Remember the bumpers in the bowling lanes when you were little? The new ones are cool but remember the old school bumpers, the long black corrugated tubes that the lane attendant would drag out from the back? Those were awesome. Bumper lanes are awesome because it didn't matter how you threw the ball because it always hit the mark. No skill required. No experience necessary. You couldn't even intentionally throw the ball outside of the bumpers, no matter what, the bumpers always force the ball back into the lane. Awesome right?
When I have the privilege of officiating weddings I always take the opportunity to meet with the young couples to talk about what I like to call, "Things you'll eventually argue about anyway." While I'm not a big bowler (with the exception of my family's Thanksgiving tradition) somewhere along the line I picked up a bowling analogy for successful marriages.
I tell couples that they need to develop marriage bumpers into their lives. Inevitably, couples will argue. Sometimes husbands and wives fight, they disagree, the don't see eye to eye and sometimes it's good for the husband to get out of the house to spend some time with some buddies or for the wife to get away to just be with "the girls". Of course there are rare occasions when couples never argue, never disagree, and never need a few minutes in their respective corners. However for the average couple, you may find yourself needing some time to just debrief.
Here's where the bumpers come in. Much like the bumpers in a bowling lane, the bumpers in real life need to allow us to bump up against them but then push us back to the middle of the lane. Too often we surround ourselves with people that do not value our marriage. These people are easily identifiable when you hear comments like:
-You don't need to put up with that, you should leave him.
-She's so controlling, she doesn't get you.
-You need to forget about them, let's go out and have some real fun.
When you surround yourself with people that do not value the sanctity of marriage, you will find it all the more difficult to return home to that marriage. What we need instead are people that will allow us to "bump" up against them but will then force us back home. People that will listen to your frustrations but then tell you to go back. Finding people who value traditional marriage is tough to begin with, finding people who value your traditional marriage may be even tougher. Who's your bumper?