Someone mentioned the idea of marriage insurance to me recently in the context of a discussion about the value of marriage for our society. It struck a chord and got me thinking.
Marriage is a fundamentally good thing for the world. Even a cursory glance at the research reveals this truth in an overwhelming manner. However, because marriage has been around for millennia it has that kind of “obviousness” which means it can be easily taken for granted.
When I was working in family therapy I would sometimes provide counselling to couples whose marriages where in crisis, or had sadly ended. In the vast majority of these situations a very similar experience was described.
While not in any way minimising the impact of major incidents of betrayal or abuse, which are sometimes a part of the experience, clients would almost always talk about the incremental, slow, and almost hidden way, in which their marriages got into trouble.
It was the everyday decisions, which seemed inconsequential at the time, which formed a part of a steady trajectory of not protecting and not nurturing the marriage relationship. Over years, this resulted in the relationship becoming starved of life or the resilience it needed to survive a major incident.
After 15 years of marriage I know it to be the greatest treasure in my life. However, I also know my own capacity to take my marriage for granted.
I am blessed with a wonderful marriage relationship with Branka, and we get on well and enjoy each other’s company, however I am aware that this can lead to a false sense of security.
While I am intentional about investing in having house insurance, car insurance and health insurance, how intentional am I about investing in insurance for my marriage? Recently I had a wonderful opportunity to be reminded about this in a very unique context.
This year Archbishop Christopher Prowse asked Branka and I to represent the Archdiocese at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September. While we were deeply honoured and delighted to be asked to do this, we realised that it meant being away from our four young children for two weeks. We wrestled with the emotional and practical requirements of this, and with lots of encouragement from family and friends we left them behind and joined the Australian group for a two-week pilgrimage, which culminated with a weekend with Pope Francis.
While we would have loved for our children to have had the pilgrimage experience with the other families, we also quickly realised the incredible gift we had with being on pilgrimage together, just as a couple, for two weeks. Suddenly in our crazy busy lives we had these two weeks where we were able to pray together, experience pilgrimage, see the Pope and just spend time reconnecting in our marriage.
The time together, with many opportunities to learn from world leaders on marriage and family was a powerful renewal. What a unique gift at this stage of life for us, and what a powerful reminder for us about our need to find ways to keep this type of investment up in our day-to-day lives.
If you are interested in exploring some powerful ideas for how to go about doing this in your marriage then I would highly recommend the resource from the Marriage Resource Centre called “The Ambitious Couple” (Info: here)