Sunday, July 31, 2011

Schism Sunday XIV: Relationships

One of these two is too young to get married!
In our relationship, one of us is a certain amount of years older than the other. Some would call this a significant amount of years and prior to our marriage I noticed a fair share of raised eyebrows and heard a handful of snarky comments. It was and is not something that has ever bothered either one of us and has only been mentioned in a total of 2 arguments in the 5 years that we’ve known each other. One day while waiting in line at a grocery store I picked up a trashy magazine to peruse and found a celebrity couple that was the same number of years apart as Mark and I and they were referred to as a May/December romance. I was actually a little offended (yea by an article about other people, silly I know). To me, May/December means a 22 year old with a 55 year old- where one of the lovers could be the other person’s parent. This is not the case with us, but it seems plenty of people have opinions on such matters. In love and marriage does age really matter?



And what about race?
While I was in college I was highly involved in the International club and multicultural groups. I spent a semester in Africa. I was fascinated by other cultures and even by other races and soaked up as much knowledge and experience as any one bio major could. In doing so I had many friends of different races and knew many biracial couples. In the safety of our small college bubble in Eastern Iowa these relationships thrived and the couples dreamed of future marriages. But many of them experienced difficulties when they brought their significant other home to meet the family. Sometimes the concerns were purely racial and other times the concerns were with culture, tradition, and even religion. I watched some lovely couples crumble under the pressure of family concerns. My own mother told me that because I hung out with so many “brown” people that her biggest fear was that I would end up with one of “them”. Many times, I think the problem is generational perspective, but different cultural views are something that will eventually be addressed in a relationship. So again, in love and marriage does race and culture really matter?

And that brings us to religion, faith, spirituality, call it what you will. If a couple has two different religious perspectives can a relationship work? As Christians, the Bible warns us about being unequally yoked with our spouse. The Bible even tells us how to conduct a marriage if we ourselves are believers and our spouse is not. I know, in our marriage, our walk with Christ is so much a part of who we are, it would not work if it was only one part of the puzzle. When you share your life with someone, when you share your hopes and dreams and beliefs and live them out together, can it possibly work if there are dissenting views? In love and marriage does religion really matter?

So tell me, from your perspective what are the differences between two people that are relationship deal breakers? If two people love each other does any of this stuff really matter? Have you, yourself, been the object of raised eyebrows or offhanded comments because of the differences between you and your spouse?