By: Joshua Tijerina
My marriage was a wreck. My wife and I were talking, and we even occasionally got along, but we were more like roommates. We were helping each other out when needed and talking about decisions, but there was a lack of the unity that distinguishes marriage from all other relationships. I had become disconnected—overly involved with work and not investing in our family. What really complicated things was that my wife and I were expecting our third child, and we knew we had to get on the same page, but nothing was working. We had become content in our separation and me in my indifference. The cyclic arguments and attempts at healing were not taking root. All emotions—other than, perhaps, anger—were absent for the most part. I mean, we knew how to fake it, and sometimes even faking it worked for a month or so, but unity . . . that was a goal we had just about given up on.
Then my wife had a miscarriage.
It was something that happened naturally, and there was nothing we could have done to prevent it. We had friends and family who had miscarried before, and while it was sad, we always just thought about it being one of those things that “happens.” We felt that way, until, of course, it happened. And when it did all of those emotions that I had spent years suppressing suddenly emerged. Instead of hiding behind my escapes, there was a sudden need for that unity. My wife needed me, and finally, I recognized that I really needed my wife. We weren’t just losing a child; we were losing each other, and the reality is that once we lose each other, we have a broken understanding of who we are individually. I knew, while holding my wife when we got the news, that I am not complete outside of my relationship with her.
I sent a text to a co-worker about the miscarriage, and it read, “When God is involved sadness is always accompanied by perspective.” Once I had moved into the perspective stage, something hit me: my work to preserve and promote natural marriage had less to do with the “redefinition” of marriage and more to do with explaining what marriage is. This is especially true for my generation and those younger. Our view of marriage has never been one that represents its innate beauty; rather our view is clouded with divorce, ball-and-chain rhetoric, dumbed down dads on TV, and an individualized view of sex that disregards any vulnerability or unity. I realized that same-sex marriage is not a result of a homosexual agenda; rather, it’s a result of a homosexual agenda being ushered into our culture through a door left wide open by those that were meant to cherish marriage by cherishing their spouse.
I have always held this sort of philosophical view of marriage, which is what allowed me to publically promote it while having it fail in my own home. The algorithm, for me, has always been really simple:
Man + Woman = Children
Man + Woman + Children = Family
Family + Family = Community
Community + Community = Culture
Children do best with a married mom and dad, and therefore stronger, healthier children produce a stronger, healthier society. Got it? Pretty simple. Same-sex marriage breaks the equation, because its focus is not on the future of society, but on the individual desires of participating adults (and by the way, that individualistic view is exactly the same as many marriages that are failing today). Thus, the concept of “equality” is not one rooted in reality. Same-sex marriage doesn’t produce a future, because it lacks the creativity natural to marriage. Same-sex marriage cannot be marriage as it is neither creative, nor diverse—qualities that make marriage, well, marriage. Thus, the debate is not one of “equality,” but rather understanding what marriage is. And that is something we have failed at miserably—neglecting, as I did, that living out marriage is a two-fold responsibility: both personal and communal.
The communal aspect is something I do rather well. It is a natural law discussion. It is a blog here and there. It is a debate. It is a few tweets and a Facebook post. But the communal discussion—marriage as the foundation of society—cracks if we do not focus on the foundation of marriage—a man and a woman. This disconnect is missing from the public discussion, and yet it is the most innate discussion for any person, in any society, in any moment in time, to have. Every one of us begins the exact same way . . . a boy meets a girl. That romantic encounter is the beginning of what will become society and define culture. We get it, but fail to personally cherish it . . . myself included.
There is a lot left for me to fix in my marriage. There is trust to rebuild. There is time to invest. There is love to share. But I write these very personal words not to tell you to tweet out a promotion of marriage, but to instead learn from my mistake and take the time to invest in your marriage. Do it today. Do it right now! Book a hotel. Take the family out for ice cream and leave the interruptions at home. Make a phone call just to say, “I love you” or . . . “I’m sorry.”
And if you are worried about our culture, then don’t spend your time explaining how marriage is being redefined; instead talk about—and live out—what marriage is. Tell your kids how you met. The moment you fell in love. How you both felt when they were born. What it means to be a family.
Do you see the algorithm at play there? Younger generations will never accept the danger of redefining marriage if they don’t know what they are supposed to be standing up for in the first place. It took a really horrible moment in my life to realize that, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you and your kids. None of the messaging or debate we all properly engage in will win out if we don’t understand the beauty of marriage—starting at home and growing outward.
That is what will save our culture.
And thanks be to God that is what saved me.