The Evolution of Marriage

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            I am currently working as a tutor for science classes at a couple of colleges. One of the courses I am tutoring is on evolution. As any good tutor, I stick to the facts as they are laid out in the text book. As a born again Christian, I secretly take exception to some of the content. As a scientist, I can see the logic of evolutionary theory. I know enough to realize that, there are significant holes no matter what you believe. In other words, my list of questions for God is growing.

            One part of evolutionary theory beyond debate is micro-evolution. That is, those small changes that occur from generation to generation which, in an ever changing environment, help make survival possible. It is my belief that, in a similar manner, marriages evolve. In marriage, of course we are not talking generational changes, but time periods within the marriage. Just as survival of a species depends on small changes so does the survival of a marriage. Many changes are too small to recognize as they happen, but over time, make a huge difference.

            When Crystal and I were first married, I thought I would never find anyone more compatible. We had a lot in common and liked a lot of the same things. We were both considerate and giving. Our marriage was a blessing from God. How could anything ever happen to test that bond?

            Then life happened. We both worked and rushed around in a hectic fashion. Obligations with friends, family, and jobs interfered. We both went into marriage with expectations. We soon realized that, growing up in different families, we had a number of areas of differing expectations. There were issues to resolve, and challenges to meet. About that time we were active in the United Methodist Church. We met an older couple, Van and Eloise. We bounded with them immediately. I would talk to Van and Crystal had a lot in common with Eloise. They invited us to their house for a meal or to just visit. I was amazed at how well they got along and how at peace they appeared to be. They made it sound like they were at peace and never had a problem in the world. Outside of their age, they had everything I had always hoped we would have in marriage.

            As for our marriage, after five years, and a lot of dealing with jobs, health issues, and family issues, our communications had improved. Going to marriage counselors, reading books about improving our marriage, and watching TV shows that concentrated on marital problems and solutions helped.  We were starting to get the hang of things.  We also tried to have a date every week even if it was just going for a walk. 

 Then we started our family. At first everything was great. Soon however, stresses became bigger. Now every decision involved other human beings. At each stage of their development came new challenges and obligations. The phrase ‘not knowing if I am coming or going’ now made perfect sense.

            Somehow we survived those days. Today, life seems relatively simple. Two, out of our three, daughters are out of the house, living independently. The third has one foot on the doorstep. What I find interesting, and somewhat amusing, is that now we are the older couple with that unexplained peaceful appearance. My oldest daughter calls us in a state of panic asking for our advice about the stresses she and her husband are going through. We do our best to give sage, God centered, advice. In the back of my head, though I always think, this is just something she has to go through. It is part of the evolution of her marriage. Of course, nowadays, many people aren’t willing to wait, or work on a marriage enough to break through to the better part. I consider this a great loss on both an individual and societal basis.

Where we are now, while not perfect, is good enough to make the struggles worth going through. For those who are in the rapidly changing part of their marriages the best thing I can tell you is, hang in there, ‘this too shall pass.’

Crystal’s Corner:  Marriage is like a Plant

            I am not scientific like Ron. I am more artistic and down to earth. I think marriage is like a plant. It starts out as a seedling and looks very promising.  Then it grows and love blooms into a beautiful flower like a rose.  But of course there is drought and weeds and other problems that need attention.  This is like in marriage there are problems: he wants to do his sports activities when you want to go to a play.  He wants to spend too much time with his parents and friends and you want to be alone with him at home.  His work is upsetting and your work is going nowhere. It takes a lot of growth to keep the plant alive and some of the time it looks droopy.  But it can bloom again and again if you keep finding ways to nurture it.  So it is true with marriage.  I am not an athlete but I did play tennis and tried to downhill ski. Well at least I tried. However, we both like miniature golf and walks in the woods.  He doesn’t quilt or embroider but he has helped drag all of my quilting supplies to workshops and classes I taught, and shows where I displayed my work.  He also drops me off at a National Quilt show and comes back to pick me up and take me out to a nice dinner.  You learn how to support and encourage each other and this is the boost your marriage plant needs and thrives on.

            I won’t talk about evolution because I am a creationist and only like the cave paintings not the cavemen. But I do agree that marriage can evolve if given the best efforts of both marriage partners.  Let the sun shine on your marriage and it will grow just like a lovely pink rose.



Yes they’re turtles. I had to use something for evolution!

Category: Make Marriage Last

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