? No one wants to take away your pills Sara. I may not want to PAY for them but you are welcome to put them into your body. I have never heard of any Senators or Representatives submitting bills to take out your pills so let not your heart be troubled!

          As to others’ misreading of Matt’s posts or the responses, again I can only control what I say, I cannot control your preconceived notions, your erroneous interpretations or your projected ideologies.

          Stick to the facts and you will have far more success.

      • saratorvik says:

        :Lisa, I have no agenda. You are paranoid. I am merely stating things as I see them. Now like I said, lets agree to disagree. This is going nowhere. We clearly have different views of the world.

        • Lisa says:

          None so blind as those who will not see. Try facts…Would love to get a list of Republicans trying to grab your birth control pills. Would love to see proposed legislation regarding taking away your birth control pills. You have an agenda but no facts to back it up do you?

          As to a different view of the world, I see facts not wild imaginings of Leftists Utopian dreamers. .

      • saratorvik says:

        Lisa, the birth control thing was only one small part of my comment, but yet you seem to have zeroed in on it to the exclusion of everything else. If I am wrong about that one issue, it is only ONE issue. Doesn’t change the fact that America still has the highest number of self-identifying Christians out of any first world countries, doesn’t change the fact that Christian-approved abstinence only classes are a part of many public school curriculums, it doesn’t change the fact that the majority of Americans still oppose same-sex marriage and abortion. These are all things shaped by conservative Christian values, not secular ones.

        • Lisa says:

          Wow you are truly confused. Suggesting teenagers not engage in sexual activity (which may result in pregnancy, HAS resulted in an explosion in STDs) before marriage is limited to those with a Christian perspective? How about a medical doctor’s perspective? Abstinence education does not suggest using chemicals in developing bodies or engaging in dangerous sexual practices. I don’t know what’s radical about letting young people know the health consequences of their actions. It amazes me that rational and well supported theories such as not engaging in sex as single teenagers are considered radical by the Left.

          Don’t even go down the abortion road. I think it is the unwarranted killing of an innocent human being and FWIW I came to that conclusion before I was a Christian. I believed it was a consistent approach to human rights and the right to life is paramount.

          Again your hostility toward Christianity is based on the mistaken impression that someone wants to spoil all your fun. You’re more than welcome to engage in any legal activity or ingest and legal substance in your body. I’d be sorry that you’d make an unhealthy and dangerous choice but as a Christian I realize you have free will.

          God bless.

      • saratorvik says:

        If you want an accurate number, as of 2008, 80% of Americans identify themselves a Christian, while only 20% say they hold no religious affiliation.

        Click to access ARIS_Report_2008.pdf

        Your people are the majority. My people are not.

        • Lisa says:

          Again you argue speciously. No one has claimed otherwise. As to the Christian majority, have any of these “oppressive” Christians dragged you to church? Forced you to listen to sermons? What are these “oppressive” Christians doing that interferes with your life? This is what’s so funny about the Left. They create boogeymen out of thin air.

          Regardless of whether the majority are Christians, our government is secular. There are no state churches such as in Europe. There are no forced attendance in weekly sermons. There are no laws requiring you to be a Presbyterian or to pay a tithe or watch Christian movies. You really need to look for what is really impacting your life in such a detrimental fashion. I just do not think Christians are part of your problems.

      • saratorvik says:

        Abstinence-only education does have a highly religious slant to it. It doesn’t actually teach young people how to have healthy views of their bodies and sex, rather it simply tells them that they are sinners and “damaged goods” if they don’t save sex for marriage. It also has been proven to drastically increase unwanted pregnancies, as teenagers are still engaging in sexual activity, they are just doing it without being truly educated on the subject. Comprehensive sex education is actually the proven way to get young people to make smart choices about their sexual health. Abstinence education does not do that.

        • Lisa says:

          Complete and utter baloney. I am amazed that you never check any sources or provide facts. If you are interested in a very scholarly approach to sexuality from a VERY religious writer, check out John Paull II’s Theology of the Body. There is no talk of people being “dirty” but in fact of their wonderful gift of life. You are really misinformed. Why don’t you do some research instead of spending time repeating falsehoods?.

      • saratorvik says:

        And secular culture does not oppress you either. Nobody is telling you that you can’t go to church, or have the type of marriages or family structures that you want. But yet so many Christians like Matt Walsh seem to have a victim mentality that secular culture is out to get him and destroy Christian values. There are enough Americans out there that hold Christian values, so those values are not going anywhere. The key I guess is to live and let live and not feed the culture war. And yet this blog constantly feeds right into said culture war and Them vs. Us mentality.

        • Lisa says:

          Actually the secular culture does try to force its viewpoint upon religious people and religious groups. One notable example is Obamacare’s HHS Mandate that requires providing contraceptive drugs, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs by organizations and individuals that oppose the use of these drugs and procedures. These organizations are not stopping their employees from accessing abortion inducing drugs. They do not want to be complicit in this evil. Your dogs don’t hunt Sara. You need to do some reading!

      • janaspangler says:

        “However I see you and others arguing against something that was never stated by Matt. It’s a strawman set up to be knocked down. Matt points to the Christian faith that can and has sustained him and many others in marriage. He is not demanding a theocracy as some claim. He is not demanding that everyone join his church, believe its particular teachings.”

        Lisa -I’m not exactly sure what you think I was arguing against. As I said, I actually really do agree with Matt. I just think that in all the back & forth about this “Marriage isn’t for me” post, the uneven situation I brought up hasn’t been discussed. Period. It sounds like maybe you are looking for an argument.

        For the record, I am a believing Christian. I think Matt gives sound advice. I agree with it. I actually shared the “Marriage isn’t for me” post on my FB page. I think it is a message we all need to hear & think about in our society. But I have seen situations where good, Christian people of both genders who have the right attitude & maturity in their hearts marry other Christians who, due to upbringing & other factors, do not have that view and/or skill set. These takers take because of fear and ignorance and brainwashing from our cultural norms – not necessarily because they don’t have a true belief in Christ. I’ve seen the givers give in a marriage until they are a broken shell of their former selves & are left disillusioned wondering why their faith and kind actions has left them empty. For that person, reading the “Marriage isn’t for me blog” can be very painful. I have seen many abandon their faith. Don’t misunderstand me – I think Matt’s message is absolutely sound. There just needs to be a caveat for those who find themselves being taken advantage of (maybe even unintentionally) in their marriage. They need to know that there is a way to give & love & be a Christian & still maintain their self-respect. I suspect these are the people who have been so critical of the “Marriage isn’t for me” post.

        And just one more note. I think that while I don’t necessarily agree with Sara’s world view, I think she makes some valid points. We shouldn’t be afraid to acknowledge those good points. I think that we should strive in our interactions with everyone – believer and non-believer – should remain open and respectful. Frankly, in your interaction with her, It sounds like you are more interested in being right than in really listening to what she is saying. Dialogues like the one you are having with Sara only confirm to her that all Christians are closed-minded jerks who feel they have a monopoly on goodness. I assure you, we don’t. I would prefer to see us all try to bridge the divide & not sound so threatened by someone who doesn’t share our world view.

        • Lisa says:

          Thank you for your thoughtful response. As to my “discussion” with Sara, I have repeatedly asked her for evidence of her rather wild charges “Republicans are taking away my birth control!” or “Abstinence education is filled with degrading moralistic “you are dirty” teaching…” Instead of providing any facts to support her comments, she changes the subject or continues to rail against Christians or makes claims and argues against what wasn’t there.

          I agree with Matt’s premise that for a marriage to succeed both husband and wife must understand the concept of self-giving love. We have a very consumer driven, utilitarian culture. People are discarded because they are no longer useful, they no longer make me happy. Matt points out that if you are married, it’s not all about me, me, ME! You have to think of the other person and in marriage the unique characteristic of this relationship means you will have far more opportunities and challenges than with other friends or family members.

          For some unfathomable reason, the suggestion of husband and wife engaged in unselfish, mutual care and concern is extrapolated to …those darn Christians think they know it all!!!.

          REALLY? I can’t quite connect those dots.

      • mgh says:

        “You really need to look for what is really impacting your life in such a detrimental fashion. I just do not think Christians are part of your problems.”

        If saratorvik shouldn’t blame Christians for her problems (pretty sure she never officially did that), Matt Walsh shouldn’t blame everyone and everything else for why marriages (Christian ones more than any others =P) are failing.

      • saratorvik says:

        Hey, thanks for the support janaspangler! For what it’s worth, I don’t actually think that ALL Christians are close-minded jerks. You alone are proof of that. There is just a certain type of Christian exemplified by the likes of Matt Walsh and our friend Lisa that I do not mesh well with. I think you are correct in pointing out that they are more concerned about being right, than actually listening to what people are saying. But thankfully, they don’t speak for everybody. I love it when people can be civil and get along, even when they don’t agree. So thank you for being an example of that. 🙂

      • saratorvik says:

        And Lisa, even though you keep insisting that I am, I’m not misinformed. Abstinence education does not work. Please take a look at this:


      • saratorvik says:

        I also don’t understand the conservative opposition to Obamacare, truly. I’m actually Canadian (gasp!) and we have a universal health care program in this country. So I really don’t understand all of the fearmongering around it. It’s a wonderful thing for any country that actually cares about it’s citizens and doesn’t have a selfish “me me me!” mentality. A lot of Christians talk about selflessness in marriage but they’re still very selfish on a societal level. Very sad.

        • Lisa says:

          You have the wildest imagination! You are sadly misinformed on Obamacare as well. It doesn’t PROVIDE healthcare, if forces you to BUY healthcare insurance (there is a big difference between providing healthCARE and an insurance card) and as we are learning, sometimes at prices much higher than you were paying previously. People in America do not die in the streets due to lack of healthcare. I work in a Catholic Hospital. There is a directive for Catholic hospitals that NO ONE is turned away. This is not the “emergency room” rule, but that the hospital’s mission is to provide millions of dollars in charity care. Obamacare is simply a wealth transfer and extraction of funds from one group to impart on another. So you can be thrilled to know that at 62 year old man must buy maternity coverage…

          Obamacare has not provided healthcare to anyone. Doctors, nurses, and hospitals provide healthcare. Obamacare has provided a non-functioning website and has resulted in millions losing the policies they had. Boy that’s a real help to the poor!

          I don’t even know where to begin. Truly you are accessing some erroneous information. Also once again changing the subject. Now what was it that Matt said about marriage?

      • saratorvik says:

        And you are WILDLY misinformed about sexual health of adolescence if you think abstinence-only teachings are doing them any good. I will look more closely at Obamacare, but from what I already know if it, it doesn’t seem like the destructive thing that Republicans paint it as. Like I said, I live in Canada, and universal health care has been wonderful for our country. Why Americans oppose it baffles me. But I will do further research to see if what you say is true, if you are open-minded about the information I have provided about abstinence.

        • Lisa says:

          Why do you persist in arguing against something I DIDNT say? You need to read more carefully. I did not say abstinence only education but simply noted that your description of this approach is wildly exaggerated. Actually much to the chagrin of the Left, there was a study indicating abstinence education was quite effective. I will check out the citation but I remember thinking this will put the Leftists into apoplexy.

      • saratorvik says:

        Lisa, would you perhaps be able to provide me with a non-biased source about Obamacare? I’d like to get a fuller picture about it.

      • saratorvik says:

        Lisa, I will give you one thing. You are VERY good at ignoring all the points I make and sources I cite and making it seem like everything I say is stupid and exaggerated. I know for a fact that this type of stuff does happen in abstinence classes because I have read and talked to people who have been through those programs. They have told me that a huge part of it was an emphasis on a Christian worldview that was very shame-based. “Damaged goods” was literally what my one friend’s teacher told her and her classmates they would be if they had sex outside of the confines of marriage. These types of teachings DO exist, and you shoving you fingers in your ears and insisting that I’m lying or misinformed will not make that true. They are real and they are impacting real lives.

        If you don’t want to provide me with info about Obamacare, fine. It’s just that you seem to know a lot about it. And you have gotten on my case for not citing sources about what I’m saying. And yet you keep doing the same. You obviously are critical about Obamacare, but you won’t provide any unbiased sources to back up your claims.

        • Lisa says:

          You have yet to supply a single source other than anecdotes and your opinion. The point about abstinence classes was that you again overstated what was said. No one said they were the ONLY way to educate youth about sexual activity and no one said that they were ALL devoid of religious overtones. You consistently set up strawmen and then sit back satisfied that you’ve set them ablaze or change the subject. Heavens…how come we’re talking about abstinence classes for single teens in response to a blog post about marriage? Because you continued to obfuscate.

          At to Obamacare, I suspect there are no unbiased sources. I’m a professional who works in healthcare finance and so I have followed the progression of this law from the early days. The problem with Obamacare is that it does not address the supposed problems: high cost and barriers to accessing healthcare. It was a thinly veiled power grab that has so many perverse incentives that I’m shocked the backlash was so long in coming. As you are Canadian you have little understanding of how our system operates. Before Obamacare the vast majority of Americans were not only covered by health insurance but were satisfied with their plans. There WERE outliers such as those who had serious pre-existing conditions and needed INDIVIDUAL health insurance. This is a TINY cadre of Americans and could easily have been dealt with through high risk pools such as many states already established. Many of the people without health insurance CHOSE not to buy it. For a healthy young person, it’s easier to play healthcare roulette and not pay for insurance knowing that if an emergency strikes you CAN get care. People do not die in the streets because hospitals will not admit them without proof of ability to pay. If you’ve heard this you have been misinformed.

          But back to the perverse incentives: employers were encouraged to terminate or reduce hours so they would not be subject to the mandates (which have been delayed), people who were responsible and HAD health insurance they liked have been terminated from their plans and forced to pay more for coverage they do not want or need (the 50 year old man who has to pay for maternity care and pediatric dentistry). many insurance companies have pulled out of the markets they formerly covered because the mandates make the policies unaffordable. Obamacare discourages people from getting healthcare insurance because the penalties are so low…once again people play roulette.

          Although I am clearly biased and detest Obamacare as NOT providing care to anyone but in fact spending BILLIONS on administrative costs, marketing, and attorneys, the above are facts and can easily be verified.

          The road to hell is paved with good intentions and I think some of the people THOUGHT Obamacare would actually result in what the President promised. They were naive unfortunately and didn’t actually READ what the bill said. Thus many Senators and Representatives are scrambling furiously to distance themselves from the debacle.

      • janaspangler says:

        Sara – I’ll take a stab at the Obamacare question. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a Republican, albeit a very moderate one. I have been a SAHM for 10 years, but before that, my career was in health insurance. I did everything from paying claims, customer service, account management, underwriting and health data analysis. I can’t speak for most Republicans because I think most are misinformed about the problems with Obamacare. Of course, I also think most Democrats are misinformed as well.

        I have huge problems with Obamacare. I do not have problems with universal healthcare, but I do not want a single payer system – mainly because I do not trust that the American government is capable of delivering a quality product. They have never failed to fail at making government programs efficient, well-run or consumer friendly, i.e. the DMV, post office, social security, welfare programs, Medicare & Medicaid to name a few. In my experience, the private market does all of these things much better.

        I think that the way we do employer-sponsored healthcare is a train wreck. It was an unintended consequence of tax laws in the 1930’s. It’s terrible. I think that universal coverage is the way to go, but the way they crafted Obamacare is going to result in an even bigger train wreck.

        Insurance only works when you have a sustainable pool. The healthy people subsidize the unhealthy people with their premiums. If you have a large enough employer group, the pool works. If you had a universal pool, it would also work. Obamacare has been set up to attract an unhealthy pool only. In addition it has mandated coverage that not everyone needs. For instance, I have an individual plan because my husband is self-employed. We have chosen a plan with no maternity or mental health coverage because surgery has rendered both of us unable to reproduce & we’re willing to go without mental health coverage to save some premium. Under Obamacare, when my policy renews, I will be forced to pay for both of these coverages – neither of which we want or need.

        Premiums in the individual market have already gone through the roof. Employers will face the same problems due to coverage mandates when they are forced to comply in a year. Major employers are already dropping coverage for their employees in anticipation or are only hiring part-time employees for whom they don’t have to provide coverage. The biggest losers will be small employers with roughly 50-400 employees. Their insurance rates will be astronomical and they will not have the freedom to tailor more catastrophic plans for their employees that would help mitigate the cost. All of this will cause a huge strain on our already lackluster economy.

        If we want needed healthcare reform that is sustainable, we need to let the states run their own universal pools like Massachusetts did years ago. The entire US is too big to manage well. Our federal government is inept at running programs. And I’m guessing that the people who designed Obamacare were either a) ideologues who haven’t a clue about what the unintended consequences of their ideas are or b) people who know exactly what they were doing and were trying to make something that was unsustainable to blow up the system and force us into a single payer system.

        Enough already. Not clear on how I got to this discussion on a blog about marriage 🙂 I hope that gives you some insight into the objections to Obamacare. Despite the rhetoric from liberals, republicans are not opposed to all things because they are selfish rich people who don’t care about others. Some of us just really believe that competition & the free market are the best way to create good products & services for consumers.

      • saratorvik says:

        Lisa, all of the sources that I have cited for you are not “antidotes” but instead they are peer-reviewed research. They present no clear agenda but rather present facts. Sorry that that’s not good enough for you but that’s all I can do.

        As to how this discussion got started, I was trying to show that America clearly had Christian values, as Matt Walsh is constantly stating, as did in this blog post, that American society is completely devoid of Christian values. He pits Christians against the rest of society. And I’m trying to show that Christianity is a PART of society. Things that Christians value are a clear PART of the fabric of American society. Things got a little off track, but it’s still relevant.

        Thanks for explaining more about Obama. I will think about what you and janaspangler have said.

  46. Jason Smith says:

    That’s not true. My wife and I have been married for 17 years. We have 4 awesome kids and got married at 20. People just have to be willing to work at it.

  47. JThompson says:

    Matt Walsh, you are one smart guy! I love this blog but I love this post most of all!


  48. hannadevries says:

    Things evangelical culture taught me about marriage: When you’re 20 or so, you will meet the future spouse God intended for you. Make sure you don’t enter into a relationship with anyone until you’re really sure that they are The One, because every failed relationship will leave you a little bit more broken and less able to love your future spouse as fully as they deserve. Then, when you’ve awkwardly and at a safe distance from each other figured out that you’re indeed Meant To Be, get married as soon as possible.

    Things actually wise people (both Christian and non-Christian) taught me about marriage: if you cannot love yourself, it’s extremely hard to love someone else. You cannot expect someone else to provide you with confidence and self-respect, to fix your brokenness, or to make you into a whole person. If this is your expectation of marriage, you’re in for a hard time. Waiting until you’re a mature adult before getting married isn’t about putting yourself first, it’s about learning to be a whole person on your own (and about taking the time to find your identity as a unique person created in God’s image, rather than trying to find it prematurely in another human being). Failed relationships hurt, but they don’t define you and can be very valuable experiences.

    And, most importantly, things No One Ever actually taught me: Marriage doesn’t mean anything! Get married and divorced on a whim if you like!

    I appreciate your sentiments about marriage and I think they’re largely true, but the stark dichotomy between church and world that you present here simply does not exist. Society has told me many toxic things about relationships, but so have Christians (perhaps the ‘Christian’ advice was even more toxic because it was presented as God’s will and the only true and holy way of doing things)! Christians have taught me very valuable things about relationships (I, too, look to my parents and parents-in-law as great examples of good marriages, even though I acknowledge that it might’ve been wiser for my parents to wait a couple more years before having children), but so have non-Christians! It’s completely unfair to paint ‘the world’ as some terrible, terrible place with the Church shining as the last beacon of sanity. It makes you come across as a weird, Quixotic dude, fighting nonexistent windmills and, in the process, totally alienating the culture you purport to address.

  49. Sara says:

    My husband and I adopted a motto very early in our marriage, “There’s no way out so work it out”. Thank you Lou Holtz for those words of wisdom!

  50. The Mommy says:

    A few years ago, I did the Love Dare – and while it was truly a marriage changing ordeal, right now the primary thing that I remember is that love is a choice. A CHOICE (Guess that makes me pro-choice? Kidding…). Every.single.day I have to CHOOSE to love my husband. Incidentally, even though the love I have for my children is unconditional, I still have to CHOOSE to act on that love in the right way. Every day. Folks who say they don’t want to change when they get married are missing the point. You automatically change – from a single person to a spouse – and that has consequences to who you are. I, personally, think that a lot of the problem in society as a whole stems from the glamorous lifestyle of Hollywood – how many times have you read about a rich and famous couple who divorced because the spark was no longer there? Guess what? Buy a matchbook and light it up, people! You make the choice to let it die. And it IS a choice. Sometimes they’ll say, “It just got too hard. Love isn’t supposed to be hard.” Who ever told you that? It’s VERY hard – and it’s hard work, too! But it is so, SO worth it. You get out of a marriage exactly what you put into it – if you put your heart and soul (and a fair amount of effort) into honoring and cherishing and loving your spouse, the dividends will astound you. And that is also the best gift you can give to your children – they learn by example. That doesn’t mean every day will be picture-perfect (for God’s sake, why can’t he just put the dishes into the dishwasher the RIGHT WAY?!?!) but most of the time it will work out in the end.

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