The other night Roman and I watched the movie Fireproof. I had heard about it when it came out, but then didn't really think about it again until recently. As we all have heard and seen in the celebrity news, Kirk Cameron is not the Mike Seaver we once knew. If you don't remember Growing Pains, then I feel really old. While I don't think his acting, or that of any of the other actors in the movie, was very good, the purpose and meaning of the movie are incredibly valid.
I am the first to say that unfortunately my marriage is about the last priority on my list. After the kids and the house and managing daily life for all of us, I have little left to put into actively maintaining the relationship with Roman that I so often take for granted. I am not proud of it, but it is a reality for me as I'm sure it is for so many others with active and busy lives. It is easy to take marriage for granted since we both agreed on the day we were married to stick it out for better or worse. I rely on knowing that no matter what I do or throw at him, Roman will always be there. And I'm sure that he would say the same. Neither of us see divorce as an option (for us) EVER, though we obviously accept that there are certain circumstances under which people have no choice. But for us, we went into this marriage knowing that it was for life. As a result, complacency is inevitable. Things are going along smoothly; no major bumps or hiccups, so everything is just fine. We still manage to sneak in a date night every now and then, but it is often accompanied by shopping for a birthday or Christmas or some other necessary errand. I know that we have to start prioritizing more time for us as a couple to make sure that we stay connected and close, relating to each other on more levels than parenting, bills and schedules. Fortunately, Roman and I are still very much in love and enjoying this ever-changing journey together.
What the movie made us both aware of is how quickly distance can be created in a marriage. While focuses start to shift to children, jobs and other daily distractions, the relationship can suffer if it is not maintained. Both people need to continue to make an effort to really know and understand their spouse and give them their best even when it can seem hard to do. I think Fireproof was a great example of a couple who was ready to give up but unwilling to call it quits until every effort to stay together had been exhausted. The strength, eventual belief in the power of God, and determination of Kirk Cameron's character was inspiring. I think Roman and I both view marriage a little differently now that we've seen it. Sometimes it is better to just hold your tongue. Helping your spouse without seeking recognition can be an amazing act of love. Most of all, respecting the person that you've promised your life to even though that person can often be the easiest target for lashing out.
I think this movie (if you can get past the poor acting) has a very powerful message and is definitely worth watching. Your marriage will thank you.