A few years back on one of our weekly date nights, my wife and I were watching the movie “Water for Elephants”. As we were watching, I was reminded of how distorted relationships can be in our romanticized culture today.

If you haven’t seen the movie, the main story line is about an attractive young man (Jacob) who is left broke and homeless after his parents’ untimely death. These events lead him to joining the circus as a vet where he would find himself working under an unstable and abusive boss by the name of August. August is Married to an attractive woman named Marlena who quickly becomes the apple of Jacob’s eye. I will spare you what happens in the movie in case you haven’t seen it, but you can imagine how a love triangle unfolds pretty quickly in this story.

I found myself toward the end of the movie rooting for Marlena to find true love. It was then that I found myself sucked in to the romanticized culture called Hollywood! Then I asked myself, what am I thinking! I was shocked at how easily one can be torn between two perspectives in a “love story” and root for immorality to win. That’s when I meditate on the following scripture:

‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ‘ Romans 12:2

With today’s divorce rate at approximately 50% percent for first marriages, 67% for second and 74% for third marriages, I believe that this romanticized culture has gotten the best of today’s marriage. Couples need to spend time looking at what is important in keeping marriage fresh and alive, not from a Hollywood standpoint, but from a truth standpoint! This following statement is a call to action for all of the individuals who have given themselves to another person in the commitment of marriage or plan to give themselves to another person in the future.

Your marriage relationship can only be as healthy as the most unhealthy person in it!

There is a great mystery in relationships that people have attempted to figure out throughout time. It’s the mystery of how to make a marriage work. With the high rate of divorce in our country, it looks as if this mystery remaining to stay a mystery. If anything, it seems to be becoming more convoluted. I have heard statements such as, “once you are married life is over”, or “as long as I say yes dear, we will have a happy marriage”. You can fill in the blanks with your favorite statement that you have been told or that you are guilty of saying yourself. The bottom line is, some marriages have unrealistic expectations that keep them stuck in a marital rut. I believe that a lot of those unrealistic expectations are so subtly displayed to us in our media-driven world that sometimes we are not even aware of what we are consuming.

Attempting to make “two people” work in relationship when the individuals in the marriage haven’t learned to make “themselves” work, makes it a daunting task. For many relationships, the belief is that “I have to give up me in order to be loved by the other person.” This creates a codependency in the relationship that causes an imbalance between our need for freedom and the need for emotional bonding in the marriage.

The mystery can be defined as a spiritual truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand. It is further defined as a profound, inexplicable, or secretive quality or character. Defining who we are as an individual and attempting to understand the combining of two people in a relationship further complicates the process of being able to comprehend the mystery of two becoming one. Without Jesus in the mix, we cannot fully understand the mystery of a marriage, nor can we fully understand the mystery of ourselves.

We created The Intentional Marriage, to guide couples through a process of coming together to create a dynamic marriage that reflects God’s true intention for marriage. What steps are you going to take today in order to improve your marriage for tomorrow? Are you going to buy in to Hollywood or are you going buy in to truth?