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17.05.2018

Day One | Connecting with Culture

It will be hard to miss the social event of this weekend, even if you want to.

Whether tomorrow has you rolling out the bunting or avoiding the coverage to go to Legoland (the least busy place in Windsor), the majority of the UK will be watching Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get married.

In some respects, this wedding is entirely different to those happening the world over: a budget of millions; a guest list of royals and A-list celebrities; and the fact the bride won’t just look like a princess, she’ll be marrying an actual Prince. Yet in other ways, it is just the same: two people committing to spend their lives honouring, looking after, and loving one another.

Christians believe that marriage reflects the relationship God makes with his people, and his promise of commitment to us. He never wavers, never changes his mind, and never betrays us. While marriage is an earthly reflection of God’s relationship with us, it is also made up of two fallible humans. None of those who enter marriage plan to divorce, and no marriage is immune from difficulties and challenges. It’s a dangerous myth that Christian marriages, built as they hopefully are on a ‘three stranded cord’ (Ecclesiastes 4:12), will somehow avoid difficulties or divorce.

We have all fallen short of the glory of God. To expect perfection in a marriage partner and marriage will lead to disappointment. Christian faith may have positive implications for a marriage, but it is not a fail-safe. Upholding and praying for the choice and commitment people make in marriage is something we can all do, and doesn’t have to stop on the wedding day. Spending time with couples talking over dinner or board games, investing in them with a voucher for a night out, or making a babysitting offer to free them up for an evening together are all ways to support them and to grow in understanding how we can better pray for and encourage their particular marriage.

So, as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle marry tomorrow, and you set your alarm to watch the early morning coverage or to mute all media outlets, let us be praying for their relationship as well as honouring, supporting, and upholding marriages close to us. The wedding is simply day one; marriage is every day after.

Ruth Clements

Ruth works in heritage education and attends ChristChurch London. She writes and blogs at www.theentiretyoflife.wordpress.com and hopes one day to be a published author.

Author

Ruth Clements

Comments

  1. I am a tiny bit disappointed about the datedness of this piece. Board games?? Babysitting? Gone are the days when just anyone…be it a ‘nice’ person from the church or not, might be allowed to babysit. Couples are far more aware of danger and have familiarisation session. Small children can no longer be assumed to stay in bed, probably asleep while parents are out. This touches on huge parenting issues now. The author, while I am sure well intentioned in her plea for generosity, does not seem to understand how the world works for young couples. We need to find better ways.

    By Ruth Brothwell - 18th May 2018
  2. I disagree with Ruth Brothwell’s comment. Board games are increasingly popular in many circles: my wife and I play board games as one of our “together” couple activities. Babysitting does not have to mean that children stay in bed, and if offered by friends of the couple (who know what it entails e.g. getting the kids into bed and off to sleep), the offer can be really welcome. I accept that parents are all different and there are many approaches and difficulties; but just because the author mentions a couple of things that don’t fit your own parenting approach, doesn’t mean that this is dated.

    I found the piece helpful, relevant, and it resonated beautifully with my own experiences of having to work at my marriage – which, after a difficult first couple of years and a lot of work, is now strong and strengthening, as we approach our 10 year anniversary. Thank you Ruth Clements for highlighting the truth that marriage has to be worked at.

    By Chris Dube - 18th May 2018
  3. I can see that Ruth Brothwell reflects from her own experience and her contribution welcome. She perhaps is showing the future for those of us who are perhaps less urbanised. Board Game cafe’s are just taking off here in Belfast and it is a delight to see families putting mobile phones on hold and actually enjoy their relationship.
    I am dated because I still have a landline. However there is no logical reason to keep it as both my wife and myself have mobile phones. I will be getting it disconnected soon but I grieve in my mind because when someone rings even the act of handing the phone to my wife allowed me to ask afterwards if all is ok?
    A way to keep connected as form of investment as Ruth Clements says. I think that individualism is the goal concept from all areas of marketing and even the notion of having to “compromise” on your own goals feeds the idea that a man and woman when married do not become one flesh. So marketing/consumerism choice, metaphorically tears the very flesh off us.
    The idea of selfless love demands that Christians seek ways to be relevant to married couples (any ideas Ruth B?). So timely comments from both Ruth’s and also from Chris too. Thanks Y’All

    By John from Belfast - 18th May 2018
  4. A great article intended to focus on helping couples keep the romance and togetherness alive. Yes indeed board games are becoming popular again. And of course its important to focus on the way each household runs. Some children may have freedoms others dont, so we go with whatever is right for that household. But yes, lets be aware of the need for couples to enjoy time together and see how we can help.

    By Jean Sheehan - 18th May 2018
  5. I don’t think the author was for one moment suggesting that you should get any old person to babysit for you so you can have a night out. She was suggesting that it is a way that family and friends can support a married couple, so that they can get some all important child free time together. It really isn’t just a modern problem for young couples of today – no right thinking parent from previous generations would leave their children with someone they didn’t know well, but in the same token, it’s not necessary to have a DBS check for everyone who enters your house – common sense and your own wisdom should prevail. And yes, we still play board games!!

    By Rowena Selwood - 18th May 2018
  6. A little disappointing for LICC, run-of-the-mill than thought-provoking.

    By Celia - 19th May 2018
  7. This is a very good piece, Ruth C. Ruth B clearly writes from her own experience which is of course valid and informative, but, as with other personal experience, not necessarily of general application. But ‘datedeness’ does not equate to ‘irrelevance’. After all, the Bible is dated but hardly irrelevant!. It is very much alive and contemporarily relevant. Those of us fortunate to be parents have developed our own parental ways and support networks, making our own mistakes on the way. I’m now very blessed to be a grandfather of two young grandsons. With my wife, we ‘babysit’ our grandsons. And with our daughter & son-in-law, we play many board (and other) games with the boys. It works for us, but may not work for others.

    By David Henderson - 19th May 2018
  8. Thank you, Ruth, for this thoughtful writing on marriage, reminding us that marriage was instituted by God and reflects His relationship with His people and His promise of commitment to us. May we grow in seeing our marriages as a cord of three and submissively depend upon Him to honor, look after, and love our spouses as He would enable us to do. Moreover, thank you for your strong reminder and admonition to be intentional and practical in supporting, praying for, and encouraging the marriages around us. May marriage, which often has trials and stress, reflect the glory of the One who created it and may we all look for and take opportunities to build up one another.

    By Jane Smith - 19th May 2018

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