Thursday, February 9, 2012

Godly Gals ~ Real Women, Real Life, Real Faith, Marriage Boundaries by Ava Pennington

Marriage Boundaries
By: Ava Pennington

A television station recently aired episodes from a 1960s program called “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” The airings are in honor of the 50th anniversary of the series.

It’s fun to watch old programs that chronicle a simpler time. Valuing faith and family was the norm, and right and wrong were clearly defined – or at least more clearly identified than they are today. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t look at that time as the “good old days.” There was a lot wrong about those days, too.

Still, we laugh now at the crises dealt with on some of the programs from the 50s and early 60s. “Father Knows Best,”“The Dick Van Dyke Show,”“Leave it to Beaver” – simple shows that are the video equivalent of comfort food. Nothing controversial. Bud had a crush on a girl at school. Laura dyed her hair blond. Beaver feared a visit to the dentist. Not exactly earth shattering topics.

Yet decades after I first saw the program, the best analogy about marriage I ever heard came from an episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” In this particular episode, Rob Petrie has a conversation with a friend who boasts about his playboy lifestyle. The friend insisted that marriage is nothing more than a relational prison. Rob thinks about it for a moment, and then responds. I don’t have the precise quote, but the following is a paraphrase:

“To some people, the boundaries of marriage are like the fence around a prison. The fence keeps everything that is good and pleasurable outside – out of reach. But to me, the boundaries of marriage are like the fence surrounding Disneyland. That fence holds in everything that is good, fun, enjoyable, and pleasurable.”

This doesn’t mean every marriage or every spouse is perfect.Far from it.At times I share Ruth Bell Graham’s view of marriage and divorce. When asked by a reporter if she had ever considered divorcing Billy Graham, her answer was, “Divorce? No. Murder? Yes.” I can appreciate Ruth’s response, and I’m sure my husband has felt the same way on occasion!

But marriage isn’t just a good idea. It’s a picture of the relationship between Christ and His church. We are promised to Him (II Corinthians 11:2). The church is referred to as the “bride of Christ” (Revelation 19:7; 21:9; 22:17). Finally, this relationship is eternal –we will be with Him forever (I Thessalonians 4:17).

Rob Petrie may be a fictional character, but perhaps if more of us took Rob’s view of marriage, we’d be less likely to fall for “the grass is always greener” syndrome. And maybe, until we get to heaven, we’d find ourselves spending less time in prison and more time in Disneyland.

What do you think?

Ava Pennington is the author of One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God (Revell, 2010) and co-author of Faith Basics for Kids (Standard Publishing, January 2011). She is also a passionate speaker and teacher. She is married to the love of her life for 32 years and she is "mom" to two rescue boxers who have trained her well! Check out her blog found on her website

Ava, it is so good to have you back. Back in December 2010 you stopped by and shared with my friends "Is God Ever Not Good?" and I remember reading your post and nodding my head in agreement with you...much like today. You have great insight on the simple things in life, and that sweet Ava, is a gift. Thank you for sharing your gift with us!

My friends...each of you has a story to tell.

Something God is doing in your life that you know that you know that you know is special and others need to hear about. This is a perfect place to show God in your everyday, ordinary life in action. That's the heart of Godly Gals ~ Real Women, Real Life, Real Faith.

I would love for you to consider sending something in to share. You can take the first step just by emailing me at melsworldministry {at} gmail {dot} com and I'll send you a set of the submission guidelines and we'll get to talking about what comes next. It's that easy!

I look forward to hearing from you soon!
~ Melissa

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