Marriage is Divorce

Marriage Is Divorce - Samuel John Hodgett

Marriage Is Divorce - Samuel John Hodgett

In just four (hopefully short) days, the wife and I are heading to a small boutique hotel in Playa Del Carmen, MX to enjoy some much-needed relaxation time.  We are both second-year interns at a fast-growing mega church in the Twin Cities, and on top of that have full-time jobs.  In essence, we both have two full-time jobs, and only get paid for one of them.

The point is… we’ve allowed ourselves to take a break.  And what better way to enjoy Mexico than to sit on the beach, sipping a Piña colada (that’s what they drink down their, right?), and reading a good book.

Well, one of the good books I intend to bring down to Meh-heek-oh is The Journals of Jim Elliot, written by his widow Elisabeth Elliot.  If you don’t know who Jim is, he was one of the missionaries whose martyrdom was visually depicted in the movie End of The Spear.  For a few years now I’ve been fascinated by the story of Jim Elliot, the man of God he was, and the impact he had not only on his family and friends, but on an entire world of Christian believers.  I recommend everyone become a student of Jim Elliot.

What does this have to do with the title of the post?

As I was browsing through this book tonight, in anticipation of reading it during my vacation, I turned all the way to the back… to the last “journal entry” recorded from Jim Elliot before he was martyred.  It was a short post, rather unrelated to his ministry, and seemingly venting about the frustrations of marriage and sin.  Here is the full quote that this post’s title is derived from:

“Marriage is divorce from the privacy a man loves, but there is some privacy nothing can share.”

When I first read that, I couldn’t help but giggle.  As a man, I tend to favor quotes that reassure my actions or thoughts that seem “too manly” to some people.  But to read this quote from one of the great Christian fathers of the Twentieth Century… well, that was a great.  But, once the giggles wore off… I started to ponder the meaning of the quote.

You know, it’s true.  Most men I know have some form of solitude they seek on a regular basis.  Whether they admit to it or even are aware of it, they all have a tendency to want privacy.  And as most married men can attest, wives tend to suck that privacy right out of your life.  You no longer have the ability to just sit in your bed and think about the day… in quiet.  You no longer have the ability to duck out of a social gathering on your own terms.  You no longer have the right to have a dirty apartment when no one is coming over any time soon.  Nope.  You gave up those rights when you decided to spend the REST OF YOUR LIFE with another human being.

Sometimes Marriage is Difficult.

Just tonight… me and @mrshodgett were laying in bed after a rather long day (as Sundays usually are for us).  We were in rather good spirits, having random conversations about random events that occurred yesterday, or the week prior.  But, even before we got home, I told my wife that I especially wanted some time to be able to just sit, relax, and read the most recent copy of Inc. Magazine that’s been sitting at my bedside for almost a week now.  After our conversation seemed to have died down, and she was apparently “resting” on her side of the bed, I quietly picked up the magazine to start reading the article I had left off a few minutes earlier.

She would have nothing of it.  She got in her “I’m tired and all I want to do is tickle you” mood, and started distracting me from my reading.  Now, in most circumstances, I respect her desire for affection, stop whatever it is that I’m doing, and give her my undivided attention.  But, sometimes, I’m not in the “goofy” mood, and I need my space.

Every guy needs their space.  Women, if you want one tip from me on how to understand a guy, GIVE HIM HIS SPACE!  Luckily, my wife is getting better at this.  She knows that when I’m not in a “goofy” mood, that trying to tickle me actually doesn’t make me laugh, but rather irritates me.  On the other hand, I’ve learned that trying to be sexy around my wife doesn’t always mean she’ll want to make love with me, especially when she’s not in “the mood.”

Is this making sense?  I hope so.  I love my wife, and she loves me… but we’re learning that it’s not easy to live with someone, all the time, without a break.  But we need to take breaks.

I urge you to take the time to fully realize what your break looks like for you – a run, a pre-sleep book, Facebook, walking the dog.  And, LEARN YOUR SPOUSE’S BREAK NEEDS!  We all have different needs for space.  Learn them for the people around you, and be respectful of their needs.

That’s it.  Love.

13 Comments

  1. Roger C. on December 5, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    First off: I’ve read everything I could get my hands on about Jim Elliot and some of the other books that Elizabeth has written. I read his journals , but that was long ago and I didn’t remember the statement that you’ve quoted here. I wasn’t anywhere near being married at the time, so maybe it didn’t even register.
    Jemi and I have now been married ten years as of the 16th of this month, and along for the ride are three children ages 8,4 and almost 11 months. Keep in mind that I am 54 and Jemi and I both work at home and homeschool our oldest. I think I can definitely relate to this post.
    In fact, It’s difficult to find the time or “space” to even write this. At any moment I may be, have been and likely will be interrupted/asked to do something else and will feel like this is a guilty pleasure that I’m trying to sneak into my day before anyone finds out. I used to have a blog of my own which got swallowed up by the “space ” issue and just recently bought a domain to start up another one but who knows when it will actually begin.
    I think that there really is a need for some space for both a husband and a wife. Not space that’s demanded or just for the purpose of getting away from each other, but space for a reason, be it time alone with God, time to connect with friend, help a neighbor,read , listen or any activity that allows you to just have some quiet in your life and relax without feeling guilty about it. For my dad, it was going out in the woods and cutting up trees for firewood. Jesus took time to get away from it all so why not us ? God knows we need it ! If not taken too far it will only enhance and strengthen our marriage and the other relationships in our lives. There is a giving up of personal “rights” when we get married. A lot of guys just don’t get it when it comes to that. However, there is a legitimate need for some space that should be acknowledged by both spouses. Just don’t abuse it ! Wow, it took a few hours but I actually got this done.

    • Samuel John Hodgett on December 6, 2011 at 12:04 PM

      Roger, I’d love to see your blog once you get it going; let me know if you want/need any help with that!

  2. Mike Vanausdall on December 6, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    Love it! It’s so true. Even 5 months into marriage I’m starting to notice this; that sometimes I just need to not do anything. The tough thing between me and Becky (my wife), is that her version of “a day off,” or “relaxing,” is just not doing our full time jobs. “Relaxing” includes getting laundry done, or cleaning the house, or doing an activity. That can be good sometimes, and is definitely necessary, but my “relaxing” is sitting and watching tv, or reading. Laundry IS work! On the flip side, Becky will go through times that she needs space too, and since I work at home… alone… when she gets home from work, I need to extrovert all over. I just need to talk and be around people, when she could probably use some time to herself.
    Marriage is definitely a divorce. A divorce from everything being only about you. For most people, about 20-some years of their lives their own world revolves primarily around themselves. After you’re married, your world needs to revolve around your spouse in order for your marriage to work (with both of your worlds obviously revolving around the Sun (God)). That does mean that you take better care, focus more of your attention on your spouse. But does that mean you aren’t taken care of? Of course not, because at the same time, your spouse’s world should be revolving around you! So instead of two people taking care of themselves, it’s two people taking care of each other. So it’s like you’re a moon, revolving around your “Spouse Planet,” which is revolving around The Son (see what I did there? #playonwords). But at the same time your spouse is revolving around you… So maybe it’s like 2 planets revolving around each other? I don’t know, my analogy kind of fell apart there, but you get it. Love you Sam, sorry for writing a book in response, I just started going and couldn’t stop…

    • Samuel John Hodgett on December 6, 2011 at 12:05 PM

      Mike, you bring up a good point… Marriage is really supposed to be a divorce; giving up what you want, for the sake of your lover…. but out of mutual respect that you are each still individuals that have unique needs. Appreciate your comment.

  3. Steven Keller on December 6, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    solid. totally relatable 🙂 i just got married 6 months ago, and it is definitely a learning experience. thanks for sharing!

  4. Brian Lulek on December 7, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    I have been married 11 years and these are still things that take time to learn. Everyone does need space or you will go crazy…physical space, mental space, you need both. And we shouldn’t think it’s wrong to tell our significant other that we need some space. Just gotta do it in a polite and loving way… communication and space…two things that make a great marriage…

  5. Guelker on December 7, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Honesty, Respect, and Love. With one of these you can do great things. With all of them you are unstoppable in anything you put your mind or marriage through.

    • Samuel John Hodgett on December 7, 2011 at 1:27 PM

      Guelker,
      Hey man! Thanks for the comment… so true, so true.

  6. Will Wanhala on December 7, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    This reminds me of “The Nothing Box” that all of us guys have, that women really can’t understand haha. Thanks for the post!

  7. Sierra K on February 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    This is exactly what I needed to hear Sam! Thanks! I think this post was meant for me. 🙂

    • Samuel John Hodgett on February 14, 2012 at 8:50 AM

      Sierra, I’m glad it spoke to you. Thanks for checking out the blog!

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