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The minimum requirement for getting married

seth and karen 08 guate 1 0a0e9d98
It’s a little after 11 pm at night. Karen is doing the bills and I’ve been booking flights on line. We both hate this detail work. It leaves us exhausted and yearning for the bed, but it has to be done and hey, we knew that neither of us were detail people going into the marriage. We married fo…
By Seth Barnes

seth and karen 08 guate 1It’s a little after 11 pm at night. Karen is doing the bills and I’ve been booking flights on line.

We both hate this detail work. It leaves us exhausted and yearning for the bed, but it has to be done and hey, we knew that neither of us were detail people going into the marriage.

We married for fun and for romance and to change the world together – not bad reasons if you ask me. And somehow we get through evenings like this.

We understand each other and we know how to encourage one another.

I spend a lot of time trying to
understand the differences in people. I’m a temperament analysis fanatic. I can do the Myers/Briggs, Leading From Your Strengths, FIRO-B, DISC, and several others in my sleep. I can look at you and within five minutes tell you your an ISTJ and you would be good with data bases. I
do this in part because I can’t lead people effectively unless I can understand
them.

Now that my kiddos are all of
marriageable age, this task of understanding people and how they fit with one
another has become particularly important.
We have these conversations at our house incessantly.

Last week a bunch of Talia and
Emily’s friends (Dmitri, Clint, Nicole, Kelly, & Dustin) came over to the
house. My girls met most of them working
at Medieval Times. They are all a lot
like Emily and Talia – life-of-the-party, fun, people-people – ENFPs that are 2% of the population. We grilled hamburgers, played volleyball, and
sang songs by the fire till after midnight.

And the question in the air is, “Would
any of these people who are so similar to one another be a good match?” The answer you read in all the books is, “No,
because you need opposites to make a good marriage. If one person brings the party, the other
person has to clean up the dishes. Not
everyone can tell stories late into the night; somebody has to wake up and fill
out the tax forms and pay the bills.”

For the most part, that’s a good
rule of thumb. Emily knows she needs a
practical man in her life – “someone to take care of me.”

But in this complicated and
way-too-worldly world in which we live, I’m beginning to wonder if maybe I
shouldn’t change my standard to Hebrews 10:24-25, which is the minimum standard
for church, “Let us not give up meeting together, but let us encourage one
another.”

If your marriage, friendship, or
church can do that over the long-term, then here’s my new precept: by all means get together. If on the other hand what you feel is mostly
discouragement or boredom, then perhaps you should not get married and keep
looking for other people to hang out with.

Assuming they keep their jobs at
Medieval Times, Emily and her friends can always hire some accountant to do
their taxes. Some repairman will show up
and fix the broken dishwashers. Regular
encouragement, on the other hand, is the least I expect of my future
son-in-law.*

*A corollary for those already
married is that (if you’re brave enough to do this) you can know whether or not you’re a good mate by asking your
spouse whether you regularly encourage him or her.

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