My wife and I are celebrating seven years of marriage this December. Normally people get really excited for the 10th, 15th, 20th. We have decided this is a special one for us. Because one of the big markers for when divorce occurs is before seven years. The next one is at 25. So for a marriage, this is a pretty big year.
We talked in one of my classes on learning styles that people often marry the a person OPPOSITE learning style from themselves. One of the reasons people get the seven-year itch is because that is when those opposites have had time to switch from being endearing to being really irritating.
When you walk into a marriage you believe certain things about a person. You believe that they are this and will do that. More often than not, those beliefs change. Your spouse changes. You change. You find out you were wrong about some of those beliefs. Some beliefs have to change because the relationships changes.
If a marriage is about belief, it will most likely fall apart. That is why the seven-year itch is such a real thing. When the relationships rests on those assumptions, the relationship cannot handle change or wrong beliefs. You can ride those beliefs for a while, but when they change or turn out not to be true, the relationship can feel burdensome and most people just get out.
The marriages that make it are the ones that are not based on belief, but rather on commitment. If I committed to another person, then they are allowed the freedom to change. Our relationship can change. I can change. We can be wrong in our beliefs about each other.
When the relationship is based on commitment to the other person, those changes enhance the relationship rather than erode it.
In a talk from Greg Boyd I listened to, he paints this as the Biblical view of faith. If faith is just about believing certain things about God, it is a faith that can easily break down. A faith based on belief cannot handle changes and growth.
Belief based faith cannot handle doubt. Belief based faith cannot handle people who do not think exactly the same way. And because of this, it often chooses not to learn or grow because it is afraid those beliefs might be challenged. Belief based faith is based on getting it right, so it forces to hide when we don’t get it right. And it forces us to reject anyone who gets it wrong.
Boyd says that Biblical faith is a covenant. It is a commitment to a person. When my faith is based on a commitment to Jesus, it can easily handle doubt. It can easily handle both myself and other people screwing up. It can handle ideas and people outside of my box. And not only can it handle them, those things actually enhance the relationship.
Have you gone through the seven-year itch in your faith? What pulled you through? What is it like on the other side?