Is Marriage Bondage or Freedom?

4 Jul

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What a question! Yet asked by so very many every day. Am I a slave or free? An answer we should all know, but yet we ask?

In truth we are always free because only a free person can enter into marriage, but how do you feel? Well that answer depends on the relationship you have with your spouse, and that is largely in your hands. I’ll explain…

As for men, we may find ourselves asking if we are being taken for granted just as often as our partners, which might come as a surprise to them. We generally toil at our labors to support and provide for our wives, our children, and even our children’s children – seemingly harnessed like a domesticated animal until death. Putting aside our personal feelings whenever they might interfere with our ability to provide. Often performing labor we detest because we need to provide, and seeking refuge and respite in the home and the affection of our wives when our labors are complete for the day.

Our wives could see it differently. They are left to deal with the home and children alone. They suffer every bit the indignity and revulsion one can imagine in our absence, cleaning up the remains from the overflowed toilet. Caring for sick children who soil linens repeatedly through no fault of their own. Cleaning a home in a never ending pattern, knowing that their labor will be eternal because the activities of life do not permit otherwise. Today’s society, and in some cases materialism and greed, has left many wives further overburdened by the need to work outside the home instead of making a choice to do so. Creating a situation where there is simply not enough of her to go around over the long haul.

There is a difference though, when a man returns home he expects that his labors are over and that he may rest. A wife’s labors continue until her family is safely asleep. Then they begin again, at first light if not sooner.

Now, you both enter into this arrangement knowing what was expected of you but not quite realizing how hard it would be or how different it would be from dating. It can be a huge letdown to toil in that manner as a man or a woman simply because it is expected from you. Just as when dating we both seek the affection, approval, affirmations, and attention of our spouses. In fact, those needs only increase after marriage because they are part of the expectations as well. You had your view of what married life would be and she had hers. Of course, if children were produced then both of your whole worlds and expectations got turned upside down overnight. Just as you wish to be appreciated for you labors and accomplishments, remember to appreciate hers. Truth be known, hers is by far the more important and difficult job.

Marriage is a symbiosis in all aspects – even sex, which seems to be the source of so much consternation in marriage. The trick here is to not be selfish, either of you. Your wife is a human being and not a machine, she needs a break from the continual effort and chaos from time to time, and that does not mean a quickie in the hall closet with the kids beating on the door. Though she does need diversions and to feel desirable, loved, and wanted. I think acts of spontaneous passion are good more for her self esteem than anything. No matter how inflated your ego, 5 mins in a closet will either whet her appetite or disappoint her and leave her feeling used. She will decide which based on what you have taught her to expect, hopefully she has high expectations. One must realize that this constitutes what I call a 68′, that’s where she takes care of you, and you owe her one. Make sure that you make arrangements for a babysitter and a nice dinner out with a movie or other activity to ensure that in your next interlude the focus is completely on her for several hours. Instead of a cycle of conflict which escalates – start a cycle of bonding which escalates. If you approach her with a sense of entitlement she will quickly feel used and resentful. This can happen to men too, as anyone who’s had difficulty with conception and had their sex life dictated by thermometers and charts can attest. Performing on command is fine and even exciting on rare occasions but very quickly can transform sex from your greatest tool for both joy and bonding into a crowbar of resentment and drudgery which will pry you apart. If nothing else just imagine what a 68′ from her will be like and start an arms race to see who can outdo the other in returning affection within the marriage covenant. Such a sexual relationship will invariably lead to a deeper bond, variety and exploration, and dramatically changed moods and attitudes towards each other – including making infidelity unthinkable enough that the thought doesn’t even enter either mind.

Affection is the same, and should be given and received outside of sex for the relationship to thrive. Woe to the man whose spouse shies from a kiss because she is not receptive to a sexual encounter at that moment. It is very important for you to ensure that she doesn’t ever feel that your love and affection are dependent on her sexual performance. It demeans you both, and leads down a destructive path. She must know that you feel affection for her even when you have no interest in sex. Public displays of affection are good because they let your spouse know that you are proud to proclaim you affection and love publicly (but not lewdly). Though it may fluster you sometimes, there is nothing like being really kissed and told you are loved by a whisper in a public place by your wife. Kiss her back, there is also no shame in the natural physical response, it lets her know she is still attractive and boosts her self esteem too. In this way you can feed each other and kindle feelings that eventually build to a crescendo like keeping a sauce on simmer.

Friendship is the most important aspect of your marriage. If your spouse is not your best friend then your priorities are wrong. You may have a same sex friend or other friends – but your spouse needs to be your confidant. Trust her with your secrets, your hopes, your fears, your dreams. This will help her better understand you and lead to her feeling like she can trust you. Never judge each other when you open up. Next put into action plans for her thoughts and dreams to become reality, whether its learning to fly a plane, operate a ham radio, go back to school, etc… If it’s important to her, it should be important to you. Whether you are able to succeed or not in helping her achieve these dreams, she will never again see you as holding her back from them. She will instead see you as a partner helping her achieve them, and hopefully she will do the same for you.

This is the beginning of symbiosis – where we give freely to our spouse that which they require not only physically to survive, but to really live. The irony is that this will require greater and greater sacrifices from each of you to accommodate the other. There is a transition period which can sink you if you allow hopelessness or despair to prematurely derail your efforts. It is on you to persevere, the time required will depend on how much damage you have already done and the length of time it takes her to trust in you and in the seeming change in you. She may be suspicious or worse – be honest and show her this blog. Explain yourself honestly, deception will erase your gains and more, if she knows what you are trying to do she might even join in up front – speeding the process. Be patient, trust takes time as does true love.

A symbiosis is not slavery, a symbiosis is a relationship where you give and receive from each other those things essential to our survival and happiness in this life. If you have a marriage where you have felt this you’ll understand how you can feel like you could never leave, and nor would you ever want to. It is not bondage but deep and abiding love which joins you and you are not a slave – but a willing servant who gives of freely yourself to ensure the happiness and well being of another who does the same for you.

You are always free. Free to break your covenant with God and your Spouse. Free to break your family apart out of selfishness and greed, and you a free to choose to keep those Covenants, free to sacrifice of yourself for your wife and family, free to make your marriage into a place of refuge and joy apart from the world – insofar as that is possible. Marriage makes you a willing servant, not a slave – and is a Holy calling to be carried out in according to Christ’s example, even unto death.

There is a book out I very much like called “The Love Dare”. It is FREE on kindle today and can be downloaded here Get The Love Dare FREE on the 4th for Kindle. If your marriage is hurting, this can be just the medicine it needs. What have you got to loose. This book is for either partner in the marriage.

Colin Corcoran
cc70458@gmail.com

**Please feel free to write or comment on this post, I’d really like to hear from those that are able to have this experience and how it is changing their marriage, their wives, and their lives.

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