The Marriage Masterpiece
Anything beautiful and meaningful takes a mixture of effort and creativity. In hoping to produce a really great marriage it seems like most people think it will just kind of happen by accident. If things go wrong and hope is turned to confusion and even despair most people don't really seem to be capable of seeing what the problem is. Because of this inability so many marriages that begin with great potential end up on the rubbish heap of broken promises.
Marriage as a garden.
As any marriage counselor learns over the years is that marriage as a relationship needs input and effort to make it what it can be. Several metaphors are useful in illustrating this point. In their helpful book David and Vera Mace use the illustration of a garden. Many want a beautiful garden and if the necessary effort and hard work is put in then it can become what is hoped for. But neglect the garden and it becomes overgrown and simply a mess.
Marriage as a beautiful creation. One of my favorite illustrations of what a marriage can be is that of a beautiful painting.
Marriage is like two people standing in front of the easel of life, with a brand new canvas on it. Each partner having a paint brush in their hand ready to produce their masterpiece. The opportunity to do something really special lies ahead. As they begin with somewhat careful brush strokes to outline their painting, the glow of early love brings its particular color to the canvas. Now the picture begins to take form; sometimes bright colors of ecstasy and excitement, sometimes the duller hues of patient endurance and even disappointment. Every relationship will go through highs and lows. The dark clouds of an occasional storm is followed by new light breaking through.
As the partners paint together, their unique masterpiece begins to take shape.
The color of laughter is mixed with the color of tears. In fact the storm clouds of life’s many challenges give the masterpiece character, but in the background the beauty of love keeps shining through. Over the years the masterpiece continues to develop as they paint together, sometimes standing back and taking a good look before they once again lean closer to add another segment.Sometimes they may even feel as if they are painting alone, but at other times holding the brush together.
The beauty of the masterpiece lies in the memories that are captured, in the painting that is no longer delicate and rather empty, but now is filled to the edges and complex. What we paint is up to us, it is totally unique and the opportunities are endless. A skilled artist carefully mixes the paint to get the right colours. It takes different colours to achieve what the artist will achieve but at the end the result belongs to the painter, as does the responsibility to continue with a stroke of the brush here and a mix of delicate colour there.
As the children arrive the painting sometimes becomes a bit messy because they also contribute in their way. In the end the painting however is much more interesting. If love can be given a colour then it needs to be applied over and over again. Patience and determination holds the work together and then it can be mounted and framed and hung in the art gallery of life for all to see and admire. A great task with great reward.
So paint the masterpiece!