I feel like my marriage is in pretty good shape these days, that we've found a good rhythm, that we communicate pretty well, that we can handle anything as long as we're together, that we are the closest of friends. A lot of this feeling of good will springs from our eminent 20th anniversary coming up later on this month. We're in a good place at the moment and are enjoying it.
But things are certainly not always this way. I've faced down temptation and Gary's had his share of demons too. We have our disagreements and sometimes they're pretty unpleasant. In times of extreme stress, we've even asked the question, "Should we keep doing this?" (The answer has been invariably--yes)
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you see it, we both had some pretty good examples of how not to do marriage. Both of us come from divorced homes--we saw what our parents did to one another and the fallout affected us both deeply. When we got married we were fairly clueless about what a healthy relationship looked like, but we were pretty clear about what didn't work and were determined to not repeat our parents' actions. We were fortunate in that we found a community of Christian couples who'd been married longer than we had been and they both accidentally and sometimes purposefully gave us basic blue prints to follow until we could create our own.
Not all couples are as fortunate as we were and they're left making it up as they go along, often leading them deeper and deeper into danger. They wind up separated by disaster of their own making, at sea, and lost as to what to do for themselves.
Fireproof is about a couple who are going down for the last time. He is a firefighter and a hero to everyone except his wife (I thought they presented the inherent dangers of the profession rather well on the whole). She is head of public relations at a hospital and has caught the eye of a doctor who is only too willing to tempt her away. They've lost all sense of how to work as a team, if they ever knew in the first place, and all they can see is how the other person is no longer meeting their needs. I don't think you can watch this movie and not see a little of yourself in them; the surprisingly life-like fights rang disturbingly familiar at times. You may squirm a little and wonder if you owe your mate an apology. You might even consider buying the the book, even if you do think your marriage is in a good place. You might hug your mate and cry wordlessly on their shoulder afterward and you may find that they don't ask why.
The couple is ready to give up when the man's father suggested that he put off the divorce for forty days. Because he loves his Dad and he isn't a hundred percent sure he wants to end his marriage, he agrees. His father mails him a book with a set of directions in it designed to lead him, day by day, one gesture or action at a time, into a better understanding of himself and his wife. Watching him attempt often fruitlessly to regain his wife's trust while continuing to go to a high risk job every day (this was a good balance for the drama) is remarkable and you'd have to be pretty hard hearted not to at least well up as he faces down one problem after another.
I have seen movies with better acting. Kirk Cameron was excellent, but everyone else left a little (often a lot) be desired. But never have I seen one with a better story to tell. I cannot recommend this one highly enough.
More information here:
Fireproof my Marriage