Do You Need a Tutor After All?

Posted on August 20, 2015


“We took Love and Marriage because it was easy.”  Sherry

“Just because it is simple, does not mean it is easy.”  Andy Welch

I was having a conversation this week with an acquaintance from the gym while pedaling on the bicycle.[1]  She told me that when she and her husband were dating during their undergraduate program, that they had taken a course titled “Love and Marriage” because it was an easy course.  The course consisted primarily of watching movies and writing about them.  I thought it was one of the more profound comments I had ever heard and asked if I could use it.  “We took Love and Marriage because it was easy.”

I think that happens to many people.  We take love and marriage because we think it is easy.  On the one hand, it ain’t rocket science.  It is a comparatively simple endeavor.  Two people agree that they are going to join their lives together and love and support each other for the rest of their days no matter what.  If you were married in a church, your almost best friend who didn’t make the cut to be in the wedding party probably read from 1 Corinthians 13, you said your vows, and you lit the unity candle (or maybe poured different colored sand into a vase together).  Then you had this great party where the best man and maid of honor got up and talked about how wonderful the two of you are together, and how great your marriage was going to be.  It seemed simple enough.

If 90% of marriages start out like that, how do we end up with 50% of them dropping the course in the middle of the semester (so to speak)?  The statistic is not appreciably different among the Christian population than it is among the general population.  The word got around that the course was easy, but then it turned out to be difficult.  Perhaps the problem is that simple does not equal easy.

If you are in the middle of this course called Love and Marriage and are finding it difficult, let me tell you that changing partners will not suddenly make it easy.  I know that when you married your partner that you discovered that he or she is strange in ways you never would have imagined before you got married.  The reason I know this is because everybody is.  When my daughters were growing up and they thought at times that our family was weird, I would tell them “Everybody is weird and if you think they are not you just have never had to live with them.  This is what normal looks like up close.”  How does this apply to your marriage?  If you trade in this partner for another, you are just swapping one set of strangeness for a different set of strangeness.  And you still bring your own strangeness (and you know what I mean) into the next relationship.

Rather than dropping the course and starting over again next semester, perhaps the better solution is to find a tutor.  This is where a marriage and family therapist comes in.  We essentially have graduate degrees in relationships.  We understand how couples get stuck.  We understand how to heal from injuries to the attachment between husband and wife.  Love and Marriage may not be as easy as it appeared to be in the syllabus.  But if you are both committed, you can pass the course.  Probably even ace it.

[1] Is it still a bicycle if it doesn’t have any wheels?