Somewhat comical, I have the worst time with marriage bloggers, marriage authors, a number of attempted contacts perhaps approaching triple digits at this point. Not all are bad, not all have been disastrous. Okay, 3 are not bad. Three out of a hundred have resulted in something positive….
That is so tragic one simply must descend into some gallows humor here. America has a marriage crisis and no, I am not at all surprised. To make matters worse, half the experts out there trying to help, well, I would divorce them outright, and then drag their clothes out into the middle of the street and set them on fire, all while gleefully posting the photos on facebook.
Does that sound harsh? I think not. I never claimed to be nice anyway, “nice” being a word whose origins actually lurk in the root words for “outright stupid.” Now “kind” I strive for with varying levels of success, but never “nice.” Citizen Tom actually inspired me to research the word “nice,”and I am most appreciative of the chuckle, because I’ve never really liked the word. Honestly, it’s Middle English for “foolish, stupid.” French, “silly, simple.” Latin, “ignorant, incapable.” Think about that one before you go telling someone, “oh you’re so nice!”
I digress, I want to talk about what’s so often missing in marriage blogging and writing. Restorative justice. The preservation of relationship and connection above all else. Somebody smart once said, “you can be right or you can be in love, but you can’t do both.”
Restorative justice is actually a concept that comes directly from God, as in from start to finish, from the alpha to the omega, everything He does revolves around bringing us into right relationship with Him. Every bit of discipline, every sacrifice, every trial and tribulation is always restorative. His purpose is to create and preserve relationship, connection, with us, His people.
Marriage works the same way. The goal is always restorative, to create, protect, and preserve relationship and connection.
Back to the gallows for a moment, the other day I was attempting to chat with a woman who shall remain nameless, about an article she wrote that was relatively good, except for this one tiny flaw. Six times she casually referred to the “husband” as the “perpetrator.” That actually confused me. I mean, I suppose if you like to dress up and pretend your husband is a perpetrator, it’s really none of my business. To each their own. Who am I to judge? People who speak so sensually of Batman should probably not throw stones at glass house, but that is another matter entirely…
Just the same, to use “perpetrator” and “husband” as if the words were somehow interchangeable, does reveal a certain bias, perhaps some repressed anger. Just in case I doubted myself there, an attempt to converse with her completely erased any ambiguity. Sadly, I don’t think her use of the term “perpetrator” had anything to do with role play….
Alas, such huge gender resentments are not limited to women. I’ll never forget the guy who shrieked at me, “you’re a horrible person and you’re doing marriage all wrong!” He had a PhD, donja know, and that totally trumps the fact that I have been married longer than he has been using the big boy potty. He than proceeded to educate me about what All Women Are Like, because apparently there was this 6th grade prom once and middle school mean girls…
Men are always totally rational, especially the one’s with Phd’s. Totally.
So as you can see, my experiences have not been so good, as in restorative justice is not even on the radar. It seems to have been replaced with something more akin to gender revenge. One simply cannot turn to someone for advice who is heavily invested in gender revenge. It’s a bit like going to court and the judge says, I don’t even know you, but you are guilty, condemned, and I’ll see you fry if it’s the last things I do…
Sheesh, if anybody ever felt a need to experience that kind of deep-seated resentment we could probably just find it in our own marriages somewhere….
Anyway, I jest here, but in all seriousness, marriage is all about restorative justice, modeled on Christ’s relationship with us. God is all about forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation. Relationship, connection, restoration. It’s kind of the opposite of revenge.
“you can be right or you can be in love, but you can’t do both.”