My wife and I were in England during the week of the royal wedding. In fact, we visited Windsor Castle and St. George’s Chapel several days before Harry and Meghan’s wedding. Crews were busily preparing for the grand event. Visitors gathered from around the world. Security guards made preparations for every scenario imaginable.
We didn’t stay in Windsor for the wedding. We had other places to go, sights to see, and things to do. At the British Library, there was a huge bronze sculpture of a book with a ball and chain, created by Bill Woodrow, and purchased for the British Library in 1997.
“Sitting on History” with its ball and chain signifies a book as a “captor of information which we cannot escape.” But it reminded me of the common misconception of marriage as a ball & chain. I understand that information can be captivating. On the other hand, I don’t see marriage as a prison sentence. Instead, I see marriage as a relationship that is designed by God to set us free, liberating us to enjoy life at it’s best.
On a different day, we went to the Tower of London. Inside one of the great halls was an exhibit of weapons and armor from the days of knights and chivalry. Just like I don’t see marriage as a ball & chain, I also don’t consider my role in the marriage as that of a knight in shining armor, who rides in to rescue my lady. That view is just as antiquated and unbiblical as the ball & chain motif.
Marriage, or any relationship, often seems like a maze. We know how we got into it, but we don’t know our way around once we’re inside. And when it get’s frustrating, we want out but don’t even know how to get out of it. We visited this maze at the Chatsworth House.
We spent the better part of a day at an art exhibit in the Courtauld Gallery, with lunch in the courtyard cafe. Many of the works of art were from the Impressionism and Pointalism periods, so the gallery provided magnifying glasses. These allowed us to examine the paintings in fine detail, which was a fascinating experience. Textures, strokes, dabs of color. In a relationship, the point is not to use a magnifying glass to find faults, but to take a close look and admire the beauty, the work of art that God created when he made our spouse, looking at each other through the eyes of love.
When we do this day in and day out, marriage isn’t a ball & chain. We’re not there to find faults. It’s not a confusing maze. And we don’t have to try to rescue one another. Instead, we can simply be there to love, to liberate, and to help one another experience the best life has to offer. Just like this sign on a store that we passed in London, maybe it’s time to say goodbye to some of our old, non-helpful ideas about relationships, and say hello to love.