January 30, 2014

Marriage Monopoly

Gary Thomas — 
photo: William Warby, Creative Commons

photo: William Warby, Creative Commons

When still in high school, our youngest daughter stayed home one day, too sick to attend school, so my wife and I agreed to play what turned out to be the most boring game of Monopoly in the history of the world.  While all three of us suffered through the ordeal, I had time—plenty of time!—to think about the monopoly created by marriage.

This monopoly game doesn’t use money for currency; it uses love.

On the day you got married, you gained a powerful monopoly

—you became your spouse’s best friend, exclusive lover, most immediate spiritual support, and financial partner.  If you fail on any front; if your love falters in any way, there is no one else to pick up the slack.

The only love life my wife can enjoy is the love life I choose to give to her; do I treat this as a challenge to rise to my best, to be a thoughtful, generous, and enthusiastic lover, or am I repaying her commitment with coldness, occasional disinterest, and an overall lack of zeal?

The only spiritual union within marriage my wife will ever know is the spiritual union I share with her; am I going to allow my fears, insecurities or lack of interest in prayer and shared fellowship become a dead end in our marriage?

How many things in your marriage are such that, if you don’t do them for your spouse, no one else can or will?

Which means, anything you deny your spouse in certain areas becomes an absolute denial. If you don’t take vacations with your spouse, they never get couple vacations. If you refuse to date your spouse, they don’t ever get to enjoy marital dates. If you won’t talk to your spouse, they’ll never know what it’s like to have a spouse be a best friend. They can’t go anywhere else to get what only you can provide, which makes your withholding all the more egregious.

I can work diligently to provide well for the woman who made such a commitment to me—a gift of trust that still leaves me breathless—or I can look on her leap of faith with complete dispassion and a cold heart.  I can abuse the monopoly that marriage creates to indirectly make my wife pay for marrying me (after all, what is she going to do, short of leaving me?), or I can bless her with an abundance of love, care, and kindness.

Let’s use the currency of love to make our spouses glad they chose usLet’s recognize how vulnerable they have made themselves to us and be generous in response to that commitment.

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