Marriage, Deconstruction, and Contempt

The most precious thing I nearly lost during my deconstruction, changing my theology, leaving the ministry and the church, was my marriage to Lisa. We better now than ever. But if we weren’t prepared, we might not have survived the crisis. 

(Not to say that all marriages should stay together. Sometimes divorce is the best solution. Just because you are married it doesn’t you should always be or that if you get divorced you failed.)

"Questioning Yours Means Questioning Mine" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

John Gottmanm, in, "The Seven Principals for Making Marriage Work", says there’s one principal that will break a marriage. He can determine whether a couple will divorce or not in under 5 minutes with them.

The one thing that will split up a marriage faster than anything is contempt. If Gottman detects this in the first five minutes of a session with a couple, he predicts they’ll divorce with 91% accuracy.

It’s challenging to allow your partner to grow at their pace while they let you grow at yours. To be different. Lisa and I used to be on the same page. But then our theology changed and we struggled with ministry. Our bond strained.

We felt we were no longer on the same page, or the same book, or library! But time taught us that we were in the same story. Our story proved that we can grow together. Our relationship is richer for it.

We avoided the deadliest pitfall: contempt. We maintained mutual respect, even though we struggled with one another.

I entrusted her to her own journey. She entrusted me to mine. We hoped we would eventually feel like we were sharing the same story.

It worked.

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