I never forgot the question I was asked over 20 years ago. It is a question which doesn’t take a casual, socially appropriate answer for an answer.
When Carl and I were newly married, we visited Carl’s old church in his hometown. A gentleman who had known his family well over the years came over to us. I had heard his name before and knew him instantly to be a family friend. He asked Carl and I, “How is your marriage?”
I replied back that it was good which is the usual answer which everyone gives to that type of question. He then looked very pointedly at me, almost enough to make me a little uncomfortable, and asked again, “How is your marriage doing really?”
I remember being surprised by the question. Carl and I really and truly were over the moon in love with each other so the answer was kind of the same. We said it was really good and went into further explanation of why that was the case.
In all these years, I have never forgotten his question though. He cared enough to make sure, to probe, to not be satisfied with a casual response, and to take the time for the possibility of a not so good answer.
We do it at work, at church, and at the grocery store. Someone at work asks how our weekend was. We casually say it was good when it really was a hard one. People at church ask how our family is. We say fine. How can we tell them that we are crying ourselves to sleep every night?
I wonder sometimes if we even care anymore, but I don’t really think that is true. I think sometimes we have gotten so busy with our own lives that I dare say we are too overwhelmed most of the time to consider giving some of our time or effort or compassion or emotion to someone else.
What if we dared to ask our married friends the following question?
How is your marriage doing really?
Do we dare to risk our friends not opening up to us about what is really going on with them? Do we dare to be ready to hear what is really going on with them? Do we dare to see the consequences down the road of what happens if we don’t ask them?
I propose that many marriages you think are great and have no problems might very well be in trouble. I have been shocked lately to see marriages close to me falling apart, spouses wanting to leave, and men and women both who do not want to keep their word anymore when they said till death do us part. Risk it today. Ask a friend or a co-worker how their marriages are and be prepared to ask again, “How is your marriage doing really?” We can all be used by God to encourage someone while it is still called today.
“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Hebrews 3:13, ESV